I have always been intrigued with planes. I recall growing up, my parents would park close to a runway at Los Angeles International Airport so I could see planes taking off and landing. We would take a picnic lunch and stay the entire afternoon. However, as a kid, watching the United States Navy Blue Angels perform at March Air Force Base was always very special. So, when I was invited by Reza Birjandi, owner of Pacific Skies Aviation, to tour their business, I happily accepted the invitation.

Arriving at Pacific Skies Aviation, located at Torrance Airport, it was a crystal clear afternoon. The wind blew ever so slightly and the mountains stood clear in the background. I was greeted by Tim Papienski who immediately began sharing information. “Pacific Skies Aviation is a flight school. We provide basic introductory flights with either one or two friends.” stated Papienski. 

Discovery Flights, starting at $150, begin with a 20 – 30 minute ground lesson in which students learns all the basics of the airplane’s flight controls, instruments, and how to perform every aspect of flight. From there, the student starts the engine, taxis the airplane on the runway, takes off, performs the turns, climbs, descents, and even the approach and landing. The student is at the controls the entire time with the instructor carefully guiding along the way.

Tim and I walked onto the air field to view the Cessna 172S model high wing plane that is used for the flights. “This plane is a workhorse. The design of the plane has not changed in 50 years,” explained Papienski.

As we walked back to the hanger, Papienski showed me a beautiful design on the concrete. It was compass rose that was created by the Long Beach 99s. The Ninety-Nines is an international organization of women pilots who promote the advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring unique history and their passion for flight.  

As we continued to walk, we were greeted by several others. On this particular evening, there was a mixer for pilots and clients of Pacific Skies Aviation. As I walked through the crowd, everyone was networking and sharing their stories of flight. I had the opportunity to meet Julie Schneider, a certified flight instructor since 2019. Julie shared with me that her interest in flying came in her childhood when she would fly head first off her swing set. Later in life she realized that she really enjoys helping people learn and achieve their goals. “I enjoy flying because you get to see some really incredible places. I also enjoy being a flight instructor because I am able to celebrate my students achievements with them, both big and small,” commented Schneider.

A special treat for me this evening was the opportunity for me to meet Kevin Pryor, son of Karen Pryor. Karen is a very active chamber member. Kevin had been taking lessons and was seeking to pass specific flight certifications in the near future.

This Out and About was unique in the fact that I discovered one more hidden gem in Torrance, Pacific Skies Aviation. The owners Reza and Tim are committed to sharing their experiences with their students and teaching in a unique hands on approach.

The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce thanks Pacific Skies Aviation for being a member and wishes them much success in the future.

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