Boulder City - The Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City - The Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Spotlight on Business
by Ev Chase

The Aerobatic Experience
Don't look now, but the Community College is not the only place in town providing pilot training.

"We have a small 'Mom and Pop' business and we love what we do," says Craig Fordem. Craig and his wife Linda are the owners and operators of The Aerobatic Experience. They have been in the business for 39 years and have been enjoying their mom and pop in Boulder City for the past six years.

"We have a fantastic facility here. I'm glad we have the opportunity to operate out of the Boulder City Airport."

Fordem has been involved in general aviation and taking advantage of it's opportunities since he was 16 years old when he was applying his talents to model airplanes. His real start, however, began as a crew chief on an Army helicopter while he was serving a two year hitch.

Fordem advertises his "Mom and Pop" Aerobatic Experience as "Thrill Rides" on his web site, which is linked to some of the Strip hotels in Las Vegas. His special built Extra 300 aircraft used for those thrill rides, has developed into much more than a casual ride for Vegas visitors. To be sure, much of his clientele, or his students, aren't all solicited from Strip hotels.

"Basically," he admits, "a large part of our business attraction is because of our specialized training."

The Navy though, according to Fordem, has the only enlisted pilots in the military establishment - and they don't go through the normal Navy flight school.

"These aviators go through a civilian flight school and when they come out they have 250-300 hours of flying time and a commercial pilot's license - then they send them to us. We provide another 15-20 hours of specialized training and a return trip once a year to keep them sharp."

The enlisted pilots, to whom Craig refers, are Navy Seals. The Seals are an elite fighting force who have been portrayed these past several years in many popular movies. They are a clandestine group who have their own flight department.

"They're great people to work with," Craig says. "I have two people who help me with the specialized training and this part of the country is a fantastic place to train. The Seals Aviation Program is based out of Virginia Beach."

The Navy is not the only service benefiting from Fordem's experience and training with the Extra Aerobatic aircraft.

He also has a program for the Chilean army who own six of these aircraft and come to Boulder City for training.

In addition, Craig has about 80 Extra aircraft owners living in the United States, South America, and Mexico, who travel to Boulder City once or twice a year for training.

Although Craig considers his business as aircraft sales and training, he currently has no planes available for sale. He is happy the way his business is going, enjoys his location in Boulder City, and is looking forward to an even better future.

"Hopefully the airport can become a commercial asset for Boulder City. I'm not sure what the city's plans are, but during the short time Mike (Minshall, associated story page 12) has been here, he has been doing a good job."

If you are up to a thrill ride, Craig invites you to take a leisurely flight through the beautiful Nevada sky or experience all the exciting maneuvers performed at air shows throughout the world.

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