FORTY FORT, Pa. — It's time to fuel up for a flight at the Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort.
Dom Monteleone is a pilot from Ocean City, New Jersey, here on a banner tow assignment.
"The company I work for, we kind of just do tours all over the place, and usually it's just on the weekends down by the shore, but today Lehigh Valley Health Network wants their billboard flown around the Scranton, and that's what I'm here for," said Monteleone.
And if we learned anything from his performance on the runway today, it's that practice makes perfect. But that practice is getting more expensive.
"What we're dealing with at the pump is a substantial increase in the price of fuel, which that eventually is passed along right to the consumer," said flight instructor Gib Spradlin. "So the cost of learning to fly has gone up significantly in the past six months."
"It's only going to cause more people to not be able to get the training they need," added Monteleone.
Jordan Marzolf just graduated from Marywood University and wants to become a commercial pilot. He says the rising costs associated with getting his necessary flight hours in is not ideal.
"It's all included with the cost of tuition. Obviously, that goes up because if the prices are up down here for the rental fees, just because of your prices now, it's kind of up over $10 an hour, and I still have to drive a car to go fly a plane, you know, so it's hitting the pockets either way pretty hard right now and trying to keep up with it. It's getting tough," said Marzolf.
The rise at the pump isn't only hurting aspiring pilots but current pilots too, as some travelers choose alternatives.
"They don't fly as much, which drives our prices even higher because we have to compensate for that," added Spradlin.