Our Kind of People

Coast Character: Bay woman has bird's-eye view of South Mississippi

HANCOCK COUNTY -- Her head is in the clouds above South Mississippi, and she's not coming down any time soon.

Desiree Krepps, owner of Cool Breeze Aviation, has been addicted to flying ever since her first plane ride in January 2005.

"I signed up for the full course in flight school and went at it full time," she said. She now has eight licenses.

"It's an awesome feeling the very first time you take control of the plane and know your're soaring like an eagle up there."

Her business, originally opened with two partners, began in 2007 but dissolved in 2010. She took a charter job out west, then returned to South Mississippi when her contract ended. Cool Breeze was back in business, this time solely owned by Krepps, in March 2014.

Cool Breeze Aviation focuses on flight instruction. Students learn to fly in a Cessna 172.

"We can take somebody right off the street who knows nothing about aviation or aircraft, and we can provide them with a private pilot license (after training)," she said.

Cool Breeze also offers instrument rating, which allows pilots to fly in weather "aside from sunny skies," she said.

Krepps also offers a bird's-eye view of the Coast from her small plane. She has taken photographers up in for aerial shots and has flown friends or customers just to see South Mississippi from another angle.

"Up there, you get to see it from a totally different view, which is awesome," she said.

Krepps is based at Stennis International Airport in Hancock County, and her business offers a number of services, including aircraft rental and commercial licensure.

"One really cool feature of owning a business like the flight school is that you meet a variety of people," she said, from grocery store clerks to lawyers or business owners or potential pilots.

"That's probably the thing I love the most, aside from flying and getting to teach people my dream and help them kind of accomplish their dream as well," she said.

Krepps was living in Virginia when Hurricane Katrina devastated South Mississippi in 2005, but she often sees the destruction, and the progress, throughout South Mississippi -- from well above sea level. Her favorite city to see from the air is Bay St. Louis.

"I live in the Bay. My grandmother lives in the Bay. After Katrina, I was given a photographer every single week. Every single week, I was the pilot that would take this same photographer out over the Bay bridge," she said.

From the air, Krepps watched the Bay St. Louis bridge turn into a connector to Pass Christian again.

Even though she didn't live in South Mississippi before Katrina, Krepps said her small contribution helps her feel closer to her new home.