Broker Check

Flying High

Cola Wealth Clients See Columbia From the Air

A bright Saturday morning set the stage for several Cola Wealth clients and prospective clients to see Columbia from 2,500 feet as they rode in a vintage airplane.

The 1941 Boeing PT-17 Stearman is owned and piloted by Cola's founder and owner, Rick Mantei, whose firm advises clients in Columbia, Lexington, Aiken, and Greenwood, South Carolina, and Johnson City, Tennessee.

The flights, each lasting about 20 minutes, took riders over Columbia landmarks including the University of South Carolina football stadium, the South Carolina State House in downtown Columbia, and, if they lived nearby, their homes. Those comfortable doing so got to "take the stick" and steer the craft for a bit.

"Like riding in a 1960s Cadillac with the top down," is how one participant described the ride.

"I'm so glad my dad was able to finally get a flight in a Stearman," said an observer. "Grandad flew one, and it's been a dream of Dad's to get to go too."

Rick Mantei has owned the plane for 30 years and given more than 6,000 rides in it. It's one way he and Cola Wealth Advisors give back to the community through allowing people to experience something they might not have the chance to do.

Rick Mantei has a long history of flying. He graduated from the United States Air force Academy in 1976 with a degree in civil engineering. After deployment as an F-4 Phantom fighter pilot instructor, Mantei settled in Columbia, where he joined the South Carolina Air National Guard as an F-16 fighter pilot. He was reactivated and sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990. There he completed a tour in Desert Storm and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple air medals. He retired from the Air National Guard in 1997 as a lieutenant colonel.

Today, he combines his two passions: flying and investing, and approaches both with equal fervor, helping clients manage their wealth and providing opportunities in the sky for clients and others.

Rick Mantei is the owner and founder of Cola Wealth Advisors. Securities and advisory services offered through Centaurus Financial, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC, a registered Investment Advisor. With the help of Kathy Nishnic, Atul Makharia, Lisa Mantei, and Cindy Chiellini, the team assists more than two thousand families in achieving their financial goals. Please visit our website for more information: