Live the Dream
Four generations of pilots
Most would argue that the Golden Age of aviation began at the end of World War I, but others like to think it began in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh first flew across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis. For John Stover, that year marked the beginning of the rest of his life in aviation. Read more & watch video >>
ISU team second at all-women Air Race Classic
The two-person Indiana State University aviation team of Jessica L. Campbell and Victoria Dunbar took the winning collegiate trophy and second place overall in the all-women 2009 Air Race Classic, covering 2,369 nautical miles. Read more >>
Where do GA pilots fly for fun?
Becoming a pilot is a challenge, but the rewards are plentiful. Do you ever wonder what general aviation pilots are doing with their pilot certificates? Sure, many fly for business, but a huge part of being a pilot is the freedom to fly for fun. In this short story, which was submitted to AOPA PiReps, pilot Ed Shreffler showcases his recent tour of Southern California. Read more >>
Gone flying? Tell us about your flight and submit photos and video of the experience!
Fly the virtual skies
A common first step to becoming a pilot is taking an introductory flight lesson at a local flight school. However, this is not the only method by which potential pilots kick off their flight training. Delta Virtual Airlines Vice President Scott Clarke reports that simulated flying can be a gateway to real-world flying. "Flying the virtual skies requires a computer, Internet connection, joystick, and the flight sim program to get started, so it's a great low-cost option for those who dream of flying, but aren't yet ready to start flight training," says Clarke. Read more >>
Balloons lift off at AirportFest
Fascinated by hot air balloons? Get a glimpse of the world of lighter-than-air flight this year at AirportFest during AOPA's Aviation Summit, Nov. 5 through 7. Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa, Fla., will be host to a hot air balloon fly-out and night glow during AirportFest. AirportFest is an opportunity to celebrate every aspect of aviation, from remote control airplanes to skydiving. Read more >>
Airsports.tv to broadcast Aerobatic Championships
The twenty-fifth Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Aerobatic Championships will be held in the U.K. from Aug. 21 through 29. You can watch the last two days of the event, live, from the comfort of your own home, thanks to Airsports.tv. Visit the Airports.tv Web site on Aug. 28 and 29 to watch the exciting final days of the 2009 World Aerobatic Championships. Please be sure to consider time zones when viewing the broadcast schedule.
First Steps • Types of Certificates • Time and Cost
Choose a Flight Instructor • Safety • Take Your First Flight
Aircraft of the Month
Robinson R22 Beta II
The Robinson R22 Beta II is one of the most popular entry-level helicopters in the world, with more than 3,600 delivered to more than 60 countries. Large front and side windows provide unobstructed, panoramic views. Unlike an airplane, helicopters can hover in one place over the ground and even fly backward! In flight, the Beta II feels light and crisp. In fact, the Beta II has become known for its responsive control characteristics, requiring pilots to perform to higher standards from the beginning. The sharper skills required by the Beta II make future transitions to high-performance turbine helicopters easier.
Ask a Pilot
Question: What are some tips to make learning to fly more affordable?
Answer: Using a sport pilot certificate as a stepping stone to a private pilot certificate is one way to reduce the initial costs of flight training. Some schools are offering the sport pilot certificate for as little as $3,000. An option that many people don't realize is that they can learn to fly in a glider. You can earn the private pilot certificate with a glider rating in a quarter or even a third of the flight time as required for airplanes. Also, you can solo at a younger age—14 instead of 16. The cost is similar to that of the sport pilot certificate. Another option is to try a local flying club. Learning to fly there can provide the training you need at a reduced cost, and once you're a pilot, you may be able to join with other club members in an aircraft sharing arrangement.
Do you have a question about flying? Ask a pilot! Call 877-58-PILOT or send an e-mail.
In the Blogs
Here are some recent highlights from our Let's Go Flying blog page.
Hearts, minds... and lunch
By Steve Tupper
We're all familiar with the broad efforts by AOPA, EAA, and others to promote general aviation to nonpilot constituencies. Films like One-Six Right and the upcoming A Pilot's Story tug at heartstrings... Read more >>
'A Pilot's Story' AirVenture 2009 recap
By the co-producers of "A Pilot's Story"
The producers of the highly anticipated aviation film A Pilot's Story screened the latest trailer of the production at the Fly-In Theater on July 31 at Oshkosh, Wis. The screening of the trailer took place before... Read more >>
Night flight delight
By Evan Krueger
One of the last requirements that I needed to complete for my private pilot's certificate was a cross-country trip after hours. I needed to go 50 miles away, and the trip... Read more >>
Aviation Calendar of Events
Airports all across the United States offer weekend activities, from pancake breakfasts and barbecues to car and air shows. Find out what's going on in your area. You can search by city, state, or geographic region.