Live the Dream
Grandma's high-flying birthday
For her ninetieth birthday, Vada Rambo gave herself the present of jumping out of an airplane. The 86-pound great-great-grandmother is legally blind, uses a wheelchair, and is hard of hearing, but was determined to skydive before she dies. "I'll never get another chance," she says. "I've got to do something different in my life." She jumped in tandem with instructor Keri Bell at Sanderson Field, enjoying a 60-second free-fall before her parachute opened. Read more >>
Maryland pilot takes part in Pilots N Paws 5000
With a little extra time and a Cirrus SR22, John Jorgenson brought new life to a dog.
Jorgenson, a Maryland pilot who adopted his own rescue dog this spring, helped another dog find a home in August when he volunteered to fly a Papillon rescued from a puppy mill in Ohio to an owner in Pennsylvania. He found out about the need for the flight on the Pilots N Paws (PNP) Web site, and he made plans to carry another dog to safety as part of Pilots N Paws 5000, an effort to save 5,000 animals in a week in September. Read more >>
More and more business owners are pursuing pilot's licenses so they can fly directly to meetings and relieve themselves of the stress of commercial flying or driving. One such entrepreneur is Taco Bell franchisee Dick Davis, who bought his own plane and began flying to franchisee meetings in 1993. Flying also spares Davis from the headache of a 2.5 hour drive between restaurants he owns. Chris Dancy with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says that up to 70 percent of general aviation flying hours are in support of business. Read more >>
Gone flying? Tell us about your flight and submit photos and video of the experience!
Summit brings the excitement of aviation to Tampa
AOPA Aviation Summit, formerly known as AOPA Expo, is an annual event that draws aviation enthusiasts, pilots, and non-pilots by the thousands. Summit will be held at the Tampa Convention Center, 33 S. Franklin St., in Tampa, Fla., from Nov. 5 to 7. The event is a celebration of all facets of aviation—from flight simulators and radio-controlled model airplanes to general aviation aircraft in all forms. There will be hundreds of exhibitors, plus seminars and forums related to learning to fly, aviation careers, and fly-in destinations. Read more >>
Free sport pilot addendum, syllabus for 'Complete Private Pilot'
Bob Gardner, author of the The Complete Private Pilot textbook and syllabus, has created a companion sport pilot curriculum and syllabus available for free download. The materials provide information needed for flight schools, flight instructors, and students to follow the private pilot course modified to meet the sport pilot requirements. For more information and a link to the PDF file, see the ASA Web site.
New college students explore aviation careers
Students starting out at Birmingham Southern College (BSC) without a declared major had a hands-on introduction to opportunities in aviation on Aug. 31 at Shelby County Airport in Alabaster, Ala. The airport and members of the Shelby County Aviation Association hosted an event for incoming freshmen that included presentations about what aviation has to offer and hands-on exposure to a variety of aircraft. Students were treated to one-on-one discussions about aircraft on the flight line, including gliders, low-wing and high-wing airplanes, and taildraggers. Read more >>
First Steps • Types of Certificates •
Time and Cost
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Take Your First Flight
Aircraft of the Month
AOPA's 2009 sweepstakes airplane—Cirrus SR22
For its 2009 sweepstakes, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will give away a pristine Cirrus SR22. The technologically advanced, glass-cockpit airplane can cover more than 1,000 nautical miles at a stretch, reaching true speeds of more than 180 knots (about 207 miles per hour). It has an airframe parachute, and a built-in anti-icing system for an extra level of safety. Its deluxe leather interior makes riding in the Let's Go Flying SR22 feel like a luxury sports car. This airplane will be on display at AOPA Aviation Summit. Read more >>
Ask a Pilot
Question: Once I have my private pilot certificate, I plan to fly to vacation destinations. What are my options? Will I have to ship my luggage separately?
Answer: Once you've become a pilot, most of the airplanes that you'll fly will have two or four seats and a baggage area for your luggage and gear. So you'll have room for everything you'll need for a day trip or even a long weekend. Most four-seaters will have room for golf clubs, skis, or a pair of bicycles.
When you lift off from your local airport, you can fly yourself, your family, and your friends to any of America's 5,400 public-use airports, many of which are co-located with other fun recreational facilities and cultural activities like golfing, skiing, hiking, amusement parks, museums, and art galleries. View the Let's Go Flying Range Map to see where general aviation can take you.
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.
By Bill Daniels
The first would-be airmen tried to imitate bird flight with negligible success. When aviation took its own independent path, speeds quickly exceeded that of birds.
Sailplanes are an exception. Their minimum airspeed is not much faster than the birds themselves. Large birds can glide with us... Read more >>
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 non-pilot constituencies. Films like One-Six Right and the upcoming A Pilot's Story tug at heartstrings... Read more >>
Despite success, LSAs have an ongoing image problem
By Andrew Schmertz
The wild early success of the light sport aircraft industry and the excitement over the entire category as we enter year number six, belies one disturbing fact—the LSA sector still appeals mostly to older pilots... 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.
Featured Event—AOPA Aviation Summit
AOPA's annual convention and exposition will be help from Nov. 5 to 7 at Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla. AOPA Aviation Summit brings together pilots, aircraft owners, aviation businesses, students, enthusiasts, and members of the public for amazing aircraft exhibits, aircraft displays and aviation-themed events. For additional information and to register, visit the AOPA Web site.