Live the Dream
The plane-building bug is airborne in Albany
Albany, Ore. is a haven for airplane-building enthusiasts, with up to 10 planes currently being constructed and many more having been built over the years. Ken Elwood, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association who has been a licensed pilot since he was 21, has built five aircraft, including his open-cockpit Starduster Too bi-plane. Elwood, a retired teacher, helped his students at South Albany High School build a plane. Read more >>
Balloons fill Albuquerque's sky
Hot air balloons filled the sky above Albuquerque, N.M., during the Thirty-Eighth Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event was held Oct. 3 through 11. More than 500 balloons and some 650 pilots registered for this year's Balloon Fiesta, representing states as far away as Alaska, North Dakota, and Florida. International pilots came from Belgium, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, among other countries. Watch a slide show of the event on the story page. Read more >>
Young pilot helps other kids' dreams take wing
Minnesota resident Jessica Miller, 18, has been flying since she was 15, and she received her private pilot's certificate at 17. The St. Cloud State University freshman served as an instructor to kids at the inaugural Youth Aviation Adventure at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. Miller came in seventh at the 2009 national Air Race Classic all-female airplane race, and was the youngest competitor in the event. Read more >>
Gone flying? Tell us about your flight and submit photos and video of the experience!
Let your dream of becoming a pilot begin at Summit
Bring your questions about flight training to the Learn to fly Centers at AOPA Aviation Summit. AOPA's qualified staff of pilots and certificated flight instructors will be ready to answer your questions about training programs, certificate options, and all things related to becoming a pilot.
At the Tampa Convention Center's exhibit hall, AOPA's Learn to fly Center will feature a Frasca Cirrus SR22 flight training device.
At the Learn to fly Center at Peter O. Knight Airport, you can sign up for a $70 Discovery Flight. Read more >>
Frasca's Cessna 172 Mentor(TM) training device
WAI scholarships aren't just for students
Women in Aviation International (WAI) would like you to know that you don't have to be a college student or a woman to apply for one or more of its 2010 scholarship offerings. "Let's debunk two big misunderstandings about our WAI scholarships," WAI President Peggy Chabrian said. "Contrary to what people may think, you do not have to be a student to qualify; the second is you don't have to be a woman." Read more >>
Student pilot gets lift from AOPA Flight Path
A photograph a colleague brought to work one day was enough to prompt Jan Johnson of Portola Valley, Calif., to pursue a lifelong dream of flying. Now, Johnson has help with her training thanks to a cash prize from the AOPA Flight Path Sweepstakes. Read more >>
First Steps • Types of Certificates •
Time and Cost
Choose a Flight Instructor •
Take Your First Flight
Aircraft of the Month
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
The Cessna 172 is the world's most popular general aviation airplane. This versatile, four-seat airplane, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2006, is also a common primary trainer and rental. Many pilots learned to fly in a Cessna 172, then worked toward more advanced ratings in it, and have either purchased or continue to rent one for cross-country trips. This aircraft is able to meet the needs of those who want to fly around their local airport and see the sunset or who want to fly to a vacation or business destination.
Ask a Pilot
Question: Can a flight simulator help me learn to fly?
Answer: Yes. Student pilots who use simulators before beginning their lessons typically reach their checkride faster. Spending fewer hours getting your certificate will result in a significant savings.
Flight simulators and flight training devices are great tools for learning how an aircraft responds or handles in different scenarios, and for learning the correct procedures for flows, checklists, and memory items. It is important when first learning maneuvers and procedures that a flight instructor accompanies you. This will help prevent learning procedures incorrectly.
Also, if you are using an FAA-approved flight simulator with an instructor present, you can log a certain amount of time toward your certificate. There are limitations, so be sure to check with your instructor and flight school.
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.
Glad to be on board
By Arty Trost
Hello, pilots and those who are exploring flying! I'm delighted to play a part in AOPA's Let's Go Flying program. In this blog I want to share the lessons I've learned through flying. I especially want to encourage you to "live out loud," push your boundaries, and explore new possibilities... Read more >>
Sky with no limits!
By Brent Redpath
I did it!
It has been a while since I last blogged my progress with my flight training. I did a lot of training in the month of July including simulated instrument training and finishing up
my cross country flight requirements. Also, my CFI and I did PTS prep for about three hours.
The checkride was set... Read more >>
Wilco Films at AOPA Aviation Summit
By Rico Sharqawi and Will Hawkins
Will and I are pleased to announce our participation in the first-ever AOPA Aviation Summit "GA at the Movies" Luncheon. AOPA President and CEO Craig L. Fuller will kick off this exciting event by presenting the Joseph B. "Doc" Hartranft Award and the Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award to recognize each winner's contributions to general aviation... 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.
AOPA Aviation Summit
AOPA's annual convention and exposition will be held from Nov. 5 to 7 at the 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.
Follow a helicopter flight to Brazil
It's a rare opportunity to see much of the world from the cockpit of a helicopter. Follow along as Kevin Mackenzie and Derrick Smith from Vericity Aviation journey from New Braunfels, Texas, to Curitiba, Brazil, to deliver a Robinson R44 helicopter to a customer. The cross-country flight will consists of 25 fuel stops, spanning over 12 countries. Visit Veracity Aviation's blog to watch the nine-day adventure unfold.