Live the Dream
Student solos five aircraft on sixteenth birthday
Soloing is a thrill for every student pilot. Soloing in several different airplanes takes that excitement to a new level, as Justin McBurney of Apple Valley, Calif., learned on Nov. 14. He soloed five airplanes on the morning of his sixteenth birthday, the earliest age at which a student pilot can fly a powered aircraft without a flight instructor. McBurney flew three Cessnas (150, 152, and 172), a Piper Warrior, and an Aeronca Champ. Read More >>
Florida school offers federal loan/grant programs
Aerosim Flight Academy in Sanford, Fla., has obtained Title IV funding, meaning it can offer financial aid through federal student grants and loans for those enrolling in its professional pilot program. Options include Pell grants, Parent Plus loans, and Stafford loans. Additional financial options are available for veterans and those looking to obtain recreational pilot training. For more information, see the website.
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Aircraft of the Month
First flight for FAA-conforming HondaJet
The first flight of the test aircraft took place Dec. 20 at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., and lasted 51 minutes. Honda plans to produce several aircraft for its ongoing FAA certification program, and the first customer deliveries are planned for late 2012. Read More >>
Honda Aircraft Co. successfully completed the first flight of its FAA-conforming HondaJet, the company announced.
Ask a Pilot
Question: What is the ideal age to begin flight training?
Answer: Considering the wide range of individual circumstances, there isn’t really an ideal age. That said, let’s look at both ends of the age spectrum. While the FAA requires you to be at least 16 years old to fly an airplane solo, you can begin flight training at any age. If you’re trying to complete your training as quickly as possible – not just training for fun and to build flight time – it would make sense to start close to your sixteenth birthday since some students can go from first lesson to solo flight in several weeks. If you happen to be well past your sweet sixteen, you’re not alone. Many pilots dreamt of flying for decades before they started training. Statistically, the average age of a student pilot is 33 but there are a good number of people who begin training after retiring from their day jobs. The FAA doesn’t set a maximum age limit for non-commercial flying but they do require students to meet basic medical standards by either self-certifying they are in good health (for those pursuing a sport pilot certificate) or by getting the green light from an aviation medical examiner (AME) for a recreational or private pilot certificate. Remember the first step is easy – find a flight school near you and schedule your introductory flight today!
Do you have a question about flying? Ask a pilot! Call 800/872-2672 or send an e-mail.
In the Blogs
Here are some recent post from our Let's Go Flying blogs.
Watching your new best friends having the time of their lives
By Steve Tupper
It’s hard to believe, but there was a time just before I got my instrument rating when I wondered whether there would be enough challenges and opportunities in general aviation to keep it interesting. Yeah, I was pretty naïve to think that. The time since then has been pretty interesting, to say the least, and you’ve seen some of that in my entries on this blog. I’m having a great time re-living some of those experiences as I edit footage from Acro Camp, a movie that I and some friends in the general aviation community shot in May. We brought in four pilots from around the country. Two men and two women. Each had between 300 hours and 12,000 hours total time. But none had a tailwheel rating and none had ever flown any aerobatics (sometimes called “acro”) beyond an upset-recovery or unusual-attitudes course. Read more >>
Setting yourself up for a great landing!
By Chris Findley, CFI, CFII
Learning to land is one of the greatest thrills in flying. In fact, I think most pilots, even if they have been flying for years, still love the challenge of making a great landing. It is a common misconception (particularly among students) to think that the main thing we have concentrate on is the round-out and flare. Certainly these are important, but a great landing really begins in the pattern, specifically on the downwind leg. 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.
U.S. Sport Aviation Expo
From Jan. 20-23, Sebring, Fla. is the place to be if you’re interested in light sport aircraft and the sport pilot certificate. Attendees from all over the United States and many foreign countries will see, try, fly (and in some cases buy!) a new light sport aircraft. Exhibitors include dealers and manufacturers of aircraft, avionics, electronics, aircraft parts and supplies as well as pilot supplies, insurance agencies, financial institutions, training organizations, and nearly every aspect of recreational aviation. For more information, visit the website >>
Women in Aviation International Conference
Join Women in Aviation International (WAI) at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev., for its twenty-second annual conference from Feb. 24 to 26. With the theme of "Inspire, Enthuse, Innovate," participants will be immersed in the tactics and strategies necessary for successful aviation careers. The conference includes an exhibit hall, seminars, and networking events. For details, visit the WAI website >>
Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show 2011
Head to Puyallup, Wash. for the annual Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show set for Feb. 26 – 27. Over 11,000 aviation enthusiasts gather in western Washington to check out what's new in the aviation industry. The trade show area features over 350 exhibitor spaces and there are weather and airport workshops scheduled. For more information, visit the website >>
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 7,000 photos (and growing). Photos are put into rotation on the AOPA home page!