Live the Dream
"Racing Aces" win Air Race Classic
Two Texas pilots who go by the name of the Racing Aces have won the 2012 Air Race Classic. Dianna Stanger, a fixed-base operator and manager of the Calhoun County Airport, and Victoria Holt, a professional pilot from Belton, flew a Cirrus SR22 to victory in the four-day race that began June 19 in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and concluded June 22 at Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio. Fifty-five teams participated in the all-women’s air race that has been an aviation tradition since 1929, when the event was known as the First Women’s Air Derby. AOPA was a “full throttle” sponsor of the 2012 Air Race Classic. Stanger and Holt, who flew the race in 2011 were declared the 2012 winners when organizers determined that the team had achieved the best groundspeed measured against a handicap speed computed for each aircraft based on flight-test data. Read More>>
AOPA flight training scholarship applications due Aug. 24
Need $5,000 for flight training? If you’d like to be considered for a flight training scholarship, be sure to submit your online application (and ask two people to complete the online recommendation form on your behalf) by the Aug. 24 deadline. The scholarships will be awarded to student pilots pursuing a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. Scholarship winners will be announced at AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 11 through 13. Learn more about eligibility and the application process online.
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Take Your First Flight
Aircraft of the Month
Cessna 172 Cutlass RG
Another day, another Cessna 172 is rolling down the runway for takeoff. Still you watch, transfixed as always, while it becomes airborne. But, what’s this? Before your plane-spotting eyes, the landing gear retracts! Inside that cockpit, the unseen pilot is adjusting a control to set a constant-speed propeller to 2,500 rpm for the climb, because this airplane is a Cessna 172 Cutlass RG, a 180-horsepower airplane based on the fixed-gear, fixed-pitch-propeller Skyhawk, built from 1980 to 1985 and commonly used as a complex trainer for pilots aiming for an upgrade.
Ask a Pilot
What is a commercial pilot certificate?
Answer: As the name implies, commercial pilots can be paid to fly aircraft. Commercial pilots certificated in airplanes must be at least 18 years old and have a minimum of 250 hours of flight time. They must hold an instrument rating, or be restricted to flying for hire only in daylight, under visual flight rules (VFR), and within 50 miles of the originating airport. Some common flying jobs for low-time commercial pilots in airplanes might be banner towing, aerial photography, and sightseeing tours. Many companies have insurance requirements that are a bit higher than 250 hours though, which makes flight instruction a great place to start a flying career. Commercial pilots must demonstrate more precise flying skills during their training and checkride, so pilots looking to enhance their flying skills may work towards a commercial certificate, even if they are not planning to actually fly for compensation.
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 posts from our Let's Go Flying blogs.
May 4: My first official lesson
By Blaine Transue
At some point I had read that famous quote by Leonardo da Vinci, that once you experience flying, your gaze would forever be upward towards the sky, as having been there you would always long to return. Almost exactly a year after that first flight I returned to Skypark and met with my new instructor for my first "official" lesson. After going over a few pieces of business, getting my account set up, and getting my flight training materials together we walked out to the hangar, opened the doors, and rolled out the Citabria. Read More >>
A commercial certificate is still just a license to learn
By Steve Tupper
A pilot certificate is just a license to learn. When you’re doing your initial training, that must seem like a foreign concept. Those guys and gals who have completed initial training and have certificates must know something, right? Well, of course they do. But you’ll be surprised at how much each additional rating shows you what you don’t know about flying. And how much you’ll want to go learn that stuff! I try to practice what I preach. After the instrument rating, I began a quest to visit as many corners of the aviation envelope as I could find. And there are plenty: multiengine aircraft, seaplanes, flying upside down. If you’d asked me in March if I thought that I’d be a commercial pilot now (and in gliders no less), I’d have chuckled at you. But here I am; one of the nation’s newest commercial 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.
American Barnstormers Tour
Are you fascinated by 1920s and 1930s vintage airplanes? Have you ever dreamed of riding in an open-cockpit biplane? Then come on out to Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport in Minnesota August 12 through 14 for the next stop on The American Barnstormers Tour. With more than a dozen airplanes flying every day, this is your chance to get a taste of the “Golden Age of Aviation.” Parking and admission are free! More information can be found here.
Experimental and ultralight balloons and airshops rally
Up, up, and away they go! The EAA chapter of Bethlehem, Conn., is hosting the Eighth Annual New England Experimental Balloon, Hopper, Chariot, and Airship Rally from September 7 through 9. The event is a great gathering for those who love to build, fly, talk about, and admire experimental balloons and airships. If lighter-than-air flying is your goal, come out to the Whelan Farms Airport to meet pilots and exchange ideas. More information can be found on the website.
Aviation Speaker Series: Hurricane hunter
Most people avoid flying into hurricanes, while others charge nose-first straight through one. Find out what it’s like to be a hurricane hunter on Sept. 10 near the Martin State Airport in Baltimore, Md. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist Barry Choy will talk about his up-close experiences flying through extreme weather as part of the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum's monthly Aviation Speaker Series. The presentation starts at 7 pm. More information can be found here.
AOPA Aviation Summit Oct 11 through 13
If you are an active pilot or want to get back into flying, AOPA Aviation Summit in sunny Palm Springs, Calif. is the place to be. From the return of the Parade of Planes, a Palm Springs exclusive, to more than 400 exhibits, dozens of aircraft on display, an enhanced education series that uses hands-on demonstrations, and social activities including parties, outdoor adventures, and an after-hours networking lounge, AOPA Aviation Summit offers an experience like no other. View the website to learn more.
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!