Live the Dream
Able Pilots - A unique program helps people with disabilities earn their wings.
At a ground school session at Purdue University, student pilots are hunched over sectional charts and flight logs, preparing flight plans. Their instructor strolls among them, looking over their shoulders. Which of them, he wants to know, is ready to take the knowledge test? “Have you been taking those practice tests?” he asks one. “How’d you do?” The student considers. “Ninety,” he offers. The instructor nods. “Time to get that scheduled.” Read more>>
AV8RS: New free teen membership
What’s it like to look down from the middle of a barrel roll and see eight other airplanes trailing smoke in the world’s largest airshow team? How does one airplane fly through the night on solar energy?
The first issue of AOPA’s AV8RS e-newsletter, geared toward teens ages 13 to 18, offers answers. The new AV8RS program, which offers free youth memberships to teens, has grown to nearly 1,000 members. Want to share your passion for aviation with a teen? Encourage someone you know to become an AOPA AV8R. Teens can sign up here.
First Steps • Types of Certificates •
Time and Cost
Choose a Flight Instructor •
Take Your First Flight
Aircraft of the Month
Darter Commander: A rare bird that commands attention
When you see one for the first time, you may be tempted to ask the airplane’s pilot why the tail of the Skyhawk is on “backward” (like a Mooney). But a confirmed plane spotter will not be fooled. Just when others on the ramp are scratching their heads, go ahead and explain that this airplane isn’t a Cessna. It’s a rare example of a 150-horsepower North American Rockwell Darter Commander (AC-100-150) built in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Ask a Pilot
I'm just about to start training for my private pilot certificate. At what point should I get a medical certificate?
Answer: You will need a medical certificate prior to solo flight, but it's a good idea to visit an aviation medical examiner and obtain it before beginning your flight training. This will assure you that you are aware of any condition that might prevent you from obtaining a medical certificate before you have invested much money into your training. You can search for an Aviation Medical Examiner near you online.
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.
Cool, calm, and collected
By Kristen Seaman
For those of you who have been following me on this blog, you might recall one of my first posts, chockfull of different quotes describing how it felt to experience the freedom and beauty of flying. I ended it with Orson Welles’ words of wisdom, “There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.” I went on to say that I anticipate it being a long time before I ever get bored flying an airplane. Well, on my first solo cross country yesterday, I can honestly say that even with all the gorgeous scenery and thoughts of “this is so awesome”/”I am so cool” running through my head, I found myself bored in an airplane for the first time. Read more >>
ATC mayhem and landing practice
By Blaine Transue
Since I'm getting closer to my checkride, my lessons now consist primarily of honing my skills. With all of my solo, cross country and night flying requirements completed, my flying lessons focus on improving my skills, and when I'm not flying, I've got my head buried in books, videos and websites in an attempt get my brain wrapped around the academics of flying.
At this stage in the game there are a number of aspects of flying that I'm pretty comfortable with, flight planning, cross country, night flying, ground reference maneuvers, normal, soft field and short field takeoffs, flying under the hood, solos, unusual attitude recovery, even tower work to some extent, but there are a few areas that still elude me, and I'm doing my best to keep from getting frustrated. At the top of the list are a number of instruments and the on-the-fly calculations required while in flight. 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.
Monster Bash 2012
Come out to Port Lavaca, TX on October 27th to see the Calhoun County Airport turned into a spooky Halloween-themed Monster Bash. Have your costume or decorated pumpkin judged, bob for apples, let your kids take flight, or even run the 5K Monster Dash! The Dash starts at 8 am and the Bash starts at 11 am. More details can be found on their website.
California Aircraft Expo
Are you a west coast resident interested in purchasing a General Aviation (GA) aircraft and not quite sure where to start? Come check out the California Aircraft Expo to see the latest models of GA aircraft from Cessna, Piper, Hawker Beechcraft, Diamond, Husky, Pilatus, Lancair, and Cirrus. Get your questions answered regarding aircraft ownership, taxes, and insurance at this free event. The event will take place in Carlsbad on November 3rd and Long Beach on December 1st. For more information, visit the website here.
2012 Stuart Air Show
Fireworks, food, drinks, fun, and of course spectacular aerobatics can be found at the Stuart Air Show in Stuart, FL the weekend of November 9-11th. Enjoy civilian and military performers, static civilian and military aircraft, and battle reenactments. The event kicks off Friday evening with the Dirty Flight Suit Party featuring Nashville recording artist Tom Jackson. To learn more and purchase your event tickets, visit their website.
1940's White Christmas Ball
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas and also happen to be an aviation junkie, come dance the night away at the 3rd Annual 1940’s White Christmas Ball in Denver, CO. The tribute to Pearl Harbor will take place at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, and will include a twelve-piece orchestra, vintage jazz dance group, WWII-era vehicles, and more! To reserve tickets or tables, visit the website here.
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!