Live the Dream
Awakening an airport: Matt Metcalfe
If you happen to drop in at the Guntersville, Ala., Municipal Airport and run into the airport manager, give him a thumbs-up for the way the place has come to life over the past three years. Then congratulate the airport manager and student pilot Matt Metcalfe on winning the Jeppesen Flight Training Scholarship, which he accepted during AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. Metcalfe got his first airplane ride at age seven from his uncle, who piloted a Piper single, and points with pride to several generations of family ties to the Guntersville area, and to aviation.
A father of three children who works on his pilot certificate while also going to school to become an airframe and powerplant mechanic, Metcalfe returned to the Guntersville area from Florida in 2009, taking over as airport manager after selling the airport advisory board on his energy and passion for aviation. Read More>>
Beyond all expectations - Lessons in motivation and persistence, as told by the Tuskegee Airman
Flight training can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. In time of war, things can get even tougher. In the 1940s, when the flight training cadets who came to be known as the Tuskegee Airmen were training, they faced conditions and circumstances that were far less than ideal. Yet they succeeded beyond the expectations of almost everyone. Everyone but themselves, that is. How that outcome came about is worth considering for anyone who wants to fly—or to be a success at almost anything in life. Read More>>
First Steps • Types of Certificates •
Time and Cost
Choose a Flight Instructor •
Take Your First Flight
Aircraft of the Month
Taylorcraft: Taildragger built for two
Fly-in season still has some time to run, and flapjacks are still being flipped for Saturday morning breakfasts at grass strips across the land. If you haven’t yet added a “T-craft” (a Taylorcraft) to the two-seat taildragger column of your plane-spotting catalog, finding such a destination might be a good strategy. Whether the Taylorcraft you spot is a fuel-frugal, 1930s-era, 65-horsepower classic, or an updated 1990s F22 that sports a Lycoming O-235 engine (as does the Cessna 152), a Taylorcraft makes a worthy addition to your plane spotter’s photographic trophy collection.
Ask a Pilot
Are there medical requirements to become a pilot?
Answer: It depends on what type of flying you’d like to do and in what type of aircraft. For example, pilots flying gliders or hot air balloons are not required to hold an FAA medical certificate. Under certain conditions, sport pilots can fly with a valid driver’s license in lieu of a medical certificate. Recreational and private pilots are required to hold a third-class medical certificate. However, in any flying situation, all pilots are required to determine that they are medically fit to fly before every flight. If a medical certificate is required for the type of flying you plan to do, you are not required to hold that medical certificate until it is time for your solo flight. You can start your training without a medical certificate. Most flight schools will recommend that you obtain a medical certificate early on in your training, so that if there are any concerns or delays, you know about it in advance and can work to solve the problem right away.
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.
Smart enough to fly?
By Blaine Transue
This has been a tough couple of weeks. After flying three, four, even five days a week all summer long, I have come to the end of my flight training and have only flown once in the past week, which at this point seems more like a month. Today was knowledge test day, and while I have studied as much as I possibly could throughout the summer, I still felt like there were areas where I could have used more time. Personally, I found it difficult to prepare myself for the written exam, not so much comprehending the particular areas of knowledge, but in psychologically preparing myself and trying to predict what might be asked, which, of course, you can't do. Here's a few things I'll say about the whole process. Read More >>
Sophie T. Dog's first flight
By Brittney Miculka
To me, the best part of being a private pilot is flying myself to fun destinations. Just recently, my boyfriend (also a pilot), my Australian Shepherd, Sophie, and I flew to Penn Yan, N.Y., to spend the weekend on Keuka Lake. It was wonderful; what has taken us 5.5 hours to drive from Frederick, Md., took us only 2.5 hours to fly! It was Sophie’s first time in an airplane and she did great. Sophie is a 50-pound dog and typically likes to spread out on long drives, so to make it comfortable in the Cessna 172, we decided to take the back seat out. I also purchased Mutt Muffs to help cut down the loud engine noise inflight. 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.
Bahamas Training Adventure
Ever thought about flying to the Bahamas, but aren’t quite sure what’s involved? Become part of the three-day excursion meeting up at Fort Pierce, FL (KFPR) on Nov. 30. The 2nd Semi-Annual Bahamas Fly-in Training Adventure will send you forms and training information describing all the details. All you need to do is show up and head out to Freeport, Grand Bahamas, with the group. Information and costs can be found at the 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.
2012 Aviation Weather - A User and Provider Perspective
It’s a known fact that aviation and weather go hand-in-hand. But many pilots have a difficult time interpreting the data that they see, as well as how to apply it to all phases of flight, from pre-flight and ground operations to enroute and landing. Learn the ins and outs of operational aviation weather decision making in this course, which will give pilots a new perspective on how weather data is interpreted and relayed to pilots. The course takes place in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 6. More information can be found at 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!