A message from Michelle Peterson
About two months ago, I decided it was time to take another run at learning to fly. I started ten years ago, almost to solo, but like so many people, life got in the way. Interestingly enough, I’m finding it to be much more fun than the first time around, maybe because it isn’t 100% foreign—and maybe because I’ve had the benefit of flying in GA aircraft on a regular basis while at AOPA.
I often wonder what it would be like to pursue a private pilot certificate outside of my AOPA life. I am so fortunate to be working in a building full of top-notch pilots and instructors, all enthusiastic about any “newbie” in flight training. There is no lack of encouragement here at AOPA—plenty of mentors and friendly invitations to keep me engaged. My instructor works across the hall and not a day goes by without him stopping by to check in and ask the simple question, “Can we fly today?”
As I think about how fortunate I am to work for a company who lives and breathes general aviation, I realize that this same support system is available to anyone who dreams of flying, wants to learn to fly, keep flying, or get back into it after a hiatus. It really can start with you. Just a little nudge can make all the difference in the world to someone who has an interest. Even a short ride in a GA plane can give someone the bug to start or get back into it. You really can make a difference.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the tremendous resources AOPA has to offer—no matter where you’re at in your pilot journey. If you know someone who is dreaming about learning to fly, send them to www.letsgoflying.com. Lots of great information there to keep them motivated and encourage them to take the next step. For those who are just starting flight training, www.myft.org is a brand new resource for student pilots to track milestones and gain clear understanding of what they can expect throughout the flight training journey. And, of course, www.aopaflighttraining.org is a great place to build your knowledge base as a new pilot.
As a member of AOPA, you are certainly aware of all the benefits and resources available to you –www.aopa.org (online weather, flight planner, online airport directory), AOPA Pilot Magazine, Flight Training Magazine, AOPA e-Pilot, and our Pilot Information Center (1-800-USA-AOPA) to mention a few. AOPA is a wonderful support system and your membership is critical to the success of the organization and to the future of General Aviation. So, take someone for a flight, share an encouraging word to get someone started or get back into it—and most importantly, keep your membership current!
--Keep ‘Em Flying!
March 2, 2012