Rusty PilotsRusty Pilots

Been Out of the Cockpit For Awhile? Here's How to Get Back In!Get Back Into Flying!

Think you've lost too much and forgotten everything? Afraid it'll be like starting over? No worries, Rusty Pilots will get you back in the left seat fast!

Getting Back To Flying: Easier Than You Think

If you're like over 500,000 other pilots (that's right, half a million), you've taken a little breather from flying. Maybe more than a little. Perhaps life threw you a curve when you were expecting a fast ball. Or maybe the pitter-patter of little feet, or the building of a growing business had something to do with it. Whatever the case, things are different now. You're back in the game and would like to start flying again. You've come to the right place.

No Checkride Required. You Can Do This.

You may have forgotten that pilot certificates never expire. Once a pilot, always a pilot. You never have to take another test or worry about another checkride. All you need is a Flight Review (formerly known as a BFR). That's it. A little brush-up with your local CFI, enough flights to demonstrate competence again (minimum one hour), and – presto! – you're back in business. Seriously, that's all it takes.

A Rusty Pilots Seminar Gets You Started

AOPA has put together a free, comprehensive program that gives you all the information you need to get current again. Free seminars sponsored by local flight schools and clubs provide all the ground training you need, and show you, step-by-step, what you need to do to complete the Flight Review. An easy-to-follow Powerpoint presentation will bring you up to speed on hot-button issues like weather briefings, preflight planning, FARs, and airspace. You'll learn about medical requirements, runway incursions, radio procedures and Light Sport aircraft, as well as any changes that have taken place since you last donned a headset. You'll even leave the seminar with a logbook endorsement attesting that you've completed the one-hour of ground training required for the Flight Review. All this at no cost.

Resource Guide

Click here to download a copy of the Rusty Pilots Resource Guide. It's a convenient cockpit and study reference especially designed to help rusty pilots get ready for the left seat!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get current after an extended break from flying?

All you need to get legal and current is a medical certificate and a Flight Review. These used to be called Biennial Flight Reviews, but a bureaucrat needed something to do so they gave him the job of changing the name. The regulations require that the Flight Review consist of at least one hour of ground instruction and one hour of flight time. Depending on how much rust you've accumulated, you may need more.

Your local Aviation Medical Examiner will provide the medical certificate.

How much time will I need to get back in shape?

It depends on how long you've been away from flying and how experienced you were when you stopped. Generally, the longer it's been since you flew the more instruction you'll need to get current, but not always. Your CFI may be able to give you at least a rough idea after your first ground and flight sessions. 

Do I have to take any more tests

If by tests you mean a written exam or checkride, then no. You will not have to do any formal exams to satisfy the requirements of a Flight Review. Your CFI will determine your competence to act as Pilot In Command. His logbook endorsement will be all you need.

What topics are covered in the Rusty Pilots seminar?

The seminar is designed to bring you up to date on regulatory and procedural changes that may have taken place during your vacation from flying, as well as provide a refresher on medical requirements, cross country planning and weather (METARs and TAFs), pilot responsibilities, runway incursion avoidance, radio procedures, airspace and much more. The material is presented in Powerpoint format, and the taking of notes is encouraged though not required.

What do I have to do after the seminar to get current?

You must complete a Flight Review, which consists of both ground and flight training. Participation in the seminar will meet the requirement for one hour of ground instruction, and you will receive a sticker at the seminar that you can place into your logbook as evidence that you have received this training. You will then need to get flight training at a school or club. This may consist of just one hour, or could take more depending on how rusty you are.

What do I do if there is no seminar near me?

If you can't find a seminar in your area, try asking the flight school or club manager if they would be interested in hosting a seminar. Remind them that the materials and promotions are available from AOPA at no charge, and that these seminars can be a good source of new business. For more information, they can go to

You can also attend a regional AOPA fly-in held in various parts of the country throughout the year. These fly-in events feature a Rusty Pilots seminar as part of the program. Just search for a fly-in near you and register for the seminar.

Check out the list of free courses and materials specifically selected for Rusty Pilots in ASI's Rusty Pilots Safety Spotlight.

Can I take a friend to the seminar?

Of course! The more the merrier. Just be sure to register everybody in advance to ensure that there are enough supplies and materials to go around.

What should I take with me?

Bring pens or pencil and note paper. If you have an iPad or other tablet with an aviation app on it, bring that too. If you have time, do a little boning up on the Flight Review in advance of the class so you're a step ahead. Thumb through some of your old books and charts to re-familiarize yourself with the topics that will be discussed. Don't have time to do any homework in advance? No problem. The topics will be covered during the session, so just come and enjoy.

How much do these seminars cost?

Zip. Zero. Nada. Rusty Pilots seminars are 100% free.

Where can I find great learning resources to help me review for my flight review?

Check out the list of free courses and materials specifically selected for Rusty Pilots in ASI's Rusty Pilots Safety Spotlight.