It’s been two years since you stepped into a cockpit. Or five years. Or 15 years.
No matter. The sky is waiting for you, and your pilot certificate never expires. But before you get some stick time, do some planning—just as any good pilot would.
What will it take to make you a safe, proficient pilot? Do you need a medical? A flight review? Some crosswind practice with a CFI? A full-blown instrument proficiency check? Do you need to find a flight school or an instructor? An airplane to rent?
As you lay out the groundwork for your return to aviation, consult “ AOPA’s Pilots’ Guide to Getting Back into Flying”. This comprehensive, step-by-step guide shows you exactly what you will need and how to get started. And, it describes the security, regulatory, and airspace developments you may have missed in the years since you were an active pilot.
Even if you last flew in 2007—just two short years ago—you might not realize that there have been changes to the FAA’s regulations on charitable flying; the Washington, D.C., ADIZ is now a permanent special flight rules area; and satellite monitoring of 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters has ended (although the search-and-rescue community will still respond when notified through other means). All of these developments could affect the type of flying you plan to do. That’s why it’s important to learn all that you can.
Perhaps the only thing keeping you on the ground is the lack of a current flight review. It happens! Family, work, and other factors all can compete for our attention, and before we know it we’re looking at our logbook, realizing that the magical two-year date has come and gone. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Safety Hot Spot on flight reviews provides a clear overview of what you’ll need, and some solid tips on what you can do to make your experience more than a biennial exercise in box-checking.