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AOPA Launches Rusty Pilots Initiative To Help Lapsed Pilots Get Back In The Air

Program Makes Returning to the Air Easy, Affordable

          Contact: Steve Hedges
                          [email protected]


FREDERICK, Md. – The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) today launched an easy and fun new way for pilots who have gotten away from flying to get back in the cockpit.

AOPA’s Rusty Pilots program allows lapsed pilots a way to return to flying in a matter of hours through a free session of ground school that fulfills the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) flight review requirement for ground instruction.

After the seminar, which includes topics such as a refresher on airspace and the most pertinent regulations, pilots can work directly with a local flight school or flying club to schedule dual flight-time in order to complete a flight review.

“Once a pilot, always a pilot,” said Brittney Miculka, AOPA’s senior manager of pilot community development. “It’s much easier for people to get back into flying than they might think. This program makes it both easy and fun.”

The potential of the Rusty Pilots program is substantial. An AOPA survey found that as many as 500,000 pilots earned a private pilot certificate but later stopped flying. The research determined that 87 percent of those pilots, “either intend to come back or might come back to flying.” The remainder said they were unable to fly due to medical reasons.

AOPA will partner with flight schools and flying clubs around the nation to offer the Rusty Pilots program. Participating schools and clubs will receive free course materials that include a presenter’s guide and attendee resource guide. AOPA will help flight schools and clubs identify lapsed pilots in their areas, and it will promote the events.

In addition, AOPA will hold free Rusty Pilots programs the evening before each of its six AOPA Regional Fly-ins in 2014, and also before its Frederick, Md. homecoming fly-in. Longtime Air Safety Institute presenters Mark Grady and Pat Brown will present the material at AOPA’s Rusty Pilots Fly-in sessions.

Lapsed pilots interested in attending an event may view the schedule and register by visiting

Flight schools and flying clubs may request to host a Rusty Pilots presentation by clicking on “learn more” at

About AOPA

Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association, with representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States. AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit 

AOPA Communications staff
AOPA Communications Staff are communicators who specialize in making aerospace, aviation and advocacy information relatable for all.
Topics: AOPA Events, Events, Flight School

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