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More Resources to Help You Get Back in the Left SeatResources for Rusty Pilots

Medical issues, money, and time are the three biggest reasons that pilots say they haven't gotten back into the left seat or taken their flight review, even after taking one of our Rusty Pilots seminars. AOPA wants to help resolve the issues that have prevented you from taking those next steps. Returning to the skies is not as difficult as you may think. Here are some resources to help you.  

Medical Issues Keeping You Grounded?   

If you have any medical conditions that could hold up your medical certificate, take advantage of AOPA's expertise - especially before you go to the AME.  Here are a few helpful steps:

  • AOPA offers a range of Fit to Fly resources created to help you take full advantage of BasicMed.
  • Check out the free AOPA Medical Certification subject reports that have detailed information on what the FAA requires for all the major types of medical conditions.  They describe how to prepare for your visit to the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).  
  • After reviewing the medical page, please contact our Aviation and Medical Specialists in the Pilot Information Center either by phone at 800.USA.AOPA (872.2672) or email [email protected].  They can help you with any special situation or questions that you may have. 
  • If you would like our Medical Specialists to personally review your medical records, consider signing up for AOPA's Pilot Protection Services plan.

If you have a medical condition that is preventing you from getting your medical certificate at this time, consider flying as a sport pilot or adding on your glider rating.  They are incredibly fun and rewarding ways to enjoy aviation without getting a medical certificate.

Cost of Flying Stretching the Wallet?  

Check out this subject report on how to reduce the cost of flying in a variety of ways. 

Another great way to bring down the cost of flying and reap the benefits of a true pilot community is to join or start a flying club.  The club could choose to operate traditional category aircraft, light sport aircraft, gliders, or whatever fits the needs and aspirations of its members.  By sharing the cost of ownership, you can make flying fit your budget.

Get started with the following steps: 

Can't Seem to Find Enough Time to Get Current?

Obviously, we all would like to have more time to do what we love, but sometimes other commitments make it challenging to fit it all in. 

One thing you can do to increase your currency is to keep aviation on the mind.  One of AOPA's flight instructors had a student who, due to family commitments, was only able to fly once every other month or so.  But amazingly, he would get back in the cockpit and perform his procedures like he had just flown yesterday!  His secret - he would use a cockpit poster of the 172 he flew, which he put up over his desk, to practice his procedures whenever he had a spare moment. It really is a powerful way to keep up your proficiency.  It's why professional pilots are required to fly the "paper tiger" before they set foot in a simulator during training. 

Modern technology makes it easier than ever to practice procedures no matter where you are. There are lots of great videos and educational courses available for free. To get started, check out the AOPA Air Safety Institute's series of courses and quizzes here.

Additionally, here are a few articles that talk a little bit more about "chair flying" and visualizing to keep you sharp: 

Preflight Prep: Five Steps to Efficient Flight Training

Practice Makes Proficient (see p. 7 of the FAA Safety Briefing) 

Currency vs. Proficiency: The Mystic Art of Being a Low-Time Pilot 

There is a wealth of expertise here at AOPA and we want to help you get back in the air.  If you want some more creative ideas and would like to talk to our experienced CFIs here at AOPA before taking the flight review, please call the Pilot Information Center at 800.USA.AOPA (872.2672).  So please reach out to us for any assistance you need.