Many helpful resources and benefits are available to student pilots at Flight Training, AOPA’s website dedicated to flight training. It’s designed to help students with their decision-making and learning processes by focusing on the five major phases of flight training. Highlights from each of the five phases are included in this section and we encourage you to review them.
AOPA membership is required to access many of the resources and benefits available on Flight Training, including training material downloads, Flight Training magazine archives, and a vast library of publications and training aids.
But there’s good news for students!
Free access is available through the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Student Pilot Membership Program which consists of two membership options available exclusively to student pilots:
If you’ve just taken your introductory flight or are currently in training for your private pilot certificate, you’re eligible to receive a FREE introductory six-month AOPA membership and six FREE issues of Flight Training magazine—no risk, no hassles, no upfront fees. Enroll online now to activate your free membership.
As a student pilot, you can also take advantage of a student-exclusive annual AOPA membership rate of $49.00, including 12 issues of Flight Training magazine! You can enroll anytime during or following your free six-month membership.
During this initial phase of your flight training, your goal is to develop the skills needed to inspect the aircraft before each flight, taxi to the runway, take off, fly around the airport traffic pattern, and land your aircraft all alone, without your instructor’s help. In other words, to solo!
You’ll need to understand many new concepts while learning some key aviation terms. But most important, you’ll learn how to fly the airplane under favorable weather conditions at your local airport, including when and how to communicate over the radio.
Some of the many resources and tools in the Pre-Solo section of Flight Training Online include:
Where can I find the requirements that must be met before I can solo? Are there any tips or suggestions I can use to help me prepare for my first solo?
Interactive Courses, Quizzes and More
Increase and test your knowledge with learning aids such as Airport Markings Flash Cards, publications including the Ups and Downs of Take-offs and Landings, and quizzes on preflight actions and propellors.
Enhance your flying skills with articles and publications on ground operations, airport operations, basic maneuvers, flight maneuvers, ground reference maneuvers, and emergency procedures. These are the flying skills you’ll need to develop to control an aircraft in a safe and professional manner.
Increase your understanding with illustrated briefs available online including the theory of flight, flight controls, flight control forces, retractable landing gear, and propellor safety.
Make better, more informed decisions with additional resources and tools such as “A Pilot’s Guide to Medical Certification,” TurboMedical, an interactive tool that will help eliminate any surprises during your aviation medical exam, plus a searchable AME (aviation medical examiner) database.
Once you have soloed, there’s more for you to learn as you prepare for the next milestone in your training. After your first solo, you’re most likely to have a couple of supervised solos—you’ll fly part of a session with your instructor and the rest alone. Then you’ll practice by yourself at your home airport, perhaps under certain weather conditions specified by your instructor or areas in which you’re allowed to fly.
At this point you’ll begin to master operations in the airport traffic pattern, understand winds, and learn to recognize when conditions are beyond your capabilities. You’ll also get a better understanding of your aircraft’s systems and operations, such as the selection and regulation of the engine’s fuel-air mixtures (“leaning”) and other finer points of aircraft operation.
Some of the many resources and tools you’ll find in the Solo section of Flight Training Online include:
Is it OK to execute a go-around from a bad approach while on final, or from base to final, or do I have to wait until I’m close in? When I solo, can I log the flight time as pilot in command (PIC) time?
Interactive Courses and Quizzes
Increase and test your knowledge with learning aids and publications such as Runway Safety, Operations at Towered Airports, and Fuel Awareness plus quizzes on intercept procedures, operations at non-towered airports, runway incursions and more.
Enhance your flying skills with articles and publications on crosswind landings, planning the takeoff, wind strategies, the quest for the perfect landing and more.
Increase your understanding with illustrated briefs available online including operations at non-towered and towered airports, operating within the airspace structure, fuel and fuel management, how to perform maneuvering flight safely, and runway incursion avoidance.
Understanding your aircraft’s engine and its fuel and electrical systems is the key to operating it as efficiently as possible. Improper operation can result in engine damage, which in extreme cases can lead to engine failure. You’ll find a number of key topics help you make better, more informed decisions.
At this stage , you may feel like all you’re doing is practicing maneuvers—over, and over, and over. Why now? You must master these skills before you take your checkride, and you’ll want to have them under your belt before you begin your cross-country flights. It’s also time to think about taking the FAA knowledge test, a 60-question computerized test that, within 24 calendar months before your checkride, you must pass with a score of 70 percent or better.
Some of the many resources and tools you’ll find in the Maneuvers section of Flight Training Online include:
Once in a while I feel a little sick when we work on maneuvers. I don’t hear other students talking about it. Is this normal? What should I do if this continues? When I hear the word stall, I still get anxious. Where can I get some non-textbook information on stalls?
Interactive Courses and Quizzes
Increase and test your knowledge with learning aids such as Collision Avoidance, Spatial Disorientation plus quizzes on emergency procedures, human factors (scenarios and phenomena that can lead to diminished pilot performance), wake turbulence, and collision avoidance.
Enhance your flying skills with articles and publications on stalls and steep turns, short-field and soft-field takeoffs and landings, short-field approaches and landings, soft-field technique, tips for landing in the grass, and emergency procedures such as trim malfunction.
Increase your understanding with illustrated briefs available online including a comprehensive review of important airspeeds, also known as V speeds (for velocity), collision avoidance in the air and on the ground, the physiological limitation of spatial disorientation, and mastering the basics of takeoffs and landings.
Another milestone on the way to your private pilot certificate is the FAA’s computerized knowledge test. Everything you need to know to prepare for and take the knowledge test is available in this section.
During the cross-country phase, all the elements of your training come together as you expand your aeronautical horizons, first with your flight instructor, then by yourself as you close in on the solo cross-country experience requirement of the pilot certificate you’re pursuing.
You’re excited that you’re nearing your objective but perhaps you’re apprehensive and maybe even fearful of getting lost—but the knowledge you’ve developed since the start of your training should help to alleviate any concerns.
Cross Country FAQs
Are there any flight planning computer programs that I can use that will help me plan my flight? How do I use VFR traffic advisories?
Interactive Courses and Quizzes
Increase and test your knowledge with additional learning aids such as lost procedures, weather decision making, crosswind takeoffs and landings, how to make a pilot report (pirep), temporary flight restrictions (TFR), when to call for a flight assist and how to work with controllers to get yourself out of harm’s way.
Enhance your flying skills with articles and publications on advanced flight operations including emergency instrument flying, night flying, fuel starvation, and airframe icing.
Increase your understanding with illustrated briefs available online including automated weather reporting systems and how to interpret the data, how to ask for air traffic control’s assistance during emergency or urgency situations, weather strategies and making go/no-go decisions, weather tactics where you’ll learn what controllers can and cannot do to help pilots avoid hazardous weather, a printable cloud chart with color photographs that you can take with you for in-flight reference, and the pilot report (PIREP) checklist.
A number of key topics are available including understanding the atmosphere and its influence on your flight, keeping up with airspace issues and restrictions, and the increased importance of weight and balance as you begin to fly cross-country.
You’re nearly finished training for your pilot certificate. You’re next training objective is the FAA’s practical test—often called the flight test, even though it actually consists of two parts: an oral examination and the flight test itself.
When you arrive for your scheduled appointment with a designated pilot examiner, regulations require that you present your logbook documenting all required flight training including three hours of flight training in preparation for the test. In addition to the airborne review of your skills, make sure your mind is sharp when it comes to all the information you have learned about flying. The resources in this section are a great place to start.
Flight Test Prep FAQs
What should I do if I disagree with my examiner during the checkride? There may be some weather moving in during my checkride. Should I start my checkride or wait until another day? Once my instructor signs me off, how long do I have to take the checkride?
Interactive Courses and Quizzes
One way pilots can fly more safely is to make better decisions. The Decision-making quiz helps you learn more about the aeronautical decision-making process. Are you current to fly at night and are you familiar with airport lighting? The Airport Lighting quiz tests your knowledge.
Enhance your flying skills with articles and publications differentiating between precautionary landings, forced landings, and ditching; electrical malfunctions and what to do; how to react quickly and correctly to an aircraft fire and prevention strategies; and responding to a vacuum system failure.