How to Learn to Fly

Whether you want to fly an airplane, helicopter, fly for fun, or to become an airline pilot, you need to know the basics that every flyer has to know. Don't be like the 80% of student pilots that drop out and never finish flight training. Follow these steps to make sure you get your wings.


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    Know what the basics are. Before learning to fly, you should know things like:
    • Different types of pilot certificates[1]
    • Different types of medical requirements and certificates
    • Different types of flight schools and flight instructors
    • Costs of taking flight lessons and earning your certificate
  2. Image titled Learn to Fly Step 2
    Get a medial certificate[2] In the US, you can get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Class medicals.[3] To keep things simple, just remember this:
    • If you ever want to get paid to fly, get a 1st Class medical.
    • If you don't qualify for a 1st Class, get a 2nd class, but you will be limited to the type of pilot jobs.
    • If you're not interested in getting paid to fly and just want to fly for fun, get a 3rd Class medical.
  3. Image titled Learn to Fly Step 3
    Choose a flight school and flight instructor[4]
    • It's extremely important to choose the right flight school and flight instructor for you. There are several types of flight schools out there and they're divided into two major groups: Part 61 and Part 141.
    • Although they might operate slightly differently, you still get the same exact pilot certificates from both types of schools. The major difference is the pace of the flight training that you will get. For the most part, part 61 schools are "go-at-your-own-pace" type of flight schools. Although this might sound nice, you should be careful that your flight training doesn't "drag out" costing you thousands of extra dollars.
    • Part 141 schools, on the other hand are more structured and aimed to student pilots who want to get their certificates done as fast as possible. This might sound intimidating, but in the end, you are still the customer and can choose to go at the pace that you need. Finishing flight training in a timely manner will also save you thousands of dollars and months, or even years of frustration.
    • For the best flight training experience, make sure you choose a compatible certified flight instructor (CFI).[5] You will be spending a lot of time sitting right next to this person, so you want to make sure that you two are a good match. When talking to potential flight instructors, ask about their teaching styles and whether they use a syllabus. If they don't use a syllabus, find another instructor, as this is a big red flag. Also, make sure they don't talk down to you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way.
  4. Image titled Learn to Fly Step 4
    Take responsibility for your own flight training
    • Once you've settled on the flight school and instructor, make sure you schedule your lessons frequently and spend at least a couple hours a day studying and reviewing your flight training material. You have to prepare for a written exam, an oral exam, learn how to plan cross country flights, etc. Don't be lazy and ask a lot of questions.


  • Don't let more than 2-3 days go by without a flight lesson. This frequency will optimize your learning ability and get you done quickly
  • Make sure you use a syllabus, this helps keep you on track and will make a transition from one flight instructor to another seamless
  • Be careful when flight schools quote you anything below $8,000 for a private pilot certificates. There are usually plenty of hidden fees they won't tell you about. [6]


  • Make sure you have at least $6,000-$8,000 to start with, otherwise, you'll run out of money in the middle of your flight training and it will take even more money to start back up again and finish
  • Make sure you know if you qualify for an FAA medical before applying for one. If you apply and are denied a medical, you'll probably never get to fly. However, if you know you don't qualify, you might still be able to obtain a Sport Pilot License [7]

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Categories: Aviation