First, figure out what kind of plane and what type of flying you want to do.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website, the available options are airplanes, gyroplanes, helicopters, gliders, balloons, or airships.

This choice may strongly depend on your interests and budget as flight school can be REALLY expensive!!!

Getting your pilot licenseSecondly, learn as much as you can about the parts of that type of plane. Again, this varies by aircraft, but for average planes, the crucial parts to know before enrolling in classes would be:

  • Fuselage (the main body of a plane)
  • Cockpit (pilot steers plane, usually the interior front of fuselage)
  • Powerplant (engines)
  • Undercarriage (landing gear)
  • Wings
  • Slats
  • Flaps
  • Ailerons (moving flaps on the edges of wings to increase or decrease lift)
  • Tail–horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, elevator (helps horizontal stabilizer), rudder (important for turns)

Airplane engineAirplane Engines

You may also want to know names of common engine models, such as the PT6A, considered “the world’s most popular engine.” As with any machine, it’s important to know model types so that if a repair or other alteration needs to be done, it happens as quickly and effectively as possible. Manufacturers recommend overhauling a specific engine after a certain amount of time (TBO or time between overhaul) in order for it to run safely. For instance, many places offer a PT6A overhaul, which is actually basic maintenance for the engine regardless of its quality.

Of course, there are a couple test parts for receiving a pilot’s license. There’s a written test and a practical test consisting of oral questions and during actual flight.

  • Ground section: flight theory and regulations to know
  • Dual flight training: you and instructor
  • Solo training: by yourself

Obtaining Your License

You probably want to give yourself a season’s worth of time (3 months), at the least, to complete your training. The thing is, flying is a skill and you want to give yourself enough time to pick it up and practice so that you feel comfortable. Taking 2-3 lessons a week for about an hour a piece will get you the practice you need without overwhelming you with new information.

FlyingFlying an airplane

Once you obtain your license, you can simply fly private planes, or go on with your training to fly for commercial airlines. With a private pilot’s license (PPL), you can fly most kinds of aircraft and can travel throughout the United States. Other countries have regulations which differ from those here, so you would have to make sure you’re qualified for international trips. Also, you must not get paid for flying these trips unless you already have your commercial pilot’s license.

So, if you have dreamed of becoming a Wright brother, or just simply flying your own plane, remember that it’s possible to make this a reality! Imagine soaring over the Rocky Mountains or landing amongst the coastal beauty of Savannah, Georgia. Some dedication, time, and money are required, but becoming a pilot seems to be more accessible than ever. Now get out there and spread your wings!