The aviation industry is one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding careers out there. But it isn’t for everyone—it takes a special kind of person to succeed as a pilot. The bad news is that if you aren’t passionate about flying from day one, you probably won’t make it through the long process of becoming a certificated pilot. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to discover whether this career path is right for you before committing your time or money to becoming a pilot.
Take a Discovery Lesson.
Taking a discovery lesson is an important step in the process of becoming a pilot. These lessons are usually free and can be offered by flight schools to anyone interested in learning how to fly. As the name suggests, they provide an opportunity to learn more about what it’s like to be a pilot without committing yourself or spending any money at all.
One of the best ways to see if flying is right for you is by taking a discovery lesson. This allows you to see what flying is like without having any prior knowledge or experience with it, which will help you decide whether or not this is something that really interests you. You’ll also get firsthand experience with mechanics such as planes and helicopters, so when it comes time for formal training (or even if you don’t continue), this will help make up your mind about whether or not flying seems like something worth pursuing in more depth.
Pick an Airplane and Flight School.
You need to do three things before getting a pilot’s license: find an airplane, find a flight school, and pick an instructor. The best way to start is by thinking about what type of plane you’re interested in flying and then finding the closest place to them. After that, choose the instructors who work there and ensure they have experience teaching students like you.
Get the Paperwork in Order.
The first step in meeting commercial pilot requirements is ensuring you have the proper paperwork. You’ll need to get a medical certificate, which will allow you to fly under certain conditions. You’ll also need an airman’s certificate and a student pilot logbook. The airman’s certificate will come from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), but the student pilot logbook can be purchased online or at any airport where there are flight instructors.
Once you’ve got those things squared away, move on to getting your recreational license and becoming a private pilot.
Start Studying for the Written Exam.
The first thing you want to do is start studying for the written exam. This will prepare you for your practical checkride, an oral test that also tests your knowledge of aviation rules and regulations. You should read the FAA’s Pilot Handbook, which provides a good overview of what being a pilot entails. Then, look at the Airplane Flying Handbook, Instrument Flying Handbook, and Aerodynamics Handbook for more information about those topics.
The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is always a good resource because it contains important safety information that pilots need to know to fly safely and legally. Finally, read through the Flight Instructor Handbook so that you can see how others have gone about teaching others about flying!
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Pilots are not born; they are made. This is because piloting an aircraft requires a lot of practice and dedication. If you want to become a pilot, you will need to practice for many hours daily.
There are many different ways that pilots can practice:
- In a flight simulator (or simulator)
- In an airplane with an instructor or by yourself
Becoming a pilot is a long and challenging process, but the payoff is worth it. If you stick with it, you’ll be able to take off into the wild blue yonder, knowing that you’ve done everything in your power to make yourself into a safe and capable aviator. You might need some help along the way—and that’s okay!—but don’t give up. The world needs more pilots so we can fly around safely at all hours of the day or night!