How to Fly an Airplane

Learning how to fly a plane involves one-on-one lessons with a flight instructor. There are numerous flight schools available. Where you choose to learn to fly can be dependent on many factors, a primary one being location. If you live in a rural or country setting, you may find that taking lessons is possible only at the local country airport. In a larger urban area, you may fly in the company of larger planes and more traffic, akin to driving a car in a busy, urban area or city.

Gaining the experience of dealing with busy traffic and a tower that is dealing with oncoming traffic, can be a good experience for you in developing your skills to deal with multiple, and varied environments. If you are able to fly in a larger setting, flying in a rural area is easier and enjoyable for you as new terrain versus if you begin flying in a small, rural area and then have to land at a busy airport, and you feel overwhelmed by the rapid nature of events. At the same time, each area has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Flying in a larger airport, you have to continuously deal with oncoming traffic and you spend a lot of time ‘taxing’ or going up and down the runaway and to and from the parking area. All of this time accrues and adds to your flight time instruction so you may end up paying quite a bit simply by moving your plane at the airport.

On the other hand, at a small airport, you generally only have one runaway which does not offer much or any protection from crosswinds,which can be very powerful and sway the plane.At larger airports, there are multiple runaways that are designed to maximize coordination and alignment between planes and winds.In general, however, it is much easier, and your learning experience is more fruitful, if you do your flight lessons in the country. You can focus then on your learning and mastering your flying skills. You can still learn how to use radios and communicate with air traffic. Also, as part of the FAA regulations, you will still have to be able to land and take off at an air strip with a traffic control tower.

There are numerous flight schools available for instruction, of which some are listed in the Resource section. In general, flight instruction can be at a large ‘approved’ school or a not approved school. The large approved schools were generally begun to support the large influx of pilots necessary for military operations and for airlines. The not approved schools mainly catered to the private pilots who wanted to fly for recreational and small business purposes. All the schools have to go through the same certifications and the same rules. The smaller not approved schools generally have smaller budgets and teach at small airports with fewer students and have flight instructors that really earn quite minimally ($20 an hour after the flight school fees are assessed.

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