Making Flying Your Hobby

 By: Jill Smi
Learning to fly isn't as complicated as you think and anyone with the will and resources can learn how. If you're interested in flying as a hobby, then be prepared for a lot of excitement and learning opportunities. Here's how to do it successfully:

Getting airborne Before you can turn an interest in flying into a hobby, you'll have to learn first. There are two ways you can get your pilot's license: attend class at a school approved by the FAA or use a home study course. If you like, you can even combine them both.

Next, find out what the minimum age requirements are for the type of license you need. A student pilot permit, for example, will require you to be at least 14 years old, while a pilot permit requires you to be at least 17 if you plan to fly a gyroplane and at least 16 if you're flying a recreational or ultralight aircraft.

Be prepared to spend. Flying isn't cheap. You'll need to pay for flying lessons and aircraft rentals if you don't have your own airplane. If you do have your own plane, there are maintenance and repair expenses to consider.

Keep learning. The hours you spend honing your flying skills are designed to keep your senses sharp. The more hours you put in, the better pilot you'll become. But don't just stop there. Keep yourself informed of the latest news. Go online, read, join forums and learn everything you can. You can even join clubs such as the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association), EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and Women in Aviation.

If there are seminars or conventions that you feel can expand your knowledge in flying, it might be worth your time to attend. Seminars offer valuable topics on flying that you can learn. Talk to people with a similar hobby and if there's a pro in the field who's willing to share his expertise with you, take advantage of the opportunity.

'There are no old bold pilots.' Being a foolhardy pilot is just for movie special effects. In fact, it's the stuff of bad, sad aviation lessons, the kind you tell any aspiring youngster as a precautionary tale. No matter how good you think you are, it is still wise to follow rules not just for your sake but also for the sake of your passengers and those on the ground.
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