You think you might like to learn to fly? Get started as soon as possible! I’m sure you have a lot questions though. I’ve covered some common questions.
I usually meet with potential students prior to the start of training to get to know them and their goals, discuss the process of learning to fly, answer questions they may have, and dispel a few myths; here’s an outline for the discussion. If you are not a US citizen, there is a TSA process before you may begin flight training; if you are a US citizen, you’ll need to bring appropriate ID to your first lesson. I also request that students buy a few items prior to their first lesson.
- Complete TSA process (non-US citizen) OR bring passport to first lesson (US citizen)
- Print out, review, and bring to first lesson the checklist (I normally print it double-sided so it’s a single sheet of paper)
- Buy and bring to first lesson a small spiral notebook and pen
- Schedule an airplane for 3 to 4 hour block of time (typical lessons later will be shorter 2 – 2.5 hours)
- Bring cash, check, Venmo, or Zelle to pay for instructional fees and logbook
- Program 3 telephone numbers into your cell phone (included on the checklist):
Billion Air (Fuel vendor)
- Ensure you can log into ScheduleMaster from your phone (for preflight checks of maintenance and squawks and entry of postflight data)
- Bookmark a few links on your phone:
- Download a few PDF documents
Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Airplane Flying Handbook
Private Pilot Airman Certification Standards (make sure to get the right one)
- Order a couple of paper charts
VFR Terminal Area Chart (TAC) – Los Angeles
VFR Sectional Chart – Los Angeles
- Install an app for aviation charts and information on your phone and/or tablet
FltPlan Go – free and available for both iOS and Android
You’ll need to configure to download the Los Angeles TAC, Los Angeles Section, SW af/d
For my first lesson, I meet students in the terminal building of the San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte. After the first lesson, we’ll meet at the airplane.
Learn what you’ll do in your first few lessons in Phase 1