Your dream can come true in less time and for less money than you think. You don't need eagle eyes, lightning reflexes or nerves of steel. You can learn to fly. Here's how to do it:
The day you decide to do something about learning to fly is pretty much like any other at the flight school at the local airport. Brian and Dave, taking a well-earned break from washing airplanes, are sitting in the lounge teasing Tammi, who's trying to get some work done at the desk. You push open the door but then hesitate to enter. This is a big moment for you. You've meant to find out about becoming a pilot for years and it's today that you've screwed up your courage and, although you're obviously apprehensive, you're finally ready to pursue your dream. It's not like any other day after all.
As you stand uncomfortably just inside the door, Dan, the instructor man, wearing a pleasant smile, walks over to you. "Hi. Can I help you?"
"I...umm...wanted to find out about learning to fly," you ask, feeling painfully self-conscious.
"You've come to the right place," Dan reassures you. "Let's get a cup of coffee and sit down and go over what's involved." The step from standing outside the airport fence and watching airplanes take off and land to walking into the flight school to ask about lessons may seem a small one, but for a pilot wannabe it's a giant leap. Not unlike Neil Armstrong's step off the LEM's ladder, learning to fly is venturing into an unknown world with its own mysteries and secrets.
Pilots are often accused of being members of a too-tight-knit fraternity and of making it difficult for outsiders to join the ranks. But the mysteries and secrets are more easily solved than first appears, and at less cost than is popularly believed. If God hadn't meant for people to fly he wouldn't have given us manufacturers to build airplanes.
Nevertheless, the process of learning to fly does involve a number of choices, decisions and questions that can be perplexing. In spite of the potential of making flying more accessible and tarnishing its macho image, we'll try to remove some of those mysteries and provide answers to the most commonly-asked questions.