Spread Your Wings, Prepare to Fly: A Guide for Future Pilots

We all have that one dream or ambition that we hope to fulfill in our lifetime. As kids, we role-played, daydreamed, and fantasized about it — getting lost in a world in the future that we don’t really know how we will get to. But, as they say, it all begins with a dream.

And then one day, we’re there: we are at that age and position to decide who we want to be. And if by good chance we have the support of family and loved ones, even better. This goes beyond Atreyu riding the dragon Falcor in “The Never Ending Story.”

In this narrative, you are the pilot. You fly the aircraft. For your country. For passengers. For yourself. Doesn’t matter. The exciting fact is that IT. IS. POSSIBLE.

So where do we begin? For starters, let’s not make this piece too heavy and go right into the serious stuff of where to enroll for your aviation course. We will get there.

But let’s treat this piece like we would a flight: let’s take off, fly, make it through turbulence, and land. Are you ready? Fasten your seatbelts!

The Take Off

Learning to fly could be a scary, thrilling, or exciting thought, depending on how you see it. It can be a calling you are not sure about and so you take more time to discern. It could be feeding your goal of living your life like one big adventure. It could be a call to serve and go over and above — literally — yourself and your world.

1. Enrich your aviation knowledge

You can do this by watching videos on YouTube or joining aviation communities online. Ask questions, listen, and network. You may just find a mentor who will guide through your flight towards becoming a pilot.

2. Read up on airplane basics

Google “airplane basics” and you see a trove of resources to read and watch. This is something you will probably need to study repeatedly until you have mastered it, so approach it with a passion as hot as a jet engine.

3. Always start with a blank slate

Be an eager learner who is forever curious and wanting to get better. Doesn’t matter if you read books like “Pilot for Dummies” or “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Flying and Gliding.” Go at it full throttle and digest all information you can get.

The Flight

Okay, so we’ve done our part in getting familiar with aviation for beginners. We have read the books, watched instructional videos, and consumed every possible resource that would give us basic flight knowledge. The theoretical part is done. Now let’s take flight and actually sign up.

1. Attend aviation events

Aviation seminars and forums are great avenues for you to interact with fellow enthusiasts, students, schools, and instructors. It’s the first step to getting yourself familiar with the new world you are about to get into.

2. Enroll in that aviation course you’ve been eyeing

If you are not sure what kind of pilot you eventually want to become, it’s good to start somewhere then steer the course from there. A course that would teach aviation knowledge for beginners and aircraft basic knowledge would be helpful.

3. Allow yourself breathing space

Aviation will present its challenges. So make sure you prepare yourself for them but, if mistakes or mishaps happen, learn from them. You are taking beginner flight lessons. No one expects you to be perfect or know everything all at once.

The Turbulence

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty,” said Theodore Roosevelt, and this quote has evolved into so many forms to fit different situations because it is true. It is not easy to earn your stripes. You gotta work it, work for it, and work even when others aren’t.

1. Practice, practice, practice

As an aviation student, there will be many ways for you to practice flying even when you’re on the ground. Expect that there will always be new things to learn. This life is like a never-ending aircraft roll (but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun).

2. Remember why you started

At times when you feel like you’ve hit a wall, rest, talk to a mentor, but don’t quit. Keep in mind the reasons why you signed up for this: it could be for a new career or a better quality of life or to serve during calamity. Remember your “why.”

3. Believe and you are halfway there

Quoting R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” (Did you sing it? Did you?) may seem cliche but the lyrics are really inspiring: “I think about it every night and day, spread my wings and fly away. I believe I can soar…” Keep yourself inspired.

The Landing

This piece was meant to be a light and friendly read for those who love aviation and who dream of becoming a pilot, whether for fun or as a career. As AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) puts it: “Dig deeper, fly higher.”

You have embarked on a never-ending journey.

There are 4 forces that keep an airplane in the sky: lift, weight, thrust, and drag.

Lift yourself up and go for your dream. Don’t let the weight of your worries pull you back. Thrust and keep moving forward.

If anything should ever drag you down, soar above it.