Last week, we shared five reasons why now is a great time to become a pilot. If you’re still on the fence about learning to fly, consider taking a discovery flight!
A discovery flight is an opportunity to taste the freedom and fun of flying without any commitment to continue training. The goal is to give you an idea of what’s to come if you decide to pursue flight lessons.
Here’s an overview of what to expect and how to make the most of your discovery flight:
Your discovery flight will typically begin with a pre-flight briefing. The instructor will explain the plan for the flight, review the weather, and tell you about the aircraft. Then, you and your instructor will complete a safety walk around the airplane, giving you a chance to get a closer look at the aircraft and ask any questions you may have.
Now it’s time for the best part: flying! Before takeoff, the instructor will run through the checklist and startup procedures. You’ll notice that the airplane has two sets of controls. Once you’re at a safe altitude, the instructor will let you take the controls and guide you through most of the flying! You’ll get a sense for controlling the airplane at straight and level flight and learn how to turn, climb, and descend. If you’re comfortable with it, the instructor may even demonstrate more advanced maneuvers like a steep turn or stall during the lesson. Have fun!
After landing, taxiing, and shutting down the airplane, the instructor will talk to you about the experience and how you did. Now’s your chance to ask plenty of questions about flying and get a feel for the instructor’s teaching style and personality.
Congratulations, you just completed your first flight lesson! What’s next? If you’re interested in continuing your lessons, contact the flight school to review costs and understand the training timeline. You’re on your way to becoming a pilot!
If you’re not ready to commit yet, consider taking a second or third discovery flight with another instructor or airplane. Even if you decide that flying is not for you, a discovery flight will likely be a fun, memorable experience. Give it a try!
Most flight schools will offer hour-long discovery flights at discounted prices compared to normal lessons. To find a flight school near you, use AOPA’s flight school finder.