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New member
Apr 30, 2002
I am just starting to look at studying for a Private Pilot's Liicense. I have combed many threads in this forum and have found tons of valuable information, much I don't even have a clue about, but hopefully will lean. My question is, are there any good study at home programs to start with. One of the reasons for this route is expense but more importantly is I am hoping to interest my 16 year-old son. And if it is something we can do together, so much the better. While I don't mean to rehash any info already posted, any insight into what lays ahead and what avenues are available to get there would be beyond value. Thanks.
Go to the airport

A good way to begin might be to go with your son to your local airport. Look for a Fixed Base Operator that offers flight training. Talk to an instructor(s) about taking an intro flight, and generally what kind of training program can be set up for the both of you. A Private Pilot program can be completed on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The John and Martha King videotapes are a way to study Private Pilot ground school at home. You can also purchase a home study course from Jeppesen-Sanderson. ASA and Gleim publish books that have the actual written exams and answers and sources of the answers. It might be better, though, if the both of you went to class because you'll learn the material better and acquire more in-depth knowledge. There may be local community colleges or night schools that offer a Private Pilot ground school. Maybe this is something your son can take at a vo-tech for credit toward high school graduation.

A final point worth mentioning is a person has to be extremely motivated to learn how to fly. Young people pick up flying very quickly, but it's futile to begin if one's heart is not in it.

Good luck with your plans.
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Even if you're not ready to start flight training, there are some fun things you can do. Spend some time at your local GA airport with your son. Meet some pilots around an FBO and make some friends. Most pilots jump at the chance to talk flying, and eventually some opportunities for rides will come up. Or buy your son a lesson or two and see what he thinks. Many FBO's offer discovery flights for about 50 bucks.

As for home study - there are lots of good books out there. I'm a book person myself and don't particularly like the videos - but of course that's just me. Jeppeson's Private Pilot Flight Manual is a favorite of mine. If you have a PC - pick up a copy of FS2002 or X-plane. It's no substitute for the real thing, but it'll teach you a lot of the basics, and is a good start with navigation.

Have fun! Hopefully some of your enthusiasm will rub off on your son, and he'll catch the bug too. :D

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