Resources for Student Pilots

Learning to fly will teach you new skills and expand your knowledge. As you embark on this journey, these online resources can give you a look at what to expect and tips for mastering each new challenge.

Getting started

Just starting your flight training journey? AOPA and Flight Training magazine are here to help. Find out about the important milestones in flight training and access free, online resources that can help you earn your pilot certificate.

Pre- and post-flight procedures

A successful flight starts before you even start the engine. Learn how to conduct a thorough preflight inspection and get tips on safe operations on the ground, from taxiing to parking and securing the aircraft after your flight.


Maneuvers such as turns around a point and slow flight help you perfect your control of the aircraft. Get advice on mastering ground reference maneuvers and understanding the aerodynamics behind it all.

Takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds

Mastering takeoffs and landings requires attention to detail and a respect for the limitations of airplane and pilot. Access resources to help you set yourself up for the perfect touchdown, even in a crosswind—and learn when to reject a landing and go around.

Flight planning and preflight preparation

Preparing for a flight includes a variety of tasks, from assessing the weather to understanding your aircraft’s systems. Learn about airspace, flight planning, aircraft limitations, human factors, and more.

Cross-country flights: Navigation and airport operations

As you explore the world outside your home field, you’ll be exposed to new landscapes and unfamiliar airports. Prepare for your cross-country flights with a brush-up on navigation and operations at both nontowered and towered airports.

Basic instrument maneuvers and night flying

During private pilot training, your instructor will guide you through three hours of flying solely by reference to instruments without looking outside and three hours of night flying. Get tips on maneuvering when you can’t rely on the outside horizon, and learn special considerations for flying at night.

Emergency operations

As the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.” Your training will equip you to handle emergencies in the air from an engine failure to an electrical malfunction. Get tips for handling the situation and keeping your cool.