Pre-Solo Special Topics

Your medical

This document is also your student pilot certificate. You'll need to obtain one before you can solo. Only a few medical conditions are absolutely disqualifying, but others can require some additional steps (and patience) before you are certified. Researching this information — and a visit to AOPA's interactive TurboMedical online tool below — will help you to avoid any surprises during your exam by an aviation medical examiner (AME).

Pilot's Guide to Medical Certification


AME Search

Application for Airman Medical Certificate FAA Form 8500-8 (PDF)

Your aviation vocabulary

Learn the meanings of the most common aeronautical terms and when you should use them in radio communications with air traffic control (ATC).

New Pilot's Guide to ATC Communication

Definitions, abbreviations, and table of V-speeds

Glossary and phonetic alphabet chart (PDF)

Avionics and instruments

All those dials and gauges arrayed on the panel in front of you convey important information on your flight — where you are, where you're going, and the condition of your airplane. Focus on a few at a time and you'll soon understand all of their indications.

Basic instrument panel

Understanding gyroscopic instruments



You've no doubt heard of stalls. But in flying, stalls have nothing to do with an aircraft's engine. Here, stall refers to a loss of lift over the wings. You will learn how to recognize imminent stalls, so that you can prevent them from occurring, and how to recover from them.

Stalls FAQs