Ever since I was 10, I've always wanted to pilot an airplane by myself. I don't want to do it for the money I really just want live that "dream of flight" but where I grew up in a society that doesn't favor "dreams" or even flight. I really want to know, isn't there a place I could go and just fly without having to pay anything. To be honest, the fees at flight schools are really outrageous and discouraging. I want to know if there is a place in this world that I can just live that dream. By the way, sitting in passenger plane crowded with a bunch of people for several hours doesn't count at all. Please I hope that someone can help me.

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    $\begingroup$ May I ask how old you are? In Germany it's possible to learn gliding at the age of 14. That could be a first step. Sometimes the education is free for teenagers. Well, not totally free. You have to compensate with doing things on the ground, like operating the winch or something. I don't know the situation in other countries. $\endgroup$
    – PerlDuck
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ There are programs like this eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-education-and-resources/… that give free introductory rides to young people, but really there isn't a place where you can learn to fly for free. (Other than enlisting in the military and being accepted into pilot training, but I wouldn't call that 'free'.) Airplanes cost money, as does fuel and the instructor's time. Those flight school fees may seem outrageous when you're the one paying them, but AFAIK most schools are not making big profits. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Very little is free, especially time in expensive aircraft. I don't think this is on topic but if it's deemed to be on topic it's impossible to answer without information on your age/location. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ In the US, join an EAA chapter, go to meetings. Make friends with a pilot (or three) and mention to one that you've always wanted to go but can't afford it. One of them will probably offer to go up with you. Depending on your age, you can also join the Young Eagles which does free flights for youth. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:58

2 Answers 2


If you join the military, dedicate years of your life to service, work hard, show skill and talent, and are lucky enough to be selected, they will train you to be a pilot and fly for free. You will even earn a modest salary at it.

In the USA, the Army has more pilots than any other branch. The Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard all have flight programs as well.

  • $\begingroup$ It is better for obvious reasons to get your pilot's license before joining the military for lots of reasons but I guess this could technically work. $\endgroup$
    – William
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, but a PPL will generally cost a minimum of $8K. The criteria in the question was "isn't there a place I could go and just fly without having to pay anything." $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ @William: Is it actually an advantage to have a PPL before enlisting, assuming you want to go for pilot training? I'd always understood that the (US - the only one I know much about) military preferred to do its own training. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf your seniority is determined by the number of flight hours I'm pretty sure. That is how it worked when my grandfather served. If you start flying at 13 you are sure to have more flight hours better ranking maybe I would assume so. $\endgroup$
    – William
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 13:34

I wouldn't say there is anywhere specific you can go that allows this. For what its worth no one is going to throw you the keys to their plane and let you take it for a spin. Not only is that pretty much illegal in most places, but its outright dangerous for you and everyone beneath you. There are however a few things you can do.

Most flight schools in the USA (and presumably elsewhere although I cant speak for anything outside the US) offer "Introduction Flights" to just about anyone who shows up. Depending on where you go these cost about $100 USD these days and you will get anywhere from 30-60 minutes of time in the pilots seat. They often will let you do just about everything from takeoff to right before landing. Keep in mind their will be an instructor in the right seat giving you directions.

The internet is full of airplane owners and reaching out on some forums may yield you a flight in your local area (depending on where you live). This can often be had for the price of buying the pilot lunch, or if your lucky for free.

Here in the US the Civil Air Patrol has a youth program. I see the kids at my local field go up every once in a while and as far as I know its free.

It may help if you edit the question to identify your location.


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