I've been considering taking up flying as a hobby and have been looking into flight schools around me. One does offer an option of a discovery flight but upon contacting them they really didn't pass along to much information on what it consist of. Could someone here kind of give me an example of what a discovery flight might consist of and help me know what to expect. Thank you!


2 Answers 2


A typical discovery flight is about a 30 minute on the ground introduction to the airplane and the cockpit controls, followed by a sightseeing flight of 30-minutes to one-hour. The entire process typically lasts 1 to 2 hours.

During the flight, the instructor will have the controls for takeoff, navigation and landing, but may turn the controls over to the passenger for some gentle, easy maneuvers.

You can expect to ask numerous questions and have them answered, but you won't learn a whole lot about actual flying in a short session.

I would advise you to keep your questions to the flight training process, rather than specifics about flying that need more detailed explanations.

Some good questions may be:

How much ground school does it take to get a license?
How much flight time does it take to get a license?
What are some important milestones along the way to getting a license?
Will I have the same instructor throughout my training?
What supplies do I need for training? How much should I expect to spend?

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the reply definitely gives me some ideas on what to expect. $\endgroup$
    – Zissouu
    Nov 2, 2017 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for asking about the training process more than the flying $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Nov 2, 2017 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ You may also 'discover' that flying in small aircraft isn't for you. Flying in a small plane may terrify you or you may get air sick. Flying in small planes isn't for everyone. I started flight training with a friend. He would get airsick and gave up on learning to fly. Needless to say, sometimes flying in a small plane still scares me. $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2017 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @NKlosterman yes thats part of my interest in taking a discovery flight. I used to fly from time to time in my grandfathers plane but I was a lot younger. $\endgroup$
    – Zissouu
    Nov 2, 2017 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ But don't let initial discomfort discourage you. I got vertigo/airsick/disoriented on my discovery flight, but after another few hours of flight training, I was fine. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Nov 2, 2017 at 19:29

On my discovery flight the instructor asked me what I wanted to do. He said a lot of people take a sightseeing flight around the city. I opted to do some actual flying.

After a thorough pre-flight and a run-through of the controls and basic instruments (it was a C172, basic 6-pack steam gauges) we ran the checklists, taxied to the runway, did the run-up and were cleared by the tower. He took care of all the communications for the flight.

The instructor did the first takeoff and just had me hold my hands on the yoke to feel what he was doing. We flew to a nearby airport and did a touch-and-go. This time he let me do the takeoff myself while he kept his hands on the yoke.

He had me fly the pattern and do two more touch-and-go's. Each time he let me do a bit more on the landing. He would tell me when to add flaps, when to throttle up and down, and when to cut power to touch down. Then we flew back to the base airport and I did the landing myself. Of course, he had his hands on the yoke during the landing in case I tried to do something stupid.

It was a calm day and I was quite surprised how easy the plane was to handle. I was too high on one approach so he took the controls for a few seconds and did a forward slip to get me back in position.

The flight was for an hour of Hobbs time, of which I used about 50 min. The calm winds were a big factor. He wouldn't have been able to let me be so hands-on if there had been wind too deal with.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting, sounds like a really neat introduction to flying. $\endgroup$
    – Zissouu
    Nov 2, 2017 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, my first flight was more like this. After we went through the pre-flight and engine start checklists, my instructor basically told me, "Ok, now taxi to the runway and take off." (Of course, this was an uncontrolled field, not a towered one.) He did the comms for that flight, though. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Nov 3, 2017 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ @reirab It helped immensely that I had spent so much time on here. I had the majority of the "book" learning down. I already knew things like adding rudder to keep the ball centered, on approach use pitch for airspeed and power for vertical speed without having to be told. I only made one mistake that scared us both for a split second. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Nov 3, 2017 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW Yeah, I already knew most of the basic stuff before my first flight, too, which my instructor knew (I had known him for quite a while before the flight.) Otherwise, I'm sure he would have taken it much more slowly. He only touched the controls a few times during the hour (one of them being to demonstrate a stall.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Nov 3, 2017 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ @reirab I wanted to have the instructor demonstrate a stall for me and when I got up there I forgot to ask. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Nov 3, 2017 at 18:18

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