What is the best way to start for beginners learning to fly? I have a class set up and a instructor but not for another week or two. I just want to know if there is anything extra that I can start now, so it will become easier. I have started reading about the basics to get my mind going.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE! The most important part is to relax, have fun, and ask questions. Don't overthink your first flight. Also don't be afraid to find another instructor if you don't meet eye-to-eye, better to do it at the beginning than in the middle. Personally I took Sporty's ground school course and found it very helpful. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 16 '18 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of First actual flight lesson, what to keep in mind? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 16 '18 at 22:46

Usually the best way is to call your local flight school and ask to take a discovery flight. It’s a 30 minute or so flight in a Cessna 172 or similar aircraft and you’ll get a good introduction to flying, even some stick time in the airplane.

If you’re looking for material to read on the subject of learning to fly, I suggest getting copies of the pilots handbook of aeronautical knowledge, and the airplane flying handbook. Both are available for free as PDFs on the FAA’s website. They will be the fundamental textbooks for your private pilot training and most of the knowledge and practical information on flying that the FAA will test you on are going to come from these documents.

  • $\begingroup$ awesome!,will do, thanks! yeah i flew up in a piper sport the other day for my first time, also i got to move around the stick for a minuet in the air in Santa Monica, but thank you for your help. much appreciated! $\endgroup$ – Jessie Taylor Jan 16 '18 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ the flight simulators available now are pretty good, these are fun and will get you used to the cockpit environment. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Jan 16 '18 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ For getting used to the cockpit environment, just use your favorite search engine to pull out photos of the cockpit of the airplane model in question. A PC flight simulator at this stage might even be counterproductive. Remember that the instrument panel layout can vary significantly, not only between old-school instruments and glass cockpits. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 16 '18 at 22:52

There are two ways to approach this, much like learning a language.

One is to just jump in. Be like a sponge, soak up all around you and enjoy it as much as you can. Everything new is thrilling, and beginning to fly particularly so. This is like learning a language by moving to a different country and living there.

The other way is more … let's say cerebral. You will read a lot and learn things systematically. You will build up a theoretical base which makes - once you start flying - every experience more understandable and helps to confirm the theory. People who have learnt flying the first way will be stuck with oversimplifications and outright wrong explanations.

Which way to pick depends on your personality. Most people will go the first route and never look back. For me, it was always important to really understand what is happening. One of my flight instructors told me that I was his only pupil who discussed the phygoid motion during an aerotow. But seeing for real what I had only found in books before was deeply satisfying for me.

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    $\begingroup$ There's a third way: Study the theory (which in this case means textbooks and -- hopefully -- prod the others in the class, not least of which the instructor/teacher), and spice the theory throughout your classes with some actual flying. Being able to talk to your flight instructor and put the theory into practice while it's still fresh in your mind can be a great way to learn for some. Don't understand phugoid oscillations and how they feel? Ask the CFI to show you something like one, then take over control and try to settle the aircraft into level flight faster than it would on its own. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 17 '18 at 9:47

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