I am a teenager(mid teen) who wants to learn how to fly and recently discovered this website. I currently want to learn to fly just for my own pleasure. I don't exactly know what I want to do as a career but I am very interested in math and physics. I live in the Los Angeles area. How do I start my ambition? Plus, what would be the cost of learning how to fly?(airplane rent, fuel, instructor, etc.)
First, take a “Discovery Flight” at a nearby flight school or flying club to determine if it’s something you enjoy as much as you think you will. Aim for morning or evening to avoid the bumpy air in the afternoons, especially in the summer.
Assuming that goes well, get your 3rd class medical certificate. This may take a few minutes or a few years, depending on your medical history. You don’t want to burn any further money on flight training until you have this in hand.
Next, figure out how you’re going to pay for flight training. Budget $10-15k just to get your Private Pilot certificate. There are a few scholarships out there, especially if you’re in a minority group, but it’s unlikely they’ll cover the entire cost or even most of it. Larger flight schools will have loan partners, but you’ll likely need to get your parents to co-sign, and they’re intended for people who plan on an airline career—and the full cost of the training for that is staggering. This is something you’ll want your parents’ help with figuring out.
Last is actually picking a place to train and signing up. Flight schools generally charge more per hour than flying clubs, but you’ll fly more often and thus need fewer hours to get your license, so the total cost is not as much more as it may appear at first glance.