P. Edronkin

Where can I learn to fly?

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It is indeed evident that you need an instructor in order to learn to fly, and there are three different kinds of schools that have them: military institutions, commercial flight schools and flying clubs.

Each one of them has its advantages, but also presents some problems, and it is necessary to ponder them before investing large sums of money in order to become a pilot.

Military schools are very tempting because once you get in costs are really low and generally, armed forces sport very interesting aircraft. However, you should take into account that becoming a soldier (or officer, properly speaking), is tantamount to chosing a career and a way of life. You will be in for years to come.

Briefly, entering the military is only advisable if you want to be both an aviator and a military person; otherwise, you will get frustrated sonner or later, in a similar way to what would happen if you get a job that you dislike completely.

Commercial flight schools offer a great variety of courses; you can learn with them everything and get all types of ratings, from ULM to ATP. However, these schools have two big disadvantages: they are very expensive and you can only have a hint of social life within the industry, a very important factor in the case of thse careers.

As any company or corporation, any commercial flight school has to be profitable; military schools and flying clubs are really not-for-profit operations with different sets of goals. Armed forces invest money in order to train officers, and flying schools exist in order to promote aeronautical activities.

In opinion of this author, flying clubs are the best choice to learn to fly at least the basics, no matter what kind of aircraft you would like to fly or what kind of career you would like to have.

And this is because despite the fact that generally speaking, flying clubs have lesses aircraft and offer fewr courses, costs and fees tend to be significantly lower and alos act as doorways into the aeronautical community in a way unmatched by other kind of schools.

At a flying club you will get to know people of all sorts: they are much like golf clubs in this sense, and you will met high-ranking military officers, doctors, experienced pilots, those just interested in sporting activities, etc.

This means that within a flying club you will be exposed to a variety of opionions and will get a lot of advice on how to further develop your career. Military schools just offer one sort of career (get a new rano or promotion, much like other officers, and that's it), and commercial schools will generally try to sell, instead of just give pieces of advice.

Thus, by belonging to a flying club in the long run you will save yourself a lot of time and money, and even find some friends that may have a positive influence in your future career.

Besides, if you are interested in aeronautical activities as some sort of extreme sports, it is only within flying clubs where you will find a space for your enthusiasm.

A PA-11.
Clubs also own some interesting aircraft.

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