By Joel Brumley email@example.com
As seen in the Summer 2022 issue of Park Pilot.
Are you learning to fly and seeking resources to help you improve, or are you not yet learning but ready to start? This could be a good time to develop an action plan!
Because I don’t know you well, I first have a question. What type of learner are you? Do you learn best from a teacher? If so, you can skip down to the section titled, “Learners with Mentors.” For those who embrace solitude, keep reading.
If you’re still with me, I guess you’re in the category of individuals who learn best on their own. Congratulations for being self-motivated to get things done. I am happy to inform you that you are in luck—there is a new resource coming soon from the AMA to assist you in your solo learning endeavor.
The Introductory Pilot Program (amaflightschool.org/intropilot) is built specifically for people such as you. The latest,optional resource for this program is currently in the beta testing phase through the AMA Education department and is close to being rolled out with the help of some of the most experienced model airplane pilots in the country (learn-opigno.modelaircraft.org). This ground school will be accessible from your computer and get you on your way to becoming a more competent pilot.
The ground school will provide you with a better chance of finding success than going for it completely alone. You will do this exactly the way you want, without interference from another human.
You might go through a few model airplanes in the process, but look on the bright side: You’ll get to see how the aircraft is put together after its quick disassembly! You might also learn about all of the repair work that goes into getting an airframe safely back into the sky. Using a simulator can pay for itself swiftly because pressing a reset button is less expensive than purchasing replacement parts.
Learners With Mentors, Action Plan Two: Okay, friends, I want to let you know that those who stopped reading and like spending time alone are good people. Logging on and learning alone is perfectly fine. Between you and I, however, I strongly recommend learning alongside a pilot who can monitor and support your progress better than an online lesson (or perhaps as a complement to an online lesson). Having someone to assist is a great pairing with the online program.
I am sure there are many prospective pilots who like to do things on their own and are not excited about sharing their mistakes with anyone, especially with talented and incredibly experienced pilots. Believe it or not, the current crop of great pilots needs you as much as you need them.
Even if you are an introvert or feel that you would embarrass yourself, I want to encourage you to think differently. I know this could be a risky situation, but the risk is worth it.
You will likely bring a lot of your own talent and skills to the partnership. You could find that your knowledge accumulation (on topics other than flying) overwhelms your flying mentor’s every expectation. Although you might get paired with someone who is teaching you how to fly, there could be great things that you will teach him or her. Are you ready?
If so, here is the next part of the action plan: Where do you do this? There are flying fields across the US. You could pack up the car and take a ride through all 50 states until you come upon one, but I recommend that you save on fuel costs and utilize the free Club/Flying Site Search feature on the AMA website (modelaircraft.org/club-finder). This will show you where flying fields are located. You can find flying sites by typing in your city and state and choosing from a range of 5 to 200 miles from that location.
Your new mentor will likely say things such as, “I’m going to a flying field in another town to meet a good friend. You two have a lot in common, so I think you should go with me.” You hit it off with your new acquaintance, and one day he or she offers to give you some free equipment that you did not even realize that you needed.
The next thing you know, you are having dreams about flying with your new friends. You’re eating up the articles in Park Pilot, and you can’t wait until the next issue is out. Then one day it hits you: You are a great pilot with new friends, and you’re saying, “I should have done this a long time ago,” and, “Wow, I’m going to become an Introductory Pilot Program instructor and help the next new pilot!”
Of course, this could be just a fantasy. People cannot be this incredible to work with in the model flying community, can they?
If you are worried about having all of these good things happen to you, remember that you always have the option to select Action Plan One.
Good luck and have fun.