What Kind of People Become Pilots?

Can you learn to fly? The short answer is likely, yes. All kinds become pilots. Often, pilots in the movies are presented as larger-than-life, suave, gifted folks — usually male.

People from all walks of life learn to fly. What brings us all together is that sense of exploration, adventure, and wonder when we look up to the sky and know we must be there.

Is Flying Difficult?

Unless you know a pilot, being in command of a flying machine can seem out of reach, otherworldly. Much like Hollywood’s larger-than-life pilots, piloting an aircraft is not especially difficult. Even the FAA says so in the regulations for Normal Category airplanes.

Just like any skill, learning to fly requires a bit of learning and practice. In aviation there is a great deal of wisdom about how to best learn, and what habits need to be created in order to be safe, competent, and enjoy your new adventure in aviation.

The airplane must be controllable and maneuverable, without requiring exceptional piloting skill, alertness, or strength, within in the operating envelope[. . .]

Federal Aviation Regulations — §23.2135   Controllability
Photo Credit: MediaSolutions100 on YouTube

Pilot Math Skills?

Over the years, I’ve had several people say, “I could never do that, I’m not good at math.” “Isn’t there a lot of math?”

While engineers use advanced math to design new aircraft, and craft new wings with enhanced performance, advanced math is not something a pilot must contend with.

In reality, the math used in flight planning, en route navigation, and in other areas of piloting, is relatively basic.

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

Think of it this way. If you are driving along on the interstate, you are planning your lane changes, and tracking your progress to your next off-ramp, thinking about where to grab food. You’re busy. You really don’t have time or mental space to do advanced math. However, if you note the time at a mile marker, then drive for an hour noting the mile maker at that point, you could easily calculate your miles-per-hour speed. Additionally, if you note your odometer when filling your fuel tank, and then take down the gallons required to refill, you can easily calculate your fuel burn in miles per gallon. The math you’ll encounter as pilot in command won’t be much more advance than this.

Is It Safe?

In short, yes. While you are accepting some risk in going aloft, there are systematic ways to mitigate known issues and considerably enhance the safety of flight. In fact, risk management is a topic you’ll study both in your ground school and during flight training. You’ll learn to proactively implement best practices in your flying, greatly enhancing safety.

Beyond the Curriculum

What may not be readily apparent in the training material, is the intrapersonal benefits of learning to fly.

achievement confident free freedom
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com


Self-esteem is absolutely required to be pilot in command. This is not a prerequisite. If you show up with a lot of it, great. If not, it is incumbent upon your instructor to help you develop it. In my opinion, learning to fly offers a powerfully unique way to build self-confidence. Plus, if you have an extra helping of self-image, flying has a way of helping us find humility too.

Time and Opportunity

In our modern era, there exists myriad options for entertainment and distraction. Unfortunately, many of these things aren’t particularly fulfilling. The most rewarding things in life require time, attention, and commitment. Learning to fly is one of those things.

Learning to fly and using that skill engages all your senses, requires significant concentration, continual learning, offers a new community of friends, and much more. Being pilot in command is about leadership. While you have internal and external resources, you are the one who decides the best course of action after considering the options and context. It is you who assesses the safety of the flight and takes action to ensure an optimal outcome. In our modern world, this level of healthy intrapersonal practice is not easy to find. What’s more, you’ll likely find that your aviation experience makes you better in every other area of life.

Relationship With Your Health

While the health requirements for the private pilot aren’t particularly daunting, you will find a new motivation for assessing and managing your health, and life choices therein.

Greens, Sky Review Stock Photo

We Americans have a rather dysfunctional relationship with health. Our healthcare system is designed to treat problems after they have run amok, rather than striving for optimal health along the way. We are incredible at fixing people when they break. However, if you think about it for a moment, that isn’t how a pilot in command would want to do things. So, the need to maintain at least a third class medical, or BasicMed and keep your flying privileges, can be a great motivator for learning about diet, exercise, and other things to give you every advantage possible. Once again, the other parts of your like will be enhanced for having done so.

The Time Machine

Now, for the magical fun parts. The airplane, even a relatively slow one, is essentially a time machine. I’ve flown fairly slow airplanes from Texas to Wisconsin. I arrived there after just about a half day’s effort.

Mad fun right here. . . .

What’s more, you can do things with a three-day weekend, you’d never be able to accomplish with a car, and certainly not via the airlines. I’ve done that too— Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico. A wildly fulfilling 3-day weekend.

Additionally, you’ll find yourself making fuel stops in places you would otherwise never go. I have found some of these unremarkable places to be just the opposite. You’ll often meet interesting people who add character to your trip in an unexpected way. Getting a history lesson on the stretch of Route 66 in Tucumcari, NM from a guy who ran an auto repair shop there in the 1950s — priceless.


There you have it. Answers to a few frequently asked questions. Can you learn to fly? It is certainly more attainable than you may think. People from all walks of life learn to fly. If you would like to know more or are ready to get started with your flight training, I’m ready — let’s talk.

‘Click’ register below and then do the short orientation in the ‘Student Pilot’ course. Or, you can call us or fill out the contact form.

Learn to Fly in Tyler, Texas!

call: (430) 808–2610 . . .

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