Author Greg Brown has been on a mission over the past several years to attract more people into general aviation. First came his book, “The Savvy Flight Instructor,” to motivate and assist CFIs in their recruiting efforts, and then “Flying Carpet,” to entice new pilots and the general public with the romance and adventure of flying. The remaining need was to create a truly fun and visually exciting book to inform and sell prospective pilots on flying.
Finally we have that long-awaited title for readers who say, “I’m interested in learning about becoming a pilot. Where do I start?” With Laurel Lippert, Brown has coauthored “You Can Fly!” He said that what’s different about this book from other introductory texts about flying is, first, and most important, it’s full color from beginning to end and jam-packed with “good-enough-to-eat original color photographs” by longtime Ski Magazine photographer, Tom Lippert.
Second, the book concentrates on the joy and benefits of flying without all the dull “according to the FAA” verbiage found in other learn-to-fly books. To make it even more fun, the authors loaded the book with sidebars answering the questions that intrigue every aspiring pilot, like “How do you read an altimeter?” “What causes those annoying bumps?” and “How do pilots know where they are?” Each is explained in just a paragraph or two, complemented by simple and fun color illustrations.
Deciding to take flight training can be a confusing challenge for many prospective pilots. Brown and Lippert sort through the ground clutter, and provide the right questions and answers to what can be an overwhelming experience. Besides being colorful, this slim, 115-page book is remarkably user friendly.
It addresses the important issues of selecting the right flight instructor, as well as the right flight school. It discusses common issues that the novice has no clue about, such as what to expect during flight training, the airplanes and the “right age” for flight training. It explodes some of the myths about learning to fly such as costs (not as expensive as most people think), if you have to be a math wizard (the answer’s no), gender (yep, there are still people who question if women can fly) and if you have the “real stuff.”
The book also covers some of the nitty-gritty information such as requirements for a private pilot certificate and maintaining it, as well as physical exams. It points out the importance of making sure your flight school has “stage checks,” where at points throughout your training you’ll fly with another experienced instructor who will make sure your training is going well. Stage checks are like getting a second opinion, which can be helpful.
Lippert says she began flying late in life, at age 40.
“I find myself encouraging older folks to learn to fly,” she said. “When I see that little twinkle in their eyes, I get even more excited about selling the thrill of being a pilot.”
In the past year, she spoke at two Oshkosh forums.
“Both times I talked about learning to fly after 40,” she said. “I had 70 year olds in the audience, which gave me a thrill.”
Arlynn McMahan, of Aero-Tech Inc., based in Lexington, Ky., which includes a copy of the book with every Discovery Flight they give, says it’s great to finally see a book that promotes learning to fly as “safe, fun and easy.”
“It’s written for perspective student pilots,” she said. “It’s a quick read, with descriptions of getting started and the training process. And there are beautiful photos of exciting destinations!”
“You Can Fly,” at $19.95, is a small investment for the amount of vital information it contains. It’s an excellent addition to the plethora of books on the topic, and a must-have for anyone thinking of flight training. FBOs and flight school libraries would be wise to stock this book and recommend it to prospective students.
“You Can Fly” is available through your favorite bookstore, online catalog, or pilot shop, and through its publisher, Aviation Supplies and Academics, Inc., at [http://www.asa2fly.com/].