introduction to Start Flying learn to fly fixed wing aircraft learn to fly helicopters or autogyros learn to fly ultralights and microlights learn to fly gliders learn to fly hangliders learn to fly paragliders and paramotors learn to fly balloons


  how helicopters work
  about flying helicopters
  how to fly a helicopter
  first time flying experience
  how to read an air map
  basic aircraft navigation
  about airfields
  licensing requirements
  where to fly a helicopter
   helicopter FAQs

  the history of autogyros
  how autogyros work
  how to fly an autogyro
  first time flying experience
  autogyro courses
  autogyro glossary


Generally flight training takes placed at licensed airfields where emergency crews are available on standby.

Ultralight Fields

A very large backyard will suffice for most ultralights, which can take off and land in as little as 100 feet. Like the original aerodromes of old, these fields are often very open, with no predefined runway. Pilots just start their takeoff run from the far edge of the field that most faces into that day's prevailing wind.

Grass Strips

If you own enough land, and if your local and state officials don't mind, you can build an airport using a simple grass, dirt, or gravel strip. The best of these will look like groomed golf course fairways. The worst will hardly be recognizable as anything more than a wide rocky path.

Public or private, the soft touchdown virtually guaranteed by grass will impress your passengers, while taking you back to a simpler time in the history of flight.

Single Runway

Most airports feature only a single runway. That's fine, until the wind blows hard from a direction across the runway. That's because airplanes have limitations as to how much crosswind in which they can safely take off or land. With just a single runway, if the crosswind is too strong, no one can take off or land safely.

When making long trips, it's wise to pick an airport with a second crosswind runway just in case the field is experiencing very unusual winds on the day you arrive.

Multiple Runways

Many airports have two or more runways. There's typically one longer runway that faces into the historically prevailing wind, and a second so called crosswind runway that's used when the wind is blowing from an unusual direction.

It's not uncommon to find that the crosswind runway is grass, while only the main runway and taxiways are paved.

In other cases, the larger runway serves airline traffic, while the smaller runway serves general aviation (GA) operations.


Just like there are people who live along a golf course in a golf community, there are some people who live with their airplanes at a residential airpark. These are planned residential communities that feature an airport, streets wide enough to taxi an airplane, and garages large enough for airplanes.


Most airports have a ramp or apron, which is a place to park visiting aircraft or based aircraft. The individual parking spaces, which can be paved or grass, are called tiedowns, since aircraft are usually tied down between flights so that they don't move with a strong wind.


Airplanes use highly refined and high-quality fuels. Piston aircraft use 100-octane aviation gasoline. Turbine aircraft use Jet A fuel. These fuels are stored in tanks or trucks and are dispensed with pumps like those used by an automobile gas station. Some airports have installed self-serve pumps so that pilots can refuel their aircraft after hours.