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Q3: I'd like to learn to fly. How do I do it, how much does it cost, how long does it take? A: Learning to fly a single-engine airplane is usually accomplished by visiting an FBO (see acronym list below) or two and selecting one for your instruction. Costs vary widely, not only by geographic area, but also because different individuals take different amounts of time to learn to fly. You should expect that learning to fly in the U.S. will cost you between US$3,000 and US$5,000, and it will take about 60-80 hours of flying of which about 20-30 hours will be solo (on your own) and the rest with an instructor, spread out over a period of 3-6 months. For further information, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (ask for the private pilot handout), and you can receive a helpful and comprehensive handout. [Note: sometimes, due to mail system problems, you may not get a copy of this handout when you ask for one -- if you ask and don't get a response within a week, or if you've asked before and didn't receive it, send me e-mail again, preferably containing some "alternate" e-mail addresses!] If your goal is to fly a glider or a helicopter, you need not start out by learning to fly a single-engine airplane. Learning to fly in a helicopter will cost about twice as much as learning to fly in an airplane. (In U.S. metropolitan areas, a typical trainer helicopter rents for about US$100/hour; a typical trainer-class airplane for US$30-50/hour.) Learning to fly in a glider will vary in cost from significantly less than the cost to learn in an airplane to about the same as learning to fly in an airplane. If you plan to learn to fly airplanes as well as gliders or helicopters, it is typically less expensive to do the airplane first and then the other aircraft type. If you're interested in flying gliders (soaring), in the U.S., contact the Soaring Society of America (SSA -- see below) for information on glider sites around the country.