The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Rusty Pilots Program, the free seminar that has helped thousands of lapsed pilots get back in the air, is now available for free online to AOPA members.
Rusty Pilots Online is an interactive refresher program giving you the information you need to get ready to return to flying as pilot in command, according to AOPA officials.
Covering the major elements of a flight review, the course will bring you back up to speed on radio communications, weather briefings, and preflight planning, while highlighting what’s changed – from medical certification and regulations to airspace and more – since you last flew.
The debut of Rusty Pilots Online gives pilots who have been unable to attend a Rusty Pilots Seminar in person the opportunity to join the more than 23,600 pilots who have participated in more than 700 seminars, and join the ranks of more than 5,800 pilots who have gone on to fly with an instructor, take a flight review, and resume flying as PIC, AOPA officials note.
“We are very excited to be able to share this new online course with pilots who are unable to attend our seminars in person,” said AOPA Vice President of Aviation Program Operations Elizabeth Tennyson. “The response to the Rusty Pilots seminars that have been held at local airports and major aviation events since the program was launched in 2014 has been tremendous. We are confident that making it available online will help many more pilots get back to active flying and make general aviation stronger for everyone.”
In addition to presenting the big picture of the aviation system today, the Rusty Pilots Online course takes a hands-on approach, guiding you through a review of all the major steps in a cross-country flight scenario, from preflight planning to landing at the destination, AOPA officials explain.
Videos help you get reacquainted with real-world radio communications and provide a 3-D review of airspace. Quizzes you can correct and review as you progress through the course help you focus on the topics that will be most helpful, officials note.
After taking the course you will receive a completion certificate and can be credited for your work in the FAA Proficiency Wings program. You will also be eligible to participate in the AOPA Accident Forgiveness insurance program.
Best of all, you will be ready to schedule some proficiency flying with a certificated flight instructor at your local airport and, when you are ready, take a flight review. There’s no FAA checkride required for your return to flying, according to AOPA officials.
Like many pilots who attended Rusty Pilots seminars in person, you may find that you are a lot closer to regaining PIC status than you expected. That was the experience of Ted Malone, a 300-hour pilot who had been away from flying for 17 years until he let the Rusty Pilots program help him get back out there.
“Well, the fact of the matter is you already did all the hard work going through the student program and all of that, and honestly, even though you might feel there’s been a lot of change and everything else, you’ll be so surprised how quickly everything comes back,” he said in a recent AOPA interview.
Malone’s return to flying made him number 5,000 on the list of pilots who have resumed flying after completing the Rusty Pilots program. AOPA officials add that several hundred more pilots have done so since he finished up.