last updated: 1/22/19

An introductory flight lesson, sometimes called an “intro ride” or “discovery flight,” allows someone with little or no experience to fly an airplane with a flight instructor.

A typical introductory flight lesson begins with ground instruction on the basics of aircraft control and includes a short flight (30 to 60 minutes). The student receives hands-on flight experience that can be logged as a real flight lesson.

The introductory flight lesson can help a potential flight student decide whether to pursue training. It is also an opportunity to decide whether the particular flight school, flight instructor, and aircraft are a good match. Think of it as an aviation test drive. Feel free to shop around by taking an introductory flight lesson at more than one flight school. Since there is normally no obligation to continue training, introductory flight lessons are also great for someone looking for a fun, exciting, one-time experience. Many schools offer gift certificates.

Introductory flight lessons are available to the public at most flight schools and through many independent flight instructors. They are sometimes available on a walk-in basis, but normally you should contact a flight school or flight instructor to make an appointment ahead of time.

Click the link below to visit AOPA’s Flight School Directory. Contact your local flight school to speak with an instructor and set up your discovery flight.


aerial view of first snow on Wisconsin farm landscape

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the Entry-Level Pilot Certificates?
  2. What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Pilot Certificate?
  3. What are the Medical Certification Requirements for Pilots?
  4. What is Ground Training Like?
  5. What is Flight Training Like?
  6. What Tests are Required to Become a Pilot?
  7. How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pilot?
  8. How Can I Find a Flight School or Flight Instructor?
  9. How Does a Pilot Stay Current and Proficient?
  10. What Additional Certificates and Ratings Can a Pilot Earn?
  11. How Do I Sign Up for an Introductory Flight Lesson?