Powered flight is only just over 100 years old, but it's come a long way in that time. If you're adventurous, enjoy a good view or just want a challenge, learning to fly could be just what you are looking for.

Aviation as we know it was born in 1903 at Kittyhawk Sands in the USA. The ‘Flyer’, designed by Bicycle-making brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, was the first heavier-than-air craft to fly under its own power, albeit briefly. Their 36-metre hop in an aircraft that was little more than sticks and bedsheets took only 12 seconds, but ultimately kickstarted an aerospace revolution, making their aeroplane the great-grandparent of every aircraft that you see and hear above you today.

Aviation continues to fascinate us, despite it being such a part of our everyday lives. The thrill of your first take-off is unlike anything else you will experience. When you are in control of the aircraft yourself, that feeling is amplified to the point of being literally breath taking.

And there are flying machines to suit every taste. Whether it is the adrenaline rush of high-energy aerobatics, the incredible views from a helicopter or the technical prowess of using air currents to soar serenely above the countryside without an engine. Aviation has something for anybody interested in developing a unique skill set. And those skills can be put to work.

A glider cockpit as it soars over the alps
Get terrific views and a visceral challenge in the cockpit of a glider.

The aviation industry is going to need more and more pilots in the coming years, but even flying purely for fun has the potential to enhance earth-bound careers. Flying teaches all manner of ‘soft skills’ such as communication and team work, that are vital in almost any job.

Many people who are introduced to aviation for fun soon decide that they want to stay involved in it professionally, but that doesn’t have to mean training as a pilot. Having flying experience leads people into all manner of careers. The thriving aerospace industry depends on people who are passionate about developing, designing, building and maintaining aircraft. The perspective that comes with knowing how they work from the inside is vital.

So, whether you’re just looking for something new in your spare time, a sport to master or a high-flying career, aviation has something to offer. If you’re unsure about what kind of flying might appeal to you, check out our guides. Once you’ve decided, book your first flight in a helicopter, a light aircraft or a glider at your local airfield.

Andy Torkington's Piper PA-28 aircraft takes off from Manchester Barton
Your first flight will likely be in something like this Piper PA-28.

Whatever you choose you will have to overcome challenges, but you’ll also find a community of people who are passionate about helping you achieve your goals, whatever they might be. And don’t forget to check back here at Get Into Flying. We produce content aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting the next generation of aviators, and we would love to hear how you get on. If you’re interested in sharing your adventures, we might even hire you to cover some exciting aviation events!

There are few people more enthusiastic about seeing new pilots get qualified than other pilots. We all remember our magical first flights, after all.

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