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Learning to fly in New York City

Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:46 pm

Hi aviation experts,

I am looking to finally stop dreaming and pursue my goal of learning to fly. I live in New York City in Manhattan. How do New York future pilots approach this task? Can someone recommend a great school and/or private instructor? Ideally it would be in LGA airport, so it's accessible by public transit (I came across some mentions in the past that there are some flight schools).

Appreciate any hints!
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Learning to fly in New York City

Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:31 pm

Best way to do this is move away from New York. Why? Because New York is far too busy and the little capacity there is is far too expensive.

Forget about La Guardia, it's a commercial airport running at the top of it's capacity. No room for flight schools there, everything is used up for airliner traffic. Closest would probably be Teterboro, but even there I doubt it.

However, certainly for your first lessons you need an empty airspace to fly in, or at least as good as empty. New York airspace is among the busiest in the world. For this reason I would say, go to some place far away from New York, some place on the countryside where nothing ever happens. Not only do you have plenty of room there to practice, it's also much cheaper there than in expensive New York.
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2001 8:42 pm

Re: Learning to fly in New York City

Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:37 am

It's certainly possible to learn to fly while living in the city. You will have to be able to travel to the airport however, if you'll depend on public transit it could be quite a hassle and will limit your options.

Consult the AOPA website (or better yet, join AOPA):

Closest fields to Manhattan with flight schools would be Repubilc (FRG) and Westchester (HPN). On the New Jersey side you're probably looking at Lincoln Park (N07), Caldwell (CDW), or Morristown (MMU). All of these except Lincoln Park are controlled fields with flight schools likely aiming at the career-oriented student. Consult with them depending on what your transportation options will be. Forget any of the busier airports such as EWR, JFK, LGA, or TEB as they do not have flight schools.

Being that you post this in the hobby section, I'm guessing you want to learn to fly for your own pleasure. If you have access to a car, I would suggest you check out some fields further away from the city, such as Aeroflex-Andover (12N), Somerset (SMQ), Solberg (N51), Central Jersey (47N), Princeton (39N), or Blairstown (1N7). At Aeroflex you can train on older aircraft with conventional landing gear, which would be a much more rewarding experience.

In terms of airspace congestion, training in the NY area is no trouble, as long as you avoid the busier controlled fields such as HPN, MMU, FRG, and CDW. Their flight schools are likely to be pricier, and you might waste some time on the ground waiting to be sequenced with the traffic, but on the other hand it'll be good exposure to ATC operations. If you can swing it, I'd suggest going to an uncontrolled field for training however.

Hope this provides some guidance. Certainly check the AOPA website for additional information and guidance.

Good luck!

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