Goals for the Ambitious Aviation Enthusiast

It's a new year, and once again time to review your aviation goals. Become a better AvGeek this year with these 11 hobby ideas.

Get That Private Pilot License You've Always Wanted

High angle view of an aircraft in flight, Cessna 310F
SuperStock / Getty Images

You know you’ve always wanted to fly. Money has always been an object, but even if you had the money, you wouldn’t have the time, right? If this sounds familiar, make this the year that you find the time, money and energy to start – or finish – your private pilot training. If you’re strapped for cash, the sport pilot rating will save you some money while fulfilling the passion. 

Take a Ground School Course

Students in a classroom
Purestock / Getty Images

These days, you can do a ground school from the comfort of your own home. You know all that time you spend on social media? Spend a few minutes of that time on an online ground school course, and you’ll be finished in no time. Even if you never finish a private pilot license, you’ll be wiser!  

Give in to the Romance of Plane Spotting

Silhouette of people watching flying plane
SaBBiR Photography / Moment / Getty Images

Plane spotting is more than just looking at airplanes. It’s about experiencing the beauty of flight while watching the sunset over the runway, or grabbing a bite to eat with friends while you share a common interest and absorb random aviation knowledge from each other. 

Into Photography? Find Something Different or Unique to Shoot

Airplane On Airport Runway Against Clear Blue Sky
Jaromir Chalabala / EyeEm / Getty Images

Are you tired of taking pictures of the same old airplanes? Me neither, but if you’re in a rut, or if you always go to the same airport to take photos, make an effort to get out of your comfort zone. Try a new airport, or grab a new lens for the camera. Or go completely wild and switch gears from shooting airliners to something else, like historic aircraft. Doing something new and different will keep things fresh. 

Go Flying!

Ultralight leaving the beach, Mexico
Richard Goerg / Getty Images

If you’re bored with regular old flight training, find something different to fly! Look for a local floatplane or glider operation or catch a flight in an ultralight. You’ll enjoy it, and maybe it’ll inspire you to finish that pilot’s license after all. 

Join a Local Aero Club or Aviation Group

World War One Dawn Patrol, Wright-Patterson AFB
Wade Eakle / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

If flying is beyond your budget, keep the interest alive and make new friends by joining the local flight club or aviation group. Whether it’s a plane spotting group, a local EAA Chapter, an R/C airplane club, or the local airport advisory board, it’s a good time to get involved!  

Volunteer With an Aviation Charity or Museum

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC, United States, USA
Elan Fleisher / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

There are many benefits to volunteering. You’ll feel useful, meet new people with shared interests, and you’ll learn something along the way.  It’s a win-win situation. Check the local museums, aero clubs, and general aviation airports. Even if you end up filing papers, maybe you’ll have a view of airplanes out your window. 

Take a Class

Female helicopter mechanic examining wiring with flashlight
Hero Images / Getty Images

Take classes toward a new FAA rating or certificate, like a dispatcher’s license, or start working toward maintenance certificate, just for fun. If you’re not that ambitious, find a one-time aviation-related class on a new topic like drones or aviation safety. You'll enjoy learning something new, and you'll meet new AvGeek friends along the way.  

Buy a Telescope and Point It at the Sky

Telescope pointed at the Milky Way Galaxy
roman makhmutov / Getty Images

Who said a new hobby had to be airplane-related? Buy a telescope and learn something about astronomy in your backyard this year. As a bonus, your space friends will want to hang out at your place. 

Make It a Point to Attend at Least One or Two Aviation Events or Air Shows

Classic planes in flight at Oshkosh air show.
Andy Manis / Getty Images 

Go to Sun ‘N Fun or Oshkosh. You won't regret it. 

Pick a New Vacation Destination and Fly There With the Family

Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado
Lightvision, LLC / Getty Images

If you’re going on vacation at least once this year, pick a new destination that you can fly to easily.