Pros and Cons of learning to fly at a big airport.

Pros and Cons of learning to fly at a big airport.

Choosing where to learn how to fly largely depends on the type of flying you plan on doing.  I consider a big airport as a class Charlie airport with a control tower.

Small Un-controlled Airport – Non-Towered

Porter County Regional Airport

If you only plan on flying locally or on short cross country flights, you will probably be better off learning to fly at a smaller airport with no control tower.   At a small nontowered airport, you can taxi and take-off at your own discretion and traffic is typical light.  A smaller airport will save you some money.  If you learn to fly out of a small airport, you will probably avoid flying into larger controlled airports because you will probably lack the confidence to dealing with ATC.

Big, Busy Controlled Airport – Towered Airport

Chicago Midway International Airport

If your goal is to become a commercial pilot, fly on long cross country flights or fly for business, you’re probably better of learning to fly at a  bigger airport with a control tower.  Here are a few pros and cons for learning how to fly out of a big airport:


  • You’ll be more comfortable flying into busy controlled airspace.
  • Your radio communication skill will be superb. 
  • You’ll know airport procedures inside and out.
  • Your knowledge with airport signs and markings will be better.
  • Typically ATC will provide separation from other aircraft if the workload permits.


  • Typically training is a little more expensive at a larger airport.
  • You need to get permission from ATC before you can taxi/takeoff/land.
  • Your ground time will be a little longer if there is a lot of traffic ahead of you.

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