Despite its crowded airspace, the area around Los Angeles has several places to launch small aircraft, such as Long Beach, Hawthorne, Santa Monica, and Van Nuys. Many of these schools offer classes for the casual aviator seeking a trial flight, and for the more serious pilot who wants to get a licence.

The A&E Flying Club, for instance, is a non-profit club based out of Hawthorne Airport where members co-own the club’s four Cessna aircraft. Members with the appropriate qualifications can take them up in the sky by scheduling their flights on the website (

Hollywood Aviators (, based out of Van Nuys Airport, offers trained pilots the chance to rent a single-engine or multi-engine aircraft, while also offering lessons for first-time flyers. For those not quite ready to take the controls, you can take an aerial tour of Los Angeles with an instructor.

Los Angeles Helicopters (, based out of Long Beach, offers aerial tours of Los Angeles in a helicopter. It also provides training to aspiring helicopter pilots and the opportunity to man the controls of a helicopter.

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