Video: learning to hover a helicopter

Learning to fly an airplane is intimidating for new pilots, but learning to hover a helicopter can seem like a truly impossible task. As this video shows, though, that's not the case at all. Once you understand the aerodynamics, it's just a matter of keeping everything balanced. Ride along on this first lesson to see what it's like to fly an Enstrom helicopter.

Video: flying to Catalina Island in a biplane

The "airport in the sky" is just 26 miles off the coast of Southern California, an easy trip in almost any airplane and yet seemingly a world away from everyday life. Landing at the 3000-foot long runway on top of a mountain requires some preparation and airspeed control, but the view is unforgettable. In this week's video, fly along with experienced pilot Marc Lee as he explains what it takes to fly to AVX, then flies the trip in his stunning Great Lakes biplane.

Video: landing in 400 foot visibility

When you think of precision flying you might think of aerobatics or bush flying, but instrument approaches require plenty of it too. In this short video, you'll ride along in the right seat of an Airbus A320 as it makes a Category IIIB approach into Amsterdam. That means the visibility is less than 1/4 mile, and the autopilot is flying it all the way to the runway.

Video: first flight in a Cirrus SR22

The Cirrus SR22 is the best-selling piston airplane in America, and this video shows why. The airplane is fun to fly, fast, and loaded with technology. Ride along as an experienced pilot gets his first left seat time in this amazing airplane, including some actual IFR time and some avionics programming time.

Video: checking out in a T-6

It's one of the most popular trainers of the World War II era, and it has a well-deserved reputation for being the "pilot maker." Join FlightChops as he checks out in the T-6. You'll see the demanding tailwheel airplane from the pilot's view, and see why a good T-6 pilot is always on his toes.

Video: flying the Cirrus Jet

The Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet is one of the most interesting airplanes to hit the market in years, and it's now fully certified. Ride along with Cirrus pilot Rob Haig in this video as he shows the single engine jet in action. You'll see the pre-flight, takeoff, cruise and some maneuvers, plus get a feel for the Garmin avionics. While flying some big jets is mostly work, this personal jet looks like nothing but fun.

Video: Pilatus landing at Courchevel

This is why you practice short field landings! The pilot loads up seven of his friends in a Pilatus, then takes off from his home airport's grass runway (yes, in a 10,000 lb. airplane) and flies to Courchevel, a scenic ski resort in the French Alps. There's a very convenient airport right on the side of the mountain, but it's less than 1,800 feet long and has a stunning 18.6% gradient.

Video: High Sierra Fly-in

It's part Burning Man and part Oshkosh and the result is a totally unique event. Every year a diverse mix of pilots and aviation enthusiasts gathers at a dry lakebed in western Nevada for the High Sierra Fly-in. Airplanes compete to see who can take off and land in the shortest distance, and fun flying is the only item on the menu.

Video: grass strip fly-in at Lee Bottom Flying Field

Flying isn't just about airplanes and technology; it's also about community and history. In this week's fun flying video, take a step back in time at Lee Bottom Flying Field, a grass strip on the banks of the Ohio River. Every fall, the privately-owned, public-use airport hosts a fly-in for the "extended family" of pilots, with an emphasis on vintage aircraft.

Video: landing on the dirt at Mineral Canyon, Utah

You've probably heard that general aviation can take you to thousands of places an airliner can't. That's very true, and it's not just limited to paved runways. In this week's fun flying video, you'll see the incredible Mineral Canyon airstrip in Utah. This patch of flat dirt sits next to a river at the bottom of a canyon, and the approach and departure paths are surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Flying is freedom? You bet.