Episode 65. Why learning to fly can be lonely, with Patrick Chovanec

Patrick ChovanecAfter a lifetime of riding on airplanes, economist Patrick Chovanec decided to learn how to fly them. In this episode, he explains how a combination of Covid-19 and Microsoft Flight Simulator started him on a path to earning his Private Pilot certificate, and what he learned along the way. He explains how flight training can be lonely, why modern flight simulators are much more than a game now, and why airplanes are so expensive. In the Ready to Copy segment, Patrick shares the biggest myth in flight training, his preferred flight sim equipment, underrated countries to visit, and his favorite economics joke.


  • General aviation for outsiders: “A lot of people don’t realize how accessible it can be... a lot of people like me just assume it’s out of reach.”
  • Flight training emotions: “Learning to fly can be lonely, because a lot of the people around you don’t really understand what you’re going through.”
  • Sim pilots as student pilots: “There are a lot of people flying flight sims and sitting there wondering whether they could do it for real.”
  • Using home sims for training: “A lot of assumptions people had maybe 5, 10 years ago just aren’t true anymore. I found it immensely helpful.”
  • Aviation in China: “The whole freedom of the skies thing… that’s not how they look at their skies.”
  • Learning to fly while living in New York: “If you’re in an urban area, I would say going somewhere to learn to fly is an option you should seriously consider.”

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