Transitioning to Other Airplanes

Are you (or other members of your flying club) contemplating or perhaps ready to experience the thrill of transitioning to another airplane or new avionics? The Air Safety Institute shares your excitement, and wants to help make that switch safe and fun. A first of its kind, the institute's NEW Transitioning to Other Airplanes course offers straightforward, important advice about what to expect when making the jump from a familiar airplane or avionics setup to something new.

Whether you are transitioning to a new airplane, one you haven’t flown for a long while, or new avionics, this course is for you. This is an important safety topic for your entire flying club, and all pilots. While transitioning to a different airplane is a rewarding achievement, statistics show that one of the most vulnerable times for pilots is during the first 10 hours of flight in a new, unfamiliar airplane. Encourage your club members to take the free course. It’s online at and is optimized for iPad use, although it can also be taken on a desktop computer.

The course, made possible with the support of private and public partners, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and AOPA, explains both the obvious and subtle nuances that can trap pilots of any level. The course includes several instructive accident case studies involving pilots who transitioned to different aircraft. The course also offers pilots the option of selecting any of the five tracks aimed at the type of transition they are planning, and it recommends ways to find a qualified flight instructor to support a safe transition. The five tracks to choose from are:

  • Transitioning Up (into an aircraft that is higher performance and more complex than what the pilot is used to flying)
  • Transitioning Down (into a lighter and lower-powered aircraft)
  • Transitioning Sideways (into a similar aircraft, even different models of the same aircraft can have vast differences)
  • Transitioning to Experimental Amateur-Built (this section includes information about flight testing and the importance of finding a CFI with make-and-model experience, if possible)
  • Transitioning to New Avionics (with an emphasis on transitioning to technologically advanced aircraft)

As you can see, there’s something in the course for every pilot and nearly every type of transition. Make “transitioning” the topic of your next flying club safety meeting!

Safe pilots are always learning, and the Air Safety Institute’s goal is to ensure pilots have a wealth of information to keep flying safely. Our educational programs are funded through donations from pilots dedicated to forwarding that mission. Show your support by donating to the AOPA Foundation today (

Topics: Avionics, Aviation Organizations, General Aviation Manufacturers Association

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