Flying websites can be overwhelming. Aviation itself requires an incredible amount of information, compounded by the need for up-to-the-minute weather and navigation. Many flying websites are overrun with streams of this info, added pilot jargon, and splattered with photos and ads that make it impossible for the average person to comprehend. For someone looking for basic information on aviation, or to learn how to fly, the more simple and easy to understand flying website is like a diamond in the rough.
For the aviation curious, student pilot websites may be a better term to search for. These rookie sites seem to understand the world of non-pilots, and are better suited to put things in layman's terms. Student pilots themselves are learning too … and they have much the same questions as the person who has not yet set foot in the cockpit of a flight trainer. Give a good hard look at these student flying clubs, and see what they have to offer.
The better flying websites on the internet will offer aviation articles. Articles about flying are the best way to learn what to expect during flight training, whether you're a newly licensed pilot going for an instrument rating or a veteran reading up on the experiences of others. Look for a website listing a whole section dedicated to just aviation articles, and one that keeps those articles constantly updated with fresh content. That way when you return to the website after having been away for a while there will always be something new to catch up on.
Flying websites need to cater to pilots too, which is why the best ones will contain flight planning information and tools necessary to get in the air safely. Some websites even offer online pilot's tools, such as a working E6B flight emulator. These on-page flight calculators are invaluable for the student and pilot pilot, helping with all manner of wind, speed, and temperature calculations. A good flying website will not only have these tools, but will also offer links to weather and navigation information from the National Weather Service and AirNav airport directory. There are even sites online that allow pilots to view free sectional charts, and save their pilot's logs in an electronic format.
Avoid cluttered, overwhelming flying websites. If the index page throws 50 different things at you, it's probably best to turn away. You're looking for a human element here, a website run by people who fly and not by programmers assigned the task of streaming flight information across the screen in moving banners and blinking graphics. A good flying website has all that information and more … but arranges it in such a manner that you do not get buried by it all at once.
In the end, you've got near unlimited choices when it comes to finding your online FBO (Fixed Base of Operations). Make sure you choose a flying website with structure – a site by pilots for pilots. If it feels like home, it will be home – much like your real FBO will be should you choose to adopt one. Fly safe, surf well, and above all have fun!