Can anyone recommend a free or cheap ground school course to get started with aviation? I want to learn the right way from the ground up before playing the sim. I want to learn things like the physics involved, making flight plans, VFR and IMC, and ATC communication. Thanks in advance!
Apart from buying some pilot training books like I did, youtube is your friend, there are many good videos on there. Pick a plane for training - the Cessna 152 or 172 is the most popular, do a YT search for “Cessna 152 beginners” etc and you will find them.
Simhangar, KipOnTheGround, FlightInsight and many others are all good. Once you see a few you will notice they all preach from the same book so all good to go. Then you can move on to specific topics like “G1000…” and so on.
Its great fun
As an example only, online ground school here (Pilot Institute) is quoted currently at $249 US. I have no relationship with this organization so it’s just a random example. Another random example is “King School” here quoting $279. I have no idea if these courses are any good.
Here is a playlist for my Learn To Fly Here series. There are only 13 videos, but it’s a work in progress. Straight and Level | Climbs | Turns | Descent | Standard Rate Turns - YouTube
There are also videos on my channel dealing with ATC communications, but they are mostly for IFR.
You can also get several free publications with basics from the FAA website here - https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation
The Airplane Flying Handbook and The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge are the ones to start out with.
Thanks for the suggestions! Very excited to start learning.