Study Resources:

(Click on the titles to read more)

Cessna 172N/P Systems Description 

FAA Practical Checkride Test Guide

FAA Written Exam* (work in progress)

My Flight Experiences:

Here is a collection of photos and descriptions from my time flying the lovely Cessna 172 around SoCal.

Trusty 95D on the ramp on a cold December morning. This plane always had some sort of issue, but today she flies well and with a lot of power. I’ve had a radio communication failure on my first out-of-patter solo in this bird, which adds to the fact that something is always broken, but she still flies great!
The cockpit of 95D. Old school gauges for this old school aircraft. Long Beach Flying Club has an all steam gauge fleet which is great to learn how to fly. Even an IFR rating in these airplanes is important as it keeps pilots sticking to the basics.
Took 2WC on a cross country from Long Beach (KLGB) to French Valley (F70) and back. This shot was taken near the Paradise VOR (near Riverside). We tracked the inbound with SoCal (flight following) and proceeded on an outbound until we established a visual with FUL airport. From there it was visual into Long Beach.
Playing around in the practice area with 95D practicing maneuvers before my checkride. Notice all the INOP stickers! Below is the harbor and the break water line.
Taking off with a few landings in the pattern before heading off to Camarillo. I backseated this cross country and really got to experience the joy of flying. When at the controls, so much is going on that it is difficult to appreciate the scene out the window. Sunsets are best observed from the sky! 
Final light of day as we stay in the pattern of 25R at Long Beach. This another shot from the night cross-country I was backseating. We will practice a few landings at the home airport before heading out to become accustomed to the environment of night flying and to verify all the systems. Luckily, we caught an alternator failure and battery discharge during this landing, and were able to switch the aircraft out before departing to Camarillo. 
Over some light marine layer clouds as we start a night cross country to Camarillo Airport (KCMA) from Long Beach (KLGB). I was at the controls for this flight and we were just about ready to pass over LAX while tracking the SMO VOR. 
Crossing over Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Under the LA Special Flight Rules, general aviation aircraft are able to cross directly over Los Angeles International Airport. There are a set of procedures to follow and frequencies to be on which make the pass a bit complicated, but the views and efficiency of the route make it a vital component to flying in Southern California. 
Descending into Santa Barbara! For my long cross country flight, I chose SBA from Long Beach. I flew the aircraft over LAX, over Thousand Oaks, and up the coastline to SBA. The views from up here are mesmerizing and in the few minutes I had to enjoy the view, I took it all in. Being up in the sky is a luxury that we take for granted every time we travel. Seeing these views, alone in the cockpit, is what makes aviation so special to me. This was one of my favorite flights of all time!
Departing on 594 over the Pacific! I was headed back to Long Beach from Santa Barbara and was given a straight out departure over the ocean. I will never forget this flight.
On another cross country flight, I flew up to Apple Valley (near Victorville). This photo was taken 8,500 feet over Rancho Cucamonga headed back. Below is San Bernardino valley and some low clouds.
95D. The plane that got me “serious” into flying!