When it comes to learning how to fly, you’ll be investing a lot of time, effort and money into the process. That’s why it’s so important to get as much as you possibly can out of it. To help you out, Inflight Pilot Training has a few key insights you can apply to your education. So, let’s get started – here are 20 tips to get the most out of each flight lesson.
1) Try to Maximize Lessons Per Week
It’s ideal to do two or three lessons per week in order to maximize your education. Fewer than that, and you’re more susceptible to forgetting important aspects of your training. Going once a week or a few times a month isn’t best for building muscle memory or retaining information, slowing down the process.
2) Prepare for Each Lesson in Advance
After each lesson, your certified flight instructor (CFI) will assign you homework (and if not, make sure to inquire about which materials to review). For each lesson, review the appropriate materials in advance, taking notes on any subject matter you don’t understand. To prepare for flight lessons, review each maneuver listed in the lesson, and do some “armchair” flying where you run through maneuvers step-by-step, with a checklist in-hand, before you hop in the cockpit.
3) Become Part of the Flying Community
A great way to get more out of your flight education is to integrate yourself into local flying communities. Put effort into getting to know other instructors besides your own, attend seminars or forums when they come to town, and network with your fellow students. Other students can offer valuable advice on how they progressed through challenging lessons and tasks during their training. We have a facebook page called the “Inflight Community” where you can network with our students, pilots, and instructors to get a head start.
4) Develop Good Habits Early
The earlier you develop good habits, the better. For example, always do a thorough pre-flight check before take-off – this lets you avoid problems once you’ve started the engine and keeps your lesson plan on track.
5) Don’t Forego the Simulator
While it may not provide the same, exhilarating experience, the value of a simulator is often underrated. It’s more affordable, efficient and safer than flying an actual airplane, allowing you to comfortably practice flying without leaving the ground. In simulated flight, you can also learn more – the instructor can pause the program or adjust flight conditions as he pleases to provide valuable real-time feedback that can’t be done in the air.
6) Start with an Organized Cockpit
Before taking off, get your cockpit in order – organize your sectionals, kneeboard, navigation charts, iPad, flight plans and any other essential items. This makes everything more accessible, letting you learn without hindering the process.
7) Keep Distractions to a Minimum
It’s crucial to keep minimize distraction while you’re going through your flight lessons, particularly during ground lessons. For example, if your training program is at a busy hangar, ask your CFI if there is another area nearby where lessons could be conducted. Most flight instruction companies have designated quiet areas, which tend to be better for one-on-one learning environments.
8) Support Your In-Person Training with Online Courses
There are several online courses, both free and paid, you can participate in to support your in-person training. For example, the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA) has an educational resource hub, located here, that provides supplemental learning materials to the aspiring pilot.
9) Show Up Even When Weather is Bad
Even if there’s a thunderstorm rolling through on your scheduled flight day, there’s likely still work you can do on the ground to help you get closer to certification. For example, you could do simulated flights, coursework or take practice FAA exams.
10) Maintain a Consistent Lesson Schedule
While it may be best to complete two to three lessons per week, everyone learns at their own pace. No matter how many lessons you complete per week, it’s best to set up a consistent lesson schedule. Rather than completing a few lessons here and there, you’re more likely to retain information and reinforce skills better with consistency.
11) Memorize the Requirements of Your Specific Certificate
Whether you’re trying to obtain a private pilot license, an airline transport pilot certificate or anything in between, it will come with its own set of eligibility and training requirements. From age limits to medical requirements to minimum flight hours, memorize these requirements so you know exactly what goals you need to achieve to become certified.
12) Rest Up Before Each Lesson
A tired pilot is a dangerous one – it’s important to show up to every lesson well rested and alert. Otherwise, you won’t be in top condition to conquer the physical and mental challenges of flying.
13) Go Deep into the Post-Flight Briefing
The post-flight briefing is one of the most crucial parts of any lesson. During this briefing, you’ll go over what you did well during the flight along with things that still need work, helping you to fine-tune your skills. Always record the flight times in your logbook, document the flight details in your notes and talk about review materials for the next lesson.
14) Take the FAA Written Exam as Early as Possible
You can technically take your FAA written exam before you even start flight training. This test provides a base of knowledge that you’ll need to learn how to fly and makes training easier. To find out more about the FAA exam, visit this section on their website.
15) Visit an Air Traffic Control Facility
You can learn a lot about flying by visiting an air traffic control facility. This will give you a much wider perspective on the airspace system as a whole. Since you’ll be that operating in that airspace, it will be an eye-opening experience for you as an aspiring pilot.
16) Set Realistic Expectations
You could be the most ambitions pilot-in-training at your school, but don’t expect to be a professional right away. Becoming a pilot takes time, and flying a plane comes with a learning curve, but with the proper planning and strong commitment, you can meet your goals in a reasonable timeframe.
17) Write Out Your Goals
Everyone struggles at some point in the flight training process, whether it’s crosswind landings, radio work or developing flight plans. Writing your goals out and posting them up on a bedroom or office wall, for example, will help you stay focused on what matters.
18) Make Sure You’re Not Lacking Time or Funds
Having enough funds to learn how to fly can help you become a pilot quicker. While you can take lessons as you save, If you want to train efficiently and get your license or rating faster and cheaper, make sure you have the time and money before you start.
19) Trust Your Instructor; Follow Directions
While Maverick may be a famous character in Top Gun, being a maverick behind the control wheel in real life won’t help you learn how to fly properly. Your instructor is the one with the experience and training to help you learn in the best way possible – trust in his lesson plan and always follow his directions so he can provide the best value to you as a student.
20) Have Fun!
Perhaps the most important thing you can do during your flight lessons is to have fun. After all, you’re well on your way of reaching your goal of becoming a pilot!
Looking for a good flight instructor?
Get in touch with our team of CFIs at Inflight Pilot Training today!
Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help those who’ve dreamed of flying realize their potential of becoming a pilot. We can help you make your dream of taking flight come true – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.