What to Expect on Your First Day of Flight School. On the first day of flight school, you’ll probably be bursting with excitement—stepping out on the tarmac, hopping in the cockpit, feeling the rumble of the engine and soaring uninhibited through the sky—ready to accomplish what’s probably been a lifelong dream. While you’re well on your way to becoming a well-trained pilot, first steps can sometimes be the most difficult. But never fear, once you make the leap, you’ll be able to fly where you please. So, what should you expect on day one of flight school? Here’s what a typical first lesson will be like – let’s get started!
The syllabus may differ from school to school, but the first lesson usually focuses on a variety of things, including (but not limited to):
- Pre-flight procedures
- Starting the aircraft
- Climbs, turns, descents, straight and level
- Relation of pitch and power
- Post-flight procedures
The first thing you need to do is find the airfield, so have the flight school’s contact info and directions handy. Try to get to the airfield at least 15 minutes beforehand so you have time to get find the dispatch room, check in and get acquainted with your surroundings. There will likely be a certain amount of paperwork, and you’ll need proof of your citizenship before you can enroll in any flight training program. So, bring your passport or birth certificate along.
When you get to the flight school, there will most likely be some pilots hanging around nearby – introduce yourself and chat while you wait for your flight instructor. Your flight instructor is the person that will teach you the skills you need to know in order to obtain your private pilot’s license, it’s important to start this relationship off on the right foot.
Your instructor will sit down with you and take the time to explain the day’s agenda and answer any questions that you may have. They should also take the time to explain to you what the process is like to obtain your desired pilot’s certificate. They should provide information on the training courses, including the school syllabus, timeline and expenses.
You and your instructor will then walk out to your assigned aircraft to conduct what’s called “preflight”. First, your instructor will introduce you to your new best friend: checklists! You will get to know these lists well, as they’re used for every flight. You’ll be given a preflight checklist to conduct inspection tasks. This involves inspecting the aircraft, walking around and checking to make sure everything looks in order. Your flight instructor will be demonstrating what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. This portion usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
You’ll then board the plane and enter the cockpit, sitting in the left-hand seat while your instructor sits in the right. You’ll pull on your headset so you can hear what the instructor and traffic control are saying.
Starting the Aircraft & Taxiing
Before starting the aircraft, your instructor will explain the pre-starting and starting procedures. They will also walk you through pre-taxi procedures and how to maneuver the aircraft on the ground. After checking the gauges and then starting up the engine, you will taxi to the runway.
Before you take-off, you’ll take the aircraft to a safe space to do what’s called a ‘run-up’. This is the last check before take-off to ensure that all systems are operating properly on the aircraft. They will use a checklist to verify and test a number of systems. Remember, that these checks are in place to protect your lives and the lives of others, so don’t skimp on being thorough and take your time.
Once preflight checks are done, you’re ready for take-off. Tower control will clear you for take-off and you’ll roll the aircraft out onto the runway. You will then take off, with the help of your instructor of course, enjoying the experience of lifting off the runway as the world rushes by. This is one of the most unforgettable moments in your flight training, so enjoy it!
During the climb your instructor will walk you through the climb checklist, while looking for traffic. Once you reach a safe altitude and are far enough away from the airfield, your instructor will guide you through some basic maneuvers. Your instructor will be close to the controls throughout the whole day, so you shouldn’t feel too nervous. You’ll spend about 30-45 minutes in the air, going over everything from climbs, turns and descents to the relation of pitch and power. After which, you’ll be instructed to head back to the airfield.
You’ll be introduced to another checklist to ensure that the aircraft is prepared for landing. The instructor will explain the steps and show you what it is like to land an aircraft. Your instructor will most likely have you ‘shadowing’ the controls so that you can become familiar with the control inputs. Air traffic control will provide landing instructions, you will enter the traffic pattern, approach the runway and touchdown. Congrats – you just completed your first flight at the helm!
After you have landed and have safely left the runway, you will go through your after landing checks and will go through the procedure to taxi back to your ramp to park your aircraft. You will learn how to properly shut down your aircraft, how to secure it in its parking spot, and what your post-flight processes will be. You’ll head back to the dispatch room, where your instructor will take you through a “debriefing”, which is providing more information and instruction about the flight. This is when your instructor will review the flight, your performance and provide you with study materials for the next lesson. This is also a good time to ask questions and schedule more lessons. Overall, your first day of flight school will last two to three hours.
Great work! You can now say that you’ve successfully flown an airplane!
Your first day of flight school may feel a bit overwhelming, but that’s normal. From preflight to take-off to landing and more, there’s plenty of material to be covered. Hopefully you feel accomplished now that you’ve taken the first step to obtaining your new pilot’s license. In time and with more lessons, you’ll be well on your way to become a talented pilot – happy flying!
Do you want to get your private pilot’s license? Get in touch with our team of professional flight instructors at Inflight Pilot Training today!
Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help you achieve the certification you want. From private pilot certificates to airline transport pilot certificates and everything in between, we can help you reach your goals – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.