Those who have an affinity for challenging themselves will find a rewarding experience at flight school. It’s a unique opportunity that fewer and fewer people are pursuing each year. But if you’re someone that is inspired by the skies, and is interesting in pursuing a new challenge, either for fun or as a potential career, here are six ways flight school will challenge you in new ways.
1) Understanding and Managing Risk
Whether you’re managing a Fortune 500 company or managing the control wheel of an airplane, there’s a certain amount of risk inherent in everything you do. Understanding how to control and mitigate risks is something that every person learns throughout the course of their careers.
When learning to fly, students will become familiar with this practice, as flying takes the average person out of their comfort zone. Because pilots operate in a three-dimensional environment, in which multitasking plays a large role, learning how to take in all of the factors that contribute to the total risk is a skill that must be learned through proper flight training. Ultimately, you’ll be able to adapt to the decision about how much risk is the right amount.
2) Keeping On Top of Everything
When you first start flight school, you may seem overwhelmed with the amount of work there is to do, such as studying navigation charts, understanding weather patterns, memorizing checklists, not to mention learning the operation of the plane itself. As long as you understand that you’ll develop your skills incrementally, you’ll be able to stay organized and manage a number of tasks at once. Multitasking is generally a learned skill that becomes easier with practice.
The key is to really put your efforts into studying as much as you can when going through your initial coursework at flight school. When you’re not in the air actually flying, you never stop thinking about it. Learn checklists, practice radio calls, absorb as much information you can from your certified flight instructor (CFI)—eat, sleep and breath aviation on the ground and you’ll thrive in the sky.
3) Testing Your Situational Awareness
Piloting an aircraft puts you in a dynamic environment, one that you may not be used to. You’re moving and other aircraft are moving around you, all while you’re trying to complete a number of important tasks in the cockpit. So to ensure the safety of everyone in the sky, tasks need to happen in a certain order or at a certain time. Student pilots need to develop an ability to manage everything that’s going on – but that isn’t as much as a “hands” skill as it is a “mind” skill.
Far too often, pilots that are just starting out have trouble maintaining situational awareness, where their attention is finely tuned to everything that’s going on both inside and outside the aircraft. They may be able to pilot an airplane perfectly from point A to point B, but they may lose track of where they are, how high they are, how much fuel they have left, or where other airplanes are. Good pilots can split their focus on things like instruments or maps during flight, while also maintaining awareness of important radio calls, other air traffic and the operability of the aircraft. Just as important, is the ability to make smart decisions quickly, if a situation in the sky changes. This certainly stems from situational awareness, and being in tune to what is going on around you, so you can make the right decision.
4) Overcoming Mental Block
Even the brightest minds can fall victim to mental block once in a while. With all the new information filling your head, pilots that begin flight school can start to feel overwhelmed. Many professional pilots and CFIs refer to this as the “new pilot’s learning plateau”. When learning a complex skill, many pilots don’t simply proceed steadily from topic to topic, rather they learn through leaps and bounds, pausing occasionally.
At the introduction of any complex skill, learning often happens quickly. As each educational component is added to a previous building block, learning becomes more and more complex. In many cases, depending on the complexity of the skill being learned, progress can taper off before continuing upwards. It’s the tapered area that’s known as the learning plateau.
While there is no tried-and-true method to overcoming mental block, those that are willing to put forth their best effort, confront any educational struggles and fly as much as possible are well on their way to becoming a successful private pilot, regardless of learning plateaus.
5) Becoming a Lifelong Learner
Flying a plane is not like riding a bike – in other words, it’s not something you can pick up after a 10-year hiatus and jump right back into it with the same level of skill and ability. Going into flight school, new pilots that want to be successful should understand that career-long learning and constantly improving your skills are on-going prerequisites in the dynamic world of aviation.
Of course, there are federal guidelines that specify required training exercises and how long the pilot is allowed to remain current on them. However, this runs counter to the ever increasing complexity of both the planes and operational environments, especially given the rising amount of air traffic. Throughout flight school and beyond, pilots should be constantly keeping up with the operational and technological demands, as well as their need for career-long studying, training and exams.
6) Boosting Work Ethic
New pilots can’t get around this one. Many students begin flight training because becoming a pilot seems glamorous or looks adventurous. But when it comes down to it, flight training is simply a lot of hard work, even though the hours of studying pay off in the end. But, as the saying goes, nothing worth doing is ever easy!
Of course, something being tough doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take on the challenge – Inflight Pilot Training is here to help you pass your flight school program with flying colors. We offer several tailored flight school programs that will help you overcome the most challenging parts of learning to fly.
Are you ready the most exciting challenge of your life?
Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training today! We are a leading pilot training company serving clients in the Midwest. With a reputable training program and deep roster of highly skilled flight instructors, it’s our goal to help those who’ve dreamed of flying become a pilot. We can help you pursue your passion for taking flight – get in touch with our team of CFIs to find out more.
For additional information on Inflight Pilot Training, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.