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Student Pilot Training: 5 Ways to Improve Your Flight Maneuver Skills

To master the art of flying, you must first start with the basics. Whether you’re just starting flight school or are further down the road in your training, there is no substitute for practice when perfecting certain maneuvers in the air. Even if you’re a veteran pilot, flying an aircraft is a skill that’s honed throughout your lifetime, with new things to learn all the time.

But, that doesn’t mean there are a few specific things you can do to improve the learning process and boost your flying skills – let’s explore five ways to become a master of air maneuvers.

Introduction to Flight Maneuvers

As you begin flight school, you’ll be introduced to four main flight maneuvers. All controlled flight consists of one or a combination of these basic maneuvers:

  • Straight-and-level flight
  • Turns
  • Climbs
  • Descents

A certified flight instructor will provide you with the necessary knowledge to perform these maneuvers. It’s important that you become familiar with these maneuvers, and can perform them on instinct. After enough time behind the control wheel, a student pilot should gain enough proficiency that they can maneuver the plane on feel and control analysis, rather than mechanical movements.

Performing these maneuvers is paramount in your success as a student pilot, especially as you advance to higher levels of learning. Any maneuver learned after private flight school, such as acrobatic maneuvers, will depend on your understanding of the principles of one or more of these fundamental movements.

1) Refer to FAA Resources

The Federal Aviation Administration has plenty of resources student pilots can use to boost their knowledge of flight maneuvers and airmanship procedures. Consult the Airplane Flying Handbook or the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge for basic information on improving your skills. A full list of resources can be found here – they’re easy to follow, contain a wealth of information and best of all, they’re free.

2) Fly as Much as Possible

Even if you’ve already graduated basic flight school, flying on a regular basis and practicing different skills, from maneuvers to navigation to pattern work, will drastically enhance your capabilities in the cockpit. It may be smart to also undergo an annual or biennial flight review to stay current on procedures and practices while also weeding out bad habits that slowly become involved in your flying routine.

3) Set Goals and Periodic Evaluations

Is there a certain maneuver you just can’t seem to nail? Whether it’s something simpler like a figure eight or something more difficult like a barrel roll, taking incremental steps towards improvement will help you accomplish your goals in mastering maneuvers. Set personal minimums (consult your flight instructor if possible to set up a personalized plan that’s tailored toward your learning style) and periodically evaluate your skills against these points to take control of your plane’s capabilities.

4) Use Flight Simulators to Perfect Techniques

Flight simulators offer pilots-in-training a great way to increase their flight experience without the expense of renting a plane. It’s recommended to learn maneuvers in a real-life flying environment with the help of an instructor, but a simulator can provide a fantastic supplement to your training. Simulators like FSX, X-Plane and Prepar3d can be used as accurate flight models and that will help students perfect a lot of basic airmanship maneuvers. Just remember to always utilize techniques your instructor taught you in the sim rather than teach yourself – you can be exposed to a lot of bad habits if you do not.

5) Consult the Experts

If you just can’t seem to figure a certain flight maneuver out, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to other pilots and flight instructors about the problems you’re facing and see what advice they can provide from experience. Build up this network of knowledgeable instructors, pilots and enthusiasts and always keep expanding this base for future use. If you ever come to a point where you feel like you’re stuck, enrolling in a flight school will expose you to a group of certified flight instructors that are experienced in taking your skills to the next level.

Looking for a Team of Experienced Flight Instructors?

Get in touch with 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, we help those who’ve dreamed of flying reach their goal of becoming a pilot. 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.