If learning to fly has always been a dream of yours, and you’ve taken the proper steps to enroll in aviation classes, you’re probably sitting with anticipation ready to hop in the cockpit and take off on a new adventure of self-improvement. Well, the good news is that you don’t have to wait for your first class to familiarize yourself with many of the concepts involved in being a competent pilot. Whether it’s basic aerodynamics, understanding weather patterns, memorizing FAA regulations, or other important tasks, there’s a lot to think about as you start out as a student pilot. Are you Ready To Start Aviation Classes? Study These Things Before Your First Lesson.
If you’re gearing up to start aviation classes, you can give yourself a leg up by studying these eight things before your first day – let’s take a look.
1) The Basics: How Planes Fly
The first thing you should understand is the most basic – how a plane actually flies. There are four main forces that cause a plane to maneuver in the sky: thrust, drag, lift, and weight. Boiled down, a plane flies because its engines thrust it forward at high speeds, making airflow rapidly over the wings. This pushes air down toward the ground, allowing it to overcome the plane’s weight while lifting it upward. With less thrust, the plane experiences drag, which causes it to slow down.
2) Understand Weather Patterns
Something that’s always on a pilot’s mind is the weather. A sudden turn of blue skies into dark, ominous clouds can spell trouble for anyone in the sky. As such, a big part of your training will focus on understanding weather patterns, how to read weather radars, and when it’s safe or not safe to take off. There are some basic terms that can set you apart during your first aviation class. Research the Coriolis effect, wind speeds, cold fronts, warm fronts and more through the National Weather Association’s Weather Theory For Pilots.
3) Get Familiar With Air Traffic Control (ATC) Chatter
Soon after you take to the skies, your flight instructor may have ATC chatter going on in the background. As such, it’s important to spend time getting used to how pilots interact with air traffic regulators on the ground. While recreational pilots may work with ATC, they’re not allowed to fly in airspace requiring ATC communication. However, it’s still good to inject these words into your vocabulary, along with the ICAO Phonetic Alphabet, as the knowledge can be very helpful in an emergency. The AOPA has a good guide on learning the basics of ATC chatter.
4) Review Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulations
Flying is one of the most regulated practices in the United States, so make sure to read up on the background of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 23, 61, and 91 before starting aviation classes. There are a ton of FAA regulations to familiarize yourself with, but in the end, you’ll be better equipped to keep you and your passengers safe.
5) Read Up On Basic Airplane Maneuvers
When you actually get behind the yoke for the first time, you’ll likely be practicing several basic maneuvers that allow you to properly navigate the skies. These fundamentals, while fairly basic in the grand scheme of things, are the maneuvers upon which all flying tasks are based. The “four fundamentals” are straight-and-level flight, turns, climbs and descents. These allow you to complete the six motions of flight: bank, pitch and yaw, as well as horizontal, vertical and lateral movement. Take a look at the FAAs chapter on airplane maneuvers for a more in-depth explanation.
6) Pilot Checklists
As a new pilot, you may be surprised to know that a lot of your tasks are detailed by a checklist that you’ll need to keep on-hand from before take-off until you’re safely back on the ground. These run through many procedures, from the preflight assessment to cruising to landing and even securing the plane when you’re ready to leave the airport.
7) Learn About Aircraft Systems
There are many different systems that modern aircraft are equipped with. While you’ll learn the ins and outs of different avionics and flight control modules during your aviation classes, you can jumpstart the process by reading up on systems like landing gear, fuel systems, altimeters, airspeed indicators and turn coordinators, among others. Take a look at the FAAs rundown of these different systems and instruments.
8) Mechanical Features Of Airplanes
Private pilots will likely learn on a basic trainer plane, like a Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn about how a plane mechanically operates. From engine sizes to propeller types to proper fueling practices, knowing how a plane works will help you become that much better of an aviator.
Are you ready to start aviation classes in Minnesota?
If you think you’re ready to start aviation classes in Minnesota, find the best team to work with at Inflight Pilot Training. We can help you achieve your dreams of becoming a certified pilot, while creating unforgettable memories throughout the process. We’ve helped countless people take the yoke and fly to new heights, whether through accelerated private pilot programs, instrument training, commercial licensing or anything else – we do it all under one roof.
Let our diverse team of CFIs elevate your learning experience as you take to the skies. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.