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What Type Of Lessons Are Covered In Pilot Ground School?

When trying to obtain a pilot license, one aspect of your training includes pilot ground school, where you’ll “hit the books”. This portion covers important lessons that can’t be learned behind the yoke. While the act of flying is something that’s undoubtedly important to the learning process, ground school is equally as important in rounding out your piloting skills. From aerodynamics to flight systems to navigation and so much more, you’re given the information you need to become a proficient pilot while preparing for the required FAA written exam. You need to pass a test known as the Private-Pilot Airplane Rating (PAR) Exam, with a score of at least 70 percent, in order to be qualified to fly an airplane alone. As such an important component of a comprehensive flight training plan, there’s a lot to discuss about the type of lessons that are covered in pilot ground school. Let’s get you ready to fly!

Airplane Instruments

Although a private pilot isn’t allowed to fly under IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions, students will still become familiar with various cockpit instruments that are useful even under visual flight rules (VFR). There are several instruments that you should research before hopping in the cockpit.


  • Airspeed indicator: An instrument that displays the airspeed of the airplane.
  • Altimeter: An instrument that reports how high the airplane is above sea level.
  • Attitude indicator: An instrument, also known as an artificial horizon, that gives the airplane’s orientation relative to the horizon.
  • Heading indicator: An instrument that gives the directional coordinates of the airplane.
  • Turn coordinator: An instrument that monitors the turning and directional path of the airplane.
  • Vertical speed indicator: An instrument that measures air pressure during climbs and descents.

Weather Principles

No matter what level of license you end up obtaining, the weather will always play a big role in your life as a pilot. That’s why it’s such a big component of your ground school training. At the conclusion of your written exam, you should be proficient in knowing how the atmosphere works, what type of weather dictates VFR vs. IFR, how to read weather radars and avoid storm systems. Read up on some of the concepts below to learn more about important meteorology lessons for private pilots.


  • Snow and ice: As pilot instructors from Minnesota, we’re no stranger to flying through snow and ice. But, wherever you live, it will affect most pilots’ careers at some point, so it’s an important topic to discuss. This includes the deicing process, ice prevention, and how to identify clouds likely to contain ice crystals.
  • Wind: Another important aspect of flight safety is determining when wind speed is too high. It can be particularly dangerous to land or take off in strong wind. In-ground school, you’ll learn ways in which wind makes it dangerous to fly, how local topography can cause wind anomalies and how to navigate through risky drafts.
  • High- and low-pressure systems: These types of systems can affect the proper operation of your airplane’s instruments, so your ground school instructor will show you how to work around these issues.


Ground school lessons around aerodynamics will involve a lot of work on how an airplane flies and what that means to you as a pilot in command. There are four main aerodynamic components that will give you a good base so you can start your first day of ground school with confidence. 


  • Lift: A force that’s caused by air moving rapidly over the wings of an airplane. As airflow increases, it draws more pressure underneath the wing, causing the airplane to lift off the ground.
  • Gravity and weight: These two forces are directly opposed to the force of lift, pulling the plane back down to the earth. 
  • Thrust: This force is caused by the engines or propellers that move the airplane forward, increasing speed and leading to lift.
  • Drag: The force opposite of thrust, when the airplane’s mass deflects airflow and limits airspeed. 

Airport Policies, Operations, And Runways

Every flight will leave and return at an airport. This could be a small, grass runway or a massive international complex, but private pilots are taught how to identify features of an airport, operate within specific types of airspace and read navigational charts to identify runways, navigation towers, and other important operational procedures.


  • Airport traffic patterns: Learn how to properly enter airport traffic patterns and request an approach for landing.
  • Airspace classifications: Understand how the different airspace classifications, both regulatory and nonregulatory, affect your privileges as a private pilot.
  • Runway diagrams: Accurately read runway diagrams that tell pilots the dimensions, orientation, surface types, and other important components of a landing strip.

Master Your Pilot Ground School Lessons

As one-half of the entire flight training process, ground school teaches crucial lessons that every competent pilot needs to know. In order to pass your PAR Exam, make sure you’re spending enough time in the classroom, learning about important aspects of the flying process. From flight instruments to weather patterns to aerodynamic performance and so much more, there’s a lot to memorize – so get started today!

Do you need to complete your pilot ground school requirements?

Ground school is a necessary component of the overall flight training process. Let the team at Inflight Pilot Training, the top-rated ground school in Minnesota, help you achieve your goals when it comes to learning to fly. We’ve helped countless students pass their PAR tests and FAA checkrides, so they can go on to become confident, competent aviators.


Let our skilled instructors 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.