10 Keys to Being a Great Flight Student, Part 1 (1-5)

1.  Find a great school or instructor – After you decide to earn your license, this is the first real step in your training.  Don’t rush this decision.  Talk to several instructors and several flight schools and pay attention to your impressions.  Are they helpful?  Are they encouraging?  Do they seem knowledgeable and do they seem to have the heart of a teacher?  Is the equipment clean and seemingly well-maintained?  These are the types of questions you want ask yourself as you look for the right instructor for you.

2.  Fly often (2 to 3 times a week) –Learning to fly requires that you become proficient in two broad areas: procedures and techniques.  Procedures can be learned by reading and memorizing.  Techniques are learned by flying and developing your coordination, motor skills and experience.  To solidify your training you really need to fly regularly, preferably 2 to 3 times a week.  This will help you learn your procedures, but will also really help  you develop your technique.  You’ll see more progress, faster by flying regularly.

3.  Learn everything you can about your airplane –Become a student of your training aircraft. Obtain a copy of its Pilot’s Operating Handbook.  Read it (I know it’s not exciting).  Learn about the systems, it’s limitations and performance.  Know everything you can about the plane.  This sets a great precedent for you as you move to other aircraft.  But it’s of fundamental importance that you know your aircraft.  You entrust yourself to that aircraft everytime you fly.  Know how it works!

4.  Be teachable–  This is one of the most important points in this list.  If you are teachable then your flight training will be a joy to you and to your instructor.  If you are not teachable then you and your instructor will stay frustrated.  This means taking honest feedback without being defensive, knowing your instructor wants you to be a great pilot.  This means learning what you think might seem irelevent (say, pilotage when you have dual Garmin GPS or a glass cockpit).  The means trusting in the training and insight of your instructor.

5.  Be Patient –You must be patient.  Patience fosters good decisions.  Be patient with yourself.  You will have plateaus when it seems your training is going nowhere.   Be patient in the various situations you will face.  From unforeseen weather and scheduling conflicts to maintenance issues and delayed checkrides, be patient.  I can’t think of a single area in flying where the virtue of patience won’t pay great dividends.

Numbers 6-10 will be coming tomorrow!  Got a suggestion, email me >>>

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2 responses to “10 Keys to Being a Great Flight Student, Part 1 (1-5)

  1. Good stuff, Chris. Can’t wait for 6-10 tomorrow!

  2. Pingback: 10 Keys to Being a Great Flight Student, Part 2 (6-10) | The myFlightCoach Blog

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