Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

User avatar
By David Wood
My advice to a student would be:
In the early stages:
    Fly as frequently as time and funds (and weather) permit.
    Do you own prep before every flight - read at least a chapter or two ahead.
    Get your exams out of the way as early as you can.
    Don't fret about the bits you find difficult. Everyone finds some bits difficult. Persevere and one day it will just click.
    Don't be in awe of your instructor(s), but remember that they are trying to teach you and they've done it before. So don't fight against them.
    That said, don't put up with sub-standard instruction.

Later on I think that it's terribly important that you remember:
    You are not just being taught to pilot an aeroplane; you are being taught to captain it. Learn to make judgements and decisions. Have the courage of your convictions.
    Learn to learn by your mistakes.
    Learn about the weather. It's not just a tick-box on your license application. It may save your life one day.

But above everything else please remember to do this:
    Enjoy Yourself. Flying is a wonderful privilege. Your heart should quicken at every flight. Don't be afraid to gaze in awe at the view.
    Never Stop Learning and pushing the boundaries. No-one knows it all. And no true pilot ever stops learning stuff. Ever.
    And, if you find yourself in trouble - First and Foremost, FLY THE AEROPLANE. Everything else, yes everything, can wait.

That's my tu'penny worth.

Oh, and keep a good look-out....
By SimFlyer
This is one issue I am having trouble with....
"don't put up with sub-standard instruction"

How exactly do you know what sub-standard instruction is? Maybe there are blatant signs such as instructors turning up late or no briefs/debriefs given, but I think most of the time, the student won't really know whether the instruction given is really any good. After all, what do you have to compare it with? You only go through the training once!

For those that have the misfortune of their school closing down or maybe relocating and having to sign up with another school, then this gives them the opportunity to witness instruction given from two different schools, but as one member here cited, he didn't know how poor his instruction was until he went abroad to do more advanced courses and only then realized how far away he was from the expected standard!
By johnm
You can usually get a feeling for sub-standard instruction and it goes like this:

Are the aircraft generally serviceable if a bit shabby and with few items marked "inop"
If an item is marked inop the instructor can tell you why it doesn't matter
Your brief is systematic and there is a progression in respect of how much is done jointly and how much on your own as your training progresses
Your work is checked and records kept up to date.
You are patiently guided in aeroplane handling and you are told why as well as what
You have a debrief and help with log books etc after the flight.

If any of these are missing you are looking at sub-standard, it may happen once or twice but if it's routinely sub-standard go elsewhere.
By SimFlyer
Most aircraft I've seen at schools I've been to look well-worn, but I suspect this is the norm for flight schools. No shiny, brand new-looking Cessnas or Pipers!

Is the student allowed to look at the school's records as far as his own training goes?
Post-flight, what exactly comprises of "etc."? All I've seen so far was how to do my logbook as well as the aircraft's flight log. Is there anything else aside from the debrief?
By Cessna57
About half way through my course I asked my instructor if I could read my record.

His reply was “if you like, I’m not writing anything I’ve not said to your face” and passed it across to me.

I must admit, I didn’t actually bother, I just gave it back to him.
User avatar
By akg1486
I never asked to see my records, but our CFI showed mine to me a few years ago (some ten years after I got my PPL). Next to one of the exercises, my FI had written the comment "Went well.....eventually". :D

As for the question in the OP, I would perhaps tell the earlier me not to underestimate the effort in the ground school. I have an MSc and (at the time) 15 years of work experience so I figured it would be a breeze. But it turned out I had to work for it: not because of the difficulty but because of the wide scope.

(Not sure I would have heeded such advice, though: I did the ATPL ground school for fun four years after my PPL and again underestimated the effort required. But that, too, went well.)