Flight Training: Getting Started
This episode of the Coffee and Wings podcast is the first in a series about getting started Flight Training. As a Student Pilot or, “pilot-in-training, you may have many questions about how an airplane flies, how you can learn to fly or how long will it take to get your license. (As an aside, we call those licenses “pilot certificates” here in the United States.)
It seems that a good place to begin answering your questions is here, with the relationship between you and your flight instructor.
The primary purpose of all Flight Training is to develop safe, proficient pilots; the instructor expects from the student total cooperation and maximum effort toward this objective.
Learning to do something well normally involves a high degree of interest and the inner urge or drive to succeed. It makes little difference whether this interest and drive is spontaneous or a result of persuasion, but without some degree of ambition it is probable that both teaching and learning, even in an endeavor as interesting as flying, will at times become burdensome.
The indifferent or irresponsible student pilot who expects to slide effortlessly through the training program simply because it’s the instructors job to “teach,” exhibit a poor attitude toward the task. Those who resent or refuse to accept constructive criticism, or who continually make excuses or blame others for all their problems, are lacking in the attitudes necessary for effective learning. In all Flight Training, strong motivation and positive attitudes are essential ingredients to assure reaching the objectives.
During the training period, the instructor will explain each lesson before the flight. This explanation will include what will be done, why it should be done, and how it should be done. Any point that is not clear should be questioned. By asking questions on the ground, considerable time can be saved for in-flight instruction. An unanswered question in the students mind can seriously interfere with progress. Questions should be asked even at the expense of appearing ignorant. Pilots with years of experience and thousands of flying hours, are still asking questions and still learning.
After each flight, the instructor will review the day’s lesson. This is the student’s chance to clear up any mistake and ideas about each element of a procedure or maneuver. It is imperative that a complete understanding be attained so that corrective action can be taken if necessary. The time to clarify any misconceptions is immediately after the flight, when any problems are still fresh in the person’s mind.
The FAA certificated flight instructor had to meet broad flying experience requirements, pass rigid written and flight tests, and demonstrate the ability to apply recommended teaching techniques before being certificated. In addition, the flight instructor certificate must be renewed every 24 months by showing continued success in training Pilots, or by satisfactorily completing a flight instructor’s refresher course or a flight check designed to upgrade Aeronautical Knowledge, pilot proficiency, and teaching techniques.
Reference: The Flight Training Handbook