Airplane Pilot Training Advice
Save time and money!
Pilot training requires a substantial investment of both time and money. In this section, we offer you several precious recommendations to help you reduce the cost and the length of your pilot training.
In order to encourage their students, flying schools will usually make estimates on the training fees basing themselves on the flight time required by the law. These course estimates totals are always below the real cost of a typical flight training.
For example, the Canadian average time required to train a private pilot in Canada is 65 hours of lessons and 45 hours of flight. These numbers easily represent $4000 more than the cost of your private pilot training.
Time is also an important factor. Most people that work take more than a year to complete their airplane pilot training. Consequently, they end up paying much more for their pilot training.
Here are valuable recommendations that can help reduce both your training cost and length.
Schedule your flights numerous months in advance and also schedule extra flights for unforeseen events. Regularity is crucial to progress as a pilot. If you do not schedule in advance, there are good chances that the available planes may have been taken or that your instructor won't be available. Such circumstances could often delay your flights. In the long run, this will affect the length and cost of your flight lessons. Likewise, if the weather is bad or if there is an issue such as a mechanical problem, you will lose your appointment for that week unless you had scheduled extra flight. To complete a pilot training in less than six months, you would have to fly two to four times per week. In that case, you could schedule a flight each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you successfully complete your Monday and Wednesday flights, you can either choose to fly on Friday or to cancel that session after your lesson on Wednesday. It is recommended to fly each two days to give yourself time to absorb what you learned in that specific lesson and to prepare yourself for the next one.
Practice piloting in a stationary plane as often as possible. This type of training is free and very effective. Frequently, airplanes are on the ground and not being used. Therefore, you can arrive early to your lessons and practice in one of these airplanes. Repeat out loud all of the flight stages, procedures, and radio communications. Imagine emergency scenarios and perform their respective procedures calmly without having anyone looking at you or distracting you. Get accustomed to being alone and more comfortable in the airplane. Practice the flight exercises you need to master to obtain your pilot license. This free simulation is extremely efficient and will not cost you a dime!
Sharpen your radio listening skills and repeat typical sentences several times per day. Most flying schools have a radio to listen to the control tower and the ATIS information. Improve your listening skills by paying attention to these conversations. You can also do this in a stationary plane. Practice saying usual sentences out loud.
Be demanding when it comes to your flight instructor. Your flight instructor is paid to offer you a professional service and to help you progress quickly and safely. He has to honestly point out your strengths and weaknesses and give you tips on how to correct your bad piloting habits. A good instructor must not slow you down in your flight training progression, but he must also not allow you to skip parts of the flight lessons which you have not yet mastered. If you are having trouble with one instructor, think of why it is so and ask the flying school administration questions. Changing instructor can be very beneficial in some cases, but do not swap instructor for the wrong reasons.
Ask for a detailed plan of the flight lessons and exercises. This should be given to you at the very start of your training. You need to know what you will have to do and what the specific passing criteria for each exercise are. At all times, it is necessary that you have a global view of your piloting lessons and to know where you are positioned in your pilot training.
Prepare for each of your flight lessons and be self-disciplined. You must arrive well-prepared and know exactly what you must do for each exercise before your flight. If it is not the case, you are wasting your money. Once you start to fly, it is not the time anymore for detailed explanations; it is time for flight practice.
Ask for a training plan that optimizes flight time. For example: at take-off, we do a short take-off and go for the best climb angle. After that, while exiting the control zone, we will perform a maximum range exercise. Once out of the control space, we will climb up to 4000 feet and execute some stalling and low speed flying practices. Once we turn back, we will simulate part of the diversion procedure. Heading back to the flight club, we will ask the tower to give us some guidance for the end of the exercise. Then, we will do a precision touch-and-go followed by a soft ground landing. This way, there is no waste of time during the flight and its transition points and nothing is improvised during the whole session. Optimize your plan with your instructor according to the weather and other constraints for that day.
Ask for an adequate debriefing after each flight and take notes. Revise in detail everything that has been done during the flight. Ask questions on things you had difficulty understanding or that you need to improve. Ask what preparation is needed from you for the next piloting lesson and for a detailed plan of that lesson.
Read your manuals and ask many questions.
Combine flight time of the different flight hours categories. To get a license at the end of a pilot training, you need a certain number of solo flying hours, dual flying hours, cross-country flying hours, and instrument flying hours. It frequently happens that someone has mastered all exercises, but is missing hours in one or more categories which obliges them to do extra flight hours and to spend more money. By combining hours earlier in your training, you can prevent a similar situation. For example, if you are going to perform a solo flight, you might as well do a cross country flight too. The same number of hours will be accounted for in both categories. While doing a x-country flight with your instructor, nothing stops you from also performing some instrument flying on your way back.
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