There’s little in the world more liberating than guiding a plane on the open skies. That doesn’t mean that flight school is easy. Your first time flying can be a little frightening, and there’s a lot to learn before you ever get in the cockpit. That doesn’t mean that it has to be intimidating. These four simple steps can help you ground yourself fully before taking to the air.
Getting your private pilot license takes at least 35 hours of hands-on training, and the last thing you want is to get stuck with a school that doesn’t meet your needs. Do your research beforehand, and take the time to understand the values and courses offered by each school in your area. How long the school has been in business, how busy their classes are, and their reputation in the community are all factors you should consider. A little research is well worth it.
There are so many knobs and needles in the cockpit that it can be easy to get distracted by them and lose your perspective on the world outside. While the instrument panel contains valuable information you’ll need as you grow as a pilot, an intuitive understanding of when to read them will come with time. You’ll have an experienced instructor beside you on your first flight. That means you can focus on getting the feel for the basics of flight and how to identify points of reference rather than having to labor over the minute details.
Everyone’s own habits are different, and that’s why it’s important that you have a system in place to keep all your necessary equipment organized. You’ll need access to your kneeboard, E6B, iPad, and pens among other instruments, and it’s best to have them within reach. Unnecessary distractions can lead to accidents. Keeping things meticulously ordered can help you avoid that.
It can be easy to forget the lessons you learned in class when you’re in the moment, and that’s why it’s imperative to ask questions of your instructor if you have any hesitations or concerns. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, and it’s better to ask than be left with hesitation when you’re in the air. Before you take flight, breathe in deeply, focus your head, and remember your instruction. Your instructor will be there to help if anything goes wrong.
Your first flight doesn’t need to be a dangerous task, and most reputable schools will take the time to make sure you have the knowledge you need before getting into the cockpit, but sometimes mistakes happen. If you believe an instructor’s negligence has led to an accident, don’t be afraid to consult with an experienced injury lawyer.