Plane & Pilot
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Learn To Fly: March 2008

Becoming a pilot is a dream for many. Here we present the basics to help you make that dream a reality.

learn to flyTo learn to fly is to step off the precipice of the ordinary and mundane. It’s a step into a new world that challenges your mind and senses, and rewards you like nothing you’ve ever dreamed of. To become a pilot is to see the face of our planet from the vantage point of angels.
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learn to fly8 Tips For Training Success
Flight training can be tough. These simple tips will give you the best chance for success.

1. Choose the right instructor.
Ask around about good instructors because your instructor will set the bar for all flying to come. Don’t be in a rush to get started. Interview them to get a feel for their personality. Set a limit (say, three lessons) after which you’ll both reevaluate your relationship. Don’t base your selection on age, gender or appearance

2. Find a mentor. A mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. In aviation, it’s another pilot you can talk to who will keep you motivated and help you with frustrations during training. Experience shows that students with mentors succeed at a higher rate than those without. AOPA sponsors “Project Pilot” where you can find a mentor online. (See “Top 10 Online Resources” sidebar for more information.)

3. Fund your training in advance. The number-one reason students quit is because they run out of money. Secure all the funds for your training before you begin (overbudget by $1,000) and you won’t have to lose momentum because of financial issues.

4. Prepare. Ask any instructor what the secret to flight-training success is, and he or she will answer, “student preparation.” Start your book learning before you begin flight training. Buy a basic aviation manual and get used to the concepts and terminology. Once you’re training, study before each lesson.

5. Don’t give up. There will be dark times in your pilot journey. Instructors know about learning plateaus and points of frustration (especially when learning to land). Make the decision now to continue training when you hit those stumbling blocks later. Know they’re coming and that you’ll overcome them with practice and determination.

6. When it gets stale, switch. There will be times when you feel you aren’t progressing. During those times, fly with another instructor for a session or two. Your original instructor shouldn’t mind, and you’ll be amazed what a fresh perspective does for your flying.

7. Keep it regular. Don’t take long breaks during training. Keep the pace at two or three lessons per week. Schedule training to coincide with the mildest weather in your area, typically spring or fall.

8. Talk the talk. Radio work is a tough barrier for many students. Use a handheld scanner or one of the many Internet live ATC radio feeds to listen and learn. Practice radio work at home to get rid of radio fright and boost your confidence.


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