Learning to fly isn’t easy; additional time should be spent reinforcing knowledge outside of practical flying sessions or ground lesson. Right now I am not doing enough of this, but as I do I will demonstrate what I have done In a series of blog posts I am going to call “reinforcement”.
Learning from others is probably the best way to reinforce and learn new skills. Someone has done what you are doing before and they may have shared that knowledge on. If you can find that information make good use of it rather than make that mistake again. I’m not going to pretend I do this now and have always listened to advice from people who have been through what I am learning – because I haven’t. But I know this is solid advice and I will be doing it now.
It is hard not to spend time on YouTube watching aviation related videos and not come across Swayne Martin. He is the whizz kid who flew solo before he could drive solo. He started a great blog on how to go from private to commercial pilot (sound familiar)? He also writes for Bold Method which is an invaluable resource for helpful information. Oh and he has some fantastic YouTube videos. Here are a few for you to enjoy:
So, why do I mention Swayne Martin? One of my favourite articles on Bold Method is published by him and is very simple. It is called 8 Ways To Keep Your Flight Training Costs Under Control. Keeping costs under control is a hugely valuable skill and it is something I need to get better at. Wayne posts a lot of helpful tips that I think will save costs and actually improve your flying skills; I am going to expand on some of the key points he has made and how that can be helpful.
Plan Your Next Lesson
This is a great one, if you know you will be practising manoeuvres I can spend the evening before reading up and practising them as an armchair pilot (see below). I am just beginning navigation and will soon be planning my journey’s to other airfields. If I can plan my journey the morning of my flight I can spend my briefing validating my logic with my instructor and we will be up and off the ground quicker. This could save me a good half an hour which could be spent flying circuits at the end of the day.
Review Your Airplane’s Cockpit and Study Your Checklists
These two come hand in hand together, if I know where every switch and dial is in the cockpit I will be able to get through my checklist faster and be airborne quicker. Swayne mentions flows which isn’t something I have looked into yet, but will definitely be looking to implement in the near future. These two points are something I am looking to work on as my start up procedures are slow and my power checks could be faster – on a number of occasions my instructor has taken over to hurry me up when we have a short booking. This isn’t just about making better use of money but it is about making better use of my time.
Watch Examples Online
This doesn’t just apply to practical flying, but also to the ground school work too. There are many videos and tutorials online that will help you get up to speed and learn everything you need. One thing I have done in the past is watch pilots fly circuits of my home airport, Lee-on-Solent, to help me visualise approaches and think about where and when I will need to make radio calls. It’s also nice to watch videos of planes!
I did this a lot when I started flying in the circuit and I need to keep it up with other manoeuvres. Sitting down in a chair and then picturing everything you need to do is so helpful. Learning acronyms such as FREDA (Fuel, Radio, Engine, Direction, Altimeter) and BUMFICHH (Brakes, Undercarriage, Mixture, Fuel, Instruments, Carb Heat, Hatches & Harnesses) as an arm chair pilot will make things easier for you in the air.
Like I mentioned above I am not yet a devoted practitioner of each of these principles; but I will be. I can see the value of them and how they will will result in a better use of my time and money as a student pilot, and make me a better pilot into my future.