Flight School 101

With week two almost complete, I figured I should recap the intense leaning I have been going through and basically it is broken down Into two components… 1. Practical flying experience, 2. Aeronautical knowledge

The practical experience usually amounts to a two-hour flight, with over an hour in preflight, analyzing the weather conditions, preparing the flight plan and evaluating airworthiness of the airplane. Rounding out the practical is a 30 min post-flight briefing with my instructor where we break down the flight experience including lessons learned and identifying areas that need more practice and celebrating successes.

So far, when it come to airplane handling, I am able to perform the following maneuvers with a moderate level of proficiency…

– preflight inspections
– tower communications
– taxing and takeoffs
– climbs, descents and holding altitude
– turns, climbing/descending turns, steep turns (45 deg)
– ground reference turns, around a point, s-turns
– slow flight, stalls, approaches to stalls, and stall recovery
– emergency descents and simulated engine out scenarios
– inflight fires to wings and engine
– airport traffic patterns, approaches and landings including touch and goes

And am still working on the following…

– smoothing out landings
– short and soft field takeoffs and landings
– overall situations awareness
– inflight navigating

As for the aeronautical knowledge, I am spending about 3-4 hrs per day in self-study reading key resources including the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Information, The Airplane Flying Handbook, the FAR/AIM (FAA Regulations), Cessna Pilots Operating Handbook (POH) and other supplemental materials on weather, charting, emergency procedures, etc. It’s an incredible amount of information to pack into my head and I am very thankful I started reading the most of the materials months ago so instead of learning it all fresh, it is pretty much just reinforcing and reviewing for mastery.

In addition to the self study, about every other day, I have a 2-hour ground school briefing where we review key concepts in the materials, discuss how the knowledge relates to the flight experiences, and prepare for the written and oral examinations that I’ll be facing in about three weeks time.

All toll, it is amounting to about 8 hrs of training per day, every day of the week – which is proving hectic but relatively manageable despite trying to keep up about 4 hrs with BubbleUP to still bring in a partial paycheck!

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