Learn from student pilots

Student Pilots
Student Pilots

6 Tips You Can Learn From Student Pilots For Your Everyday Flying

As pilots, there’s a lot we were taught during training that applies to us each and every day we fly. But there are some things you probably had to do as a student pilot that flew to the wayside. Here are a few habits good student pilots have that you should consider for yourself…

1) FLIGHT PLANNING THE NIGHT BEFORE.

Remember waiting for that solo cross country and looking at weather forecasts hoping for clear skies? Looking at forecast charts might change your decision to depart a day early if things aren’t shaping up for the next day. Don’t put yourself in a “get-there-itis” situation when you could’ve left the day before in good skies.

2) WEIGHT AND BALANCE.

Your flight instructor probably made you calculate weight and balance for every flight. If you don’t do it for every flight you take, you should at least make sure to keep current on your calculation skills by working weight and balance problems occasionally at the limits of POH limitations. One day you’ll need to fly a heavy plan, so don’t be left guessing if you’re load is within limits.

3) PILOTAGE.

Don’t shake your head. Sure, GPS is most efficient and practical for your day to day flying, but you should never become a child of the magenta line. If all else fails, you should be ready to practice pilotage and dead reckoning to get where you’re going. Next time you fly, consider practicing a route using just a sectional and plotter by following visual checkpoints. You can still use an EFB, like ForeFlight, to practice this with sectional charts by turning off your location shown on top of the map by GPS.

4) HAND FLYING.

If you have an autopilot, consider flying every now and then fully by hand to improve your multi-tasking skills. It’s a good way to keep your mind awake during a flight you might normally find routine.

5) PRACTICE SIMULATED EMERGENCIES.

It’s no secret that instructors love to grill students on emergencies. If you already have a pilot certificate, you probably don’t open up the emergencies section of your POH often. Test yourself every now and then when you’re en-route by reviewing emergency procedures, or even simulate a few emergencies for yourself.

6) BRIEFINGS – TAXI, TAKEOFF, APPROACH, AND LANDING.

With an instructor, you were often expected to give full taxi, takeoff, approach, and landing briefings. Even as a single pilot, it’s a great way to make sure you have all the information you need and are situationally aware. Also, if you have an emergency you’ll have a fresh plan in mind. Does that mean you need to brief your passengers if you’re a single pilot? Of course not! But if you can mentally work through the briefing yourself, that’s just as helpful.

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