Pilot training is a challenging and exciting journey that opens new horizons, both as a hobby and as a career. Like any other vocation, avoiding bad habits from the start is best, and is key to making you a better, more skilled pilot. Here are some of the most common examples.
- Easy is more important than right: While technology offers pilots a fantastic set of gadgets and instruments that make flying easier, it’s important to rather focus on basic flight skills. These are the skills that you’ll need to rely on at all times as a pilot, especially in challenging or dangerous situations. Being a well-rounded pilot means enjoying what the high-tech world offers, but still knowing that you can manage without it.
- Stick and rudder: This is a phrase used to characterize students who focus all their energy on the “stick and rudder” aspects of their license and ignore the knowledge portion. This not only can delay your license, it will also limit your understanding of aircraft and safety procedures, which is essential to making the calculated decisions that will keep you, your crew and others safe.
- Dismissing the importance of checklists and aviation rules: While flying is exciting, it is not without considerable risk to you as well as the public. The checklists, rules and procedures that seem boring and routine are there to help ensure everyone’s safety – something that is paramount in the life of a good pilot. Missing just one item on a checklist could land you with expensive damages, a bad reputation, and place lives in danger.
- Focusing only on your first solo flight: This is a significant landmark in any student’s life, and deserves proper attention – but it shouldn’t give you tunnel vision. Focus on any areas that you are struggling with, like landings, or give yourself a break and ask your instructor if you can practice maneuvers for a while. Your first solo is important – but it’s not the only thing that matters.
- Focusing only on the greaser landing: Another area where students frequently get tunnel vision is on acing their landing. Yes, the often-repeated saying that “flying is easy, it’s the landing that’s hard” is fairly true, but that doesn’t mean a greaser is the only way to go. Focus on a safe landing, rather than the one that’s supposed to be perfect.
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