8 Common Student Pilot Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Becoming a pilot isn’t for everyone. Even students enrolled in a student pilot certificate program have an 80% drop-out rate. However, this might be good news for passengers because only the best students can become pilots.
How do you ensure that you are part of the 20% that pass?
Start by avoiding these 8 common student pilot mistakes below.
1. Flying Alone Too Early
Having a big ego is different than being ambitious. If you try to fly alone before you are ready then you could hinder your progress and put yourself in danger.
Even though you have to get permission to take your first solo flight, being too confident and pushing this milestone is not recommend. Instead, wait until this time comes from showing your instructor your progress. Then they will recommended taking your first solo flight.
2. Not Reading the Weather Forecast Properly
One of the airline pilot responsibilities that many students overlook is taking time to analyze the weather. They may look at the current weather in the takeoff location. However, they forget to check conditions at the destination and along the travel route.
Waiting to deal with bad weather while in the air will lead to stress and anxiety. Plus, you may need to end your flight early and return to the original takeoff airport to avoid unchecked hazards.
3. Relying Too Much on Technology Not Skill
Using professional pilot technology is often taken for granted. You may rely on GPS and other automated tools to make flying easier, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the skills to fly without them.
If the technology isn’t working, you should know how to fly using your navigational and pilot training skills learned only from study and practice.
4. Getting Distracted While Flying
Preparing for flight lessons is an exciting time where you get to apply what you learned in the classroom. It is also exhilarating to be in the air for the first time, especially when you are in the driver’s seat.
The adrenaline of the experience may lead you to be distracted by the scenery. Then once you get more comfortable, distractions increase when you are cruising in the sky.
Remember that even when it seems like downtime, a pilot never loses focus. Keep phones out of site and only take your eyes off of the cockpit controls when you have someone to take over for you to take a break.
5. Avoiding Proper Pre and Post Inspections
The preflight inspection process is just as important as the flight itself. If you rush through these procedures or avoid doing all the items on the list then you could put yourself in danger.
Your teacher may also notice these bad habits and decide that you are ready to be a pilot.
While the plane might be checked by a mechanic or supervisor during routine inspections, it is the pilot who is responsible for the condition of the plane. Therefore, the student should get in the habit of thoroughly performing inspections before and after their flight.
6. Doing a Checklist From Memory
The checklist for pilots can be lengthy, from ensuring the flight controls are working properly to idling the engine. These duties should also be done in order. But, even the most experienced pilots shouldn’t go through a checklist from memory.
This is especially true for students just starting their training. Always keep a checklist on a clipboard and mark off the tasks once they are completed. By marking each item, you can show your teacher that you completed each task and reassure yourself that you didn’t miss anything.
If you try to do the checklist procedures from memory you may miss something or confuse yourself, thinking that you completed a task when you didn’t. Doing the same practice every day may start to blend days together. Put a date on your checklist so that you know what you accomplished each day.
7. Trying to Control the Plane Too Much
It is normal to be nervous flying a plane for the first time. This can cause a student pilot to control the plane too much by grabbing the yoke with all their strength.
By putting too much force on the controls, you will cause the plane to get misdirected. This often leads to diversion from the right altitudes.
Instead, lightly touch the yoke and let the plane guide slowly in the right direction under your guidance.
8. Choosing to Learn Without a Personal Mentor
Going to a pilot school is necessary to get a pilot certification. However, not everyone may have a personal mentor unless they ask for one.
A mentor is more than a teacher. A teacher will show you how to fly a plane using textbooks, but a mentor will be your guide in the sky to share wisdom and focus on your growth as a pilot.
You can keep your mentor as long as you require one even after graduating from a pilot program. They will give you more confidence as a pilot and make sure that you are ready for solo flying.
Student Pilot Mistakes Can Cost You a Career
These student pilot mistakes can lead to dangerous situations, which could keep you from achieving your goals. Plus, you will put yourself or your teacher in harm’s way by taking pilot lessons lightly.
However, if you follow all the protocols then you will become a great pilot in no time.
Start reading about your future pilot career in more of our articles.
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