What is Involved in Flying Lessons

By: Les Batchelor

Flying is exciting but it takes place in a challenging environment and slip-ups can be brutally penalized.

Aviation errors occurred from lack of knowledge in the early days. It was soon realised that, to minimise the dangers, experience considered necessary to be passed on.

That process is called ‘Flying Lessons’. The guidance of a pilot has changed. Today’s pilot requires to know about the theory of all the different elements connected with aviation as well as the practical handling of an actual aeroplane. Training follows a specific syllabus which is divided into flying lessons. Here we will look at the flying lessons for a Private Pilot Licence.

Academic training consists of the following:
Navigation and radio navigation, Air Law and procedures, Meteorology, Human performance and limitations, Aircraft general including Principles of flight, Communications, Flight performance and planning.

A written test is obligatory with pass marks at 75% in all subjects. The work is done by self study with guidance from the Instructor at PPL level.Some schools have qualified ground instructors and provide lectures. Simulators are now part of the guidance programme. Most schools have them and they range from the sophisticated (airline simulators) to simple machines for club use.

Flying lessons can all be usefully experienced on such machines. The Instructor gives a briefing for each flying lesson. The detail of what is going to be done in the air and on the ground is covered in the briefing.

Included in the briefing is the weather, details of the flying lesson, and, where it will take place. The instructor will explain the flying lesson and it’s stages and the safety aspects to consider during transit and during the lesson. The Air Traffic Control and Radio requirements will be covered and any notices or warnings that may be current for the day.

Observation and the correct handing over of control procedures will be emphasised by the instructor. It is essential to know who is actually holding the controls and very clear ‘You have control’ followed by ‘I have control’ establishes an exchange from one pilot to the other. This typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.

Following the briefing the pilots check the paperwork and sign out on the authorisation sheet with the instructor authorising the flight. The subsequent phase of the Flying lesson is the ‘walk round’. Using the check lists the pilots will walk round the plane and check for oil leaks, damage, fuel and oil levels, operation of controls, tyres, for cuts and inflation, propellers for damage etc.

Utilization of the check list ensures nothing is ignoreed. The pilots enter the cockpit and strap in, once they are satisfied all is well externally, then they complete the internal checks. The checks completed the engine is started and taxy clearance obtained from Air Traffic Control.
The aircraft will be taxied to the holding point along the taxiway and the brakes and instruments will be checked while the plane is moving. Pre take-off checks will be carried out at the holding point with the aircraft facing into wind

After completing the checks and obtaining clearance the aircraft enters the runway for take off. Flying lessons follow this pattern and each lesson is recorded in the student’s log book.

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Les Batchelor is a retired RAF Pilot, with over 20 years experience in training commercial pilots. If you are interested in introductory flying lessons , then watch the free video on how to become a pilot in UK by clinking the link.

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