Real Answers from Real Pilots

Preparing for Flight School

Hello, I am planning to start taking flight lessons in the next few moths and will be working toward my private pilot license. I am hoping to earn it by the end of the year, and plan on going forward to earn all of the ratings needed to become a commercial pilot. Is there anything I can be doing now to prepare for flight school and the PPL? Any particular books or videos I should check out? Thanks in advance!

What flight school did you decide to go to?

At ATP we have a full pre-study program with follow-up from dedicated pilot managers to help you arrive best-prepared. A lot of it will translate to wherever you’re training and I’m sure the mentors can weigh-in.

Hello Lindsey,

You didn’t ask about the best route to become a commercial pilot? If you had I would advice against doing it rating by rating as most people find that to be expensive and frustrating. But again you didn’t ask so I’ll assume for the moment you’ve decided on a path OR simply decided to work on your Private first which is fine.

My best recommendation would be to study for and complete the Private Pilot written exam (You can study for free with Sporty’s Study Buddy https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/learn-to-fly/faa-private-pilot-test-prep.html). It must be completed and frankly the material doesn’t really follow any curriculum so you wouldn’t be confusing that at all. My only caveats would be only take the written if you’re fairly confident you’ll be completing your Private Pilot training as the written expires after 2 years. I’d also visit the flight school you plan on attending and get their advice. They use certain books, courseware etc and this way you’re not purchasing things twice.

Adam

While I’d love to go to ATP, I live in Charleston, SC and your closest school is 3 hours away. I’m looking at starting at CRAFT Flight Training.

Hi Adam,

Thanks for all of the information! I’ll definitely check out Sporty’s Study Buddy. I’m working on my Private first and figured I’d move up to Commercial by getting each rating, but can you shed some light on another route to becoming a commercial pilot? You have me curious.

Lindsey,

Here’s the deal. There are many good local flight schools out there but most are not equipped to train students who want a career in aviation. When I started my training I too decided to go to a local flight school for convenience and “perceived” cost. It took me nearly 2 year and WAYYYY too much money to get my PPL. Not because I’m a lousy pilot, it’s just the way it is. For example, you go fly and it’s all good, the next week the weather is lousy, week after that the instructor isn’t available, week after that the aircraft is out for maintenance, before you know it’s been a month since you’ve flown and you’ve forgotten everything you learned. Expensive and VERY frustrating. There’s a reason the military and the airlines train daily. Consistency is key to success and that can often be difficult to do locally due to lack of resources (aircraft and instructors).

This is not btw a sales pitch for ATP or any other flight academy. All I’m saying is if you’re serious about flying for a career it might be a good idea think about training full time. While I appreciate this may be easier said than done and not everyone can take 6 mos off from life, it’s definitely something to strongly consider.

Adam

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