The Journey of Becoming a Pilot Begins with Flight Training

Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe annually decide to join various flight training programs to become pilots. People follow their dreams despite the fact that flight training can get quite expensive and lengthy. First, aspiring pilots choose a flight school, and then they begin their flight training. Some student pilots want only a recreational pilot licence while others want to pursue a private pilot licence. And a few others decide to obtain a basic commercial pilot licence. Only a small number of those signing up for flight training will go on to obtain an airline transport pilot licence.

Flight Training – Flying Lessons and Ground School

The flight training involves both flight lessons in an airplane or a simulator and classroom studies. The classes are called “ground school”, and this is where you will use the pilot study guides. Just as a university student needs textbooks, there are study guides for learning to become a pilot. The properly selected books will help you learn how an airplane works, theory of flight, airmanship, rules of flying, and basic navigation skills for cross-country flying. Like learning any new skill, the student pilot must commit a certain amount of time and money to be successful. This includes carefully researching flight schools and buying all of the required pilot supplies to successfully accomplish flight training.

Frequent Flying Lessons

Once you have chosen which flight school to attend, you must next get the necessary pilot supplies. The flight school should be able to take care of your pilot supply needs. They know what a student pilot needs to have and usually keep those supplies in stock. However based on my personal experience, I suggest the set of essential pilot supplies ideally should be composed of thirteen items.

The List of Essential Pilot Supplies

  1. Aviation Headset
  2. Kneeboard
  3. Flight Bag
  4. Books
  5. Logbook
  6. E6B Flight Computer
  7. Charts
  8. Flight Timer
  9. Plotter
  10. IFR Training Glasses
  11. Flashlight
  12. Fuel Tester
  13. Sunglasses

Your flight training school will also help you set and achieve goals towards obtaining your pilot licence. Since everyone learns at a different rate, you may progress faster or slower than some other student pilots. However it cannot be more overemphasized it is crucial to make regular and frequent bookings with a flight instructor. An absence of a week or more between flying lessons often means that you need to go back and repeat something that you have already learned but may have forgotten in the time since your last lesson.

Two the most important pilot supplies

In addition to the flight training textbooks, there are pilot supplies that you will need to have with you in the airplane. The two items that I found most helpful are the aviation headset and the kneeboard.

Aviation headset – the most useful pilot supply

A good aviation headset is one of the most critical of all pilot supplies, whether you are a beginning student pilot or an old professional flyer. When I learned to fly in the early 1970s, we did not use headsets. We used a hand-held microphone to speak on the radio, and there was a speaker in the ceiling of the cabin. The student and instructor spoke to each other without an intercom. Although the engine noise is very high in small airplanes, I flew for years with no headset on my head. And this is the major reason that I now wear two hearing aids. Now it is universal practice to use a good quality headset for working the radio and to be connected to the intercom for student/instructor or pilot/passenger communication.

Kneeboard – must have pilot supply in the cockpit

The kneeboard is a small clipboard with an elastic strap which is attached to your leg, above the knee. It allows you to hold maps, or “charts” as we call them in aviation. It also holds a pad and pen for writing down important information that you need to refer to in flight. This includes airport information, such as field elevation, circuit height, radio frequencies, etc. You can also note weather, winds, and instructions from Air Traffic Control.

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Doug Scott

I began to follow my own dream of becoming a pilot in the early 1970s. I have a float rating and experience bush flying in Northern Ontario, and I have extensive cross-country experience in both Canada and the United States. I have a glider pilot and glider instructor licence, and I have spent many hundreds of hours towing gliders using nose wheel and tail wheel aircraft. I am the editor of "Freeflight", the magazine of the Soaring Association of Canada, and I hold a current FAI World Record for flying a 1943 U.S. Army Air Force aircraft from Los Angeles to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, with a stop at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

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