Change of Scenery

Slow flight OSThere will be days during your training when it seems tough to get excited about another lesson consisting of basic flight maneuvers. Don’t worry, this is completely normal and your instructor obviously has good intentions. Refining the skills required by these maneuvers will ultimately make you a more capable and well-rounded pilot. But of course one of the main reasons you’re learning to fly in the first place is for the fun of it. And if you ever find yourself losing interest in the next flight lesson it’s time for a change of scenery.

One of the best ways to break up the maneuvers phase of your flight training is to leave your local airport environment and fly to new airport. Even better find an airport that has a restaurant on the field, and make time to grab breakfast or lunch with your instructor. Don’t worry if you haven’t learned cross-country flying yet — your CFI will talk you through it. Flying is all about traveling to new places, and what better way to experience what it means to be a pilot then flying to a new airport for lunch.

A few days later when it’s time to practice your maneuvers again, try scheduling your flight lesson at a different time of day. For example if you regularly fly during the afternoon in the hot summertime turbulence, try a few lessons in the morning when the temperature is cool and the air is still. Or if you normally fly during the week in between school or work, try a few weekend lessons when you have less on your mind.

When practicing landings, a change of scenery can make all the difference in the world. While you can save time by staying at your home airport for repeated takeoff and landing practice, you may find it beneficial when having trouble with the traffic pattern and landings to head to a new airport for a new perspective.

If your flight school is based at a non-towered airport, ask your instructor to take you to a towered-airport for multiple landings. Your instructor can take care of the radio calls while you concentrate on flying the airplane, and you’ll enjoy the sights and sounds at the bigger airport while fitting in with a new mix of air traffic.

At the same time if you regularly operate out of a towered-airport, fly over to a non-towered field for some practice. There’s a good chance the Van Nuys Finalrunway will be shorter to help you hone your speed and touchdown control, and the lack of a control tower will give you more flexibility with your traffic-pattern work.

Your instructor should notice when your interest begins to wander, but don’t feel like you have to wait for them to mix things up. You should always be open with them and speak up if you want a change of scenery during your lessons, even if only for a lesson or two. You’ll be instantly reminded of how much fun flying truly is and learn valuable skills along the way.

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Bret is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s professional pilot program, and has been a flight instructor for over 10 years. During his time as a check airman for Sporty’s Academy, he has earned FAA Gold Seal and NAFI Master Instructor accreditations. Bret specializes in advanced avionics training, and especially enjoys working with students learning glass cockpit systems, WAAS GPS units, and iPad and Android tablets in the cockpit. He currently flies both professionally and for fun in a variety of aircraft, from Cessna Skycatchers to a Cessna Citation. Bret is also a Vice President at Sporty’s Academy, where he develops innovative new aviation training products in video, online and mobile app formats.