Training Beyond the Certificate


mooneyThere’s no doubt your checkride was conducted within the parameters of the PTS and you demonstrated quality decision making skills and judgment, but that’s just the beginning.  Earning a pilot certificate is a special accomplishment.  It also comes with the responsibility to continue learning and refining those skills through practice.  Creating a plan for doing so will only enhance your aviation experiences and provide even greater personal enrichment.

Practice landings.  A wise person once told me you can’t practice anything effectively unless you have goals and a method to measure progress.  In terms of making more consistent landings, this means examining your landings with a critical eye.  Some things to consider:

Speed – are your pattern speeds correct and consistent through all legs

SmallAirplanePassOverhead01PreviewImageAiming & Touchdown points – are you maintaining the discipline to select aiming and touchdown points for every landing and making those touchdown points

Flare & Touchdown – are you appropriately trading airspeed for altitude in the form of a shallower descent in the flare and touching down as the wings stall

Runway alignment – are you on centerline with the longitudinal axis parallel to the runway

Go-Arounds – are you following your own rules for a stable approach and executing a go-around when appropriate.

Judge your improvement on the quality of your “bad” landings.  And practice under a variety of conditions (wind, configuration, time of day, etc.) to better hone your visual cues and mastery of the airplane.

Practice abnormal procedures.  Read the wonderfully insightful section of your POH that includes an expanded discussion of abnormal and emergency procedures.  On your next flight, review the table of contents for the emergency section and select an event you haven’t practiced.  Follow the checklist for that item and understand the “why” behind it.  This exercise will not only prepare you for real-time abnormals, but will ensure a better understanding of your aircraft’s systems.


Finally, fly.  There’s nothing better for proficiency than to fly more and visit new places.

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It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. "While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice." He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.