Whether talking about flight training or any other type of training, in most cases, proper preparation can save you a lot of frustration and money. The only time that I can think of that it won’t help is if you happen to study the wrong material and you have to unlearn your home study materials.
In a recent post on paying for flight training, Chief Radtke briefly touched on being prepared as a way to save money on your flight training. This post will expound on that information, get into a few more details, and offer some additional suggestions.
What Should I Study?
Recently, I spent a week at SkyBlue Jet Aviation, a flight school in Stuart, Florida, that offers jet transition training using an Advanced Aviation Training Device and the actual jet aircraft. In my case, I went there to earn my Citation 500 type rating. After deciding on the school for my training, one of the first things I asked was, “What should I know before I arrive?” My training coordinator at the school obliged with an email containing several documents and instructions for studying them.
“What should I study?” or “What should I know before I arrive?” should also be questions that you ask of any flight training organization before you start. If your contact at the school or the flight instructor that you are planning to spend your hard earned money with can’t provide you with or direct you to material to review before your training, I would suggest looking for another flight training provider.
As Chief Radtke said in his article, you should “own your training experience.”
Find out what type of aircraft the flight training organization will be using, including the make, model, and year. If multiple aircraft will be used, find out what the school or instructor uses for their standard aircraft. Use this information to obtain a copy of the appropriate aircraft flight manual or pilot information manual. The flight school should be able to steer you to the correct document. Depending on the aircraft, some manufacturers post a PDF of the manual on their website. You may also be able to obtain a copy from a reputable aircraft manual dealer.
At Sporty’s Academy, we direct new primary students to begin studying our “Learn to Fly” course prior to arriving for training. If a student walks in the door and wants to start tomorrow, we will get them started with the “Learn to Fly” course material immediately in conjunction with the flight training. We also encourage them to become familiar with our maneuver’s guide. This may make less sense to the student prior to training but is very valuable for “chair flying” or practicing between flights once the training has begun.
Experience has shown that students who study both before and during their flight training are more likely to have a successful outcome and smoother training experience. Time spent studying pays off in both shorter training and reduced costs.
Advanced flight training clients are also encouraged to prepare. Depending on their course of training, we may direct them to Sporty’s Instrument Rating Course, So You Want to Fly Twins, Sporty’s Garmin G1000 Checkout course, or So You Want To Fly Gliders, just to name a few. We also have other internal documents, workbooks, worksheets, and checklists that we will ask the student to review before arrival.
Getting the study suggestions directly from the training provider will help to ensure that you don’t have to unlearn any bad information obtained from another source.
While my own week in Florida was very intense and my instructors did a great job (thanks all!), arriving as well prepared as I could and spending a few extra hours each evening at the hotel, along with an excellent course of instruction, made my final checkride a success. I didn’t see much of the beach that week but that was not why I was there. I had a mission to complete and I owned my training experience.
I hope that you will own your training experience as well.