Above & Beyond Aviation mission statement is safe and affordable flying. One of the questions on almost every student’s mind is how can I afford to earn my private pilot certificate. Here are several tips that will help you keep your costs to a minimum.
1. Read, read, read and read some more. There is a ton of available information on the internet available for free. Start with the www.FAA.gov. The FAA has their Airplane Flying Handbook, the Aeronautical Knowledge Manual, and the FAR/AIM all available for free to read online or download. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, www.aopa.org, has a whole section of their website devoted to helping aspiring pilots. They will even send you their excellent flight training magazine for free. All you need to do is to sign up online.
2. Videos. Don’t enjoy reading? Or only so much reading you can do? Then watch videos on YouTube. Checkout one of my former students that has created a YouTube channel about learning to fly, Mr. Aviation 101. There are countless others also creating interesting videos online. Google flight training.
3. Create a Maneuvers Folder. Work with your instructor and create a step by step how to do each maneuver. This will come in handy later when practicing solo.
4. Add to your Maneuvers manual. Add the checklist for the aircraft you are training in highlighting those things you tend to forget. Add taxi diagrams, frequencies, pattern altitudes and entries to all the airports in your area that you’ll be training at.
5. Couch fly. After each lesson check with your instructor to determine what maneuvers you’ll be working on for your next lesson. Practice at home going through each maneuver step by step-what we call couch flying.
6. Setup your own basic simulator. All you need is a decent computer, a good yoke and rudder pedals, and software like Microsoft Flight Sim (MFS). MFS has practice lessons with a simulated instructor. Practice the lessons before and a day after your actual lesson. The simulator will teach you all the procedures and aircraft settings so that when you’re in the actual aircraft you can concentrate on learning how much of the controls you need to use.
7. Checkout Facebook groups. You’ll likely find a pilot group in your area. Join a group and look for pilots that enjoy being mentors. They often have an open seat they’ll share with you. You can learn a lot by simply riding along and watching how pilots fly their aircraft.
8. Be an airport bum. Hang out at the airport and engage other pilots. Pilots love to talk about piloting. Don’t forget to engage with the mechanics as they have especially important knowledge that they will share with you.
9. Learn from the mistakes of others. Checkout the National Transportation Safety Board’s website www.ntsb.gov. Search the type of aircraft that you are training in and learn from other pilots mistakes. Another good collection is Flying’s magazine, I Learned About Flying from That.
10. Once you learn how to do your preflight, arrive early and do your preflight before your instructor arrives. You can also use your phone to check the ATIS. This way you’re not wasting the instructors time.