So you want to start taking flight lessons to learn to fly and officially become a pilot?
Good for you! There are about 617,128 active pilots in the United States, which is about 0.2% of the US population - that's ZERO POINT TWO percent, or two out of every thousand people in the country.
It's a very exclusive club.
And it's a club that is open to everyone who is willing to take the time and put in the work to earn the right to join.
Smart Flight Training is here to make your flight training journey as enjoyable as possible, and to make sure it gets done right for you, right from the start.
Becoming a pilot is not simple. It is not easy. What it is, however, is fun. It's challenging. It's confidence-building. And it's something that very few people can say they have done.
So let's talk about what it takes to learn to fly and become a pilot.
Ground School & Knowledge
There is a LOT to learn when you start to learn to fly, and there are a lot of ways to get the knowledge you need:
- Structured Ground School Class
- One-on-one with your flight instructor
Each of these has pros and cons.
For instance, one-on-one ground training with your flight instructor is personalized and thorough, but it takes a lot of time and gets very expensive (you pay your instructor by the hour, usually). Additionally, many flight instructors don't like to do ground training - flight instructors like to fly! There are exceptions, of course, and you will always do SOME ground training with your instructor, but there are better, more efficient (and less expensive!) ways to get the knowledge you need!
Self-study seems like it might be a way to save a lot of money while obtaining the knowledge the Federal Aviation Administration requires of all pilots, and in a way, it is; however, you don't have an instructor to answer your specific questions, and you may think you have understood something correctly when you have actually misunderstood. These misunderstandings mean your flight instructor has to not only teach you the correct understanding, but "un-teach" the misunderstanding. This, again, adds time and cost to your training.
A structured ground school class offers you the best of both worlds - you get the knowledge you need (there will be assignments and things to study on your own), but while you are in class, you also get the expertise of a flight or ground instructor - someone who understands the material and knows it well - who can explain it to you before a potential misunderstanding of the concepts and subject matter takes hold. This ensures that you understand it right the first time. But you also have to attend the classes when they are scheduled - and that just simply doesn't work for most busy people.
Smart Flight Training offers the best of all the above - our ground school offers you the ability to self-study on your schedule, but also have access to a certified flight instructor on a regular basis to answer your questions, clear up any confusion, and make sure you "get it." This makes your (expensive) time with your flight instructor go much more smoothly, saving you time and money, and getting you in the air more quickly - which is really the goal here, right?
Smart Flight Training's ground School covers everything you need for both knowledge and skill - not just what you need to know, but also how to apply it all - and how it all relates and correlates to everything else you need to learn. And sometimes, it'll teach a little about life and not just flying, too.
For ground school knowledge, your modules include:
- Airplane Systems
- Principles of Aerodynamics
- The Flight Environment
- Aviation Communication
- Aviation Meteorology
- FAA Regulations
- Weather Data Sources and Interpretation
- Aircraft Performance
- Principles of Human Factors & Physiology
- Cross-Country Flying
Flight Training is where the rubber meets the road, so to say. I guess more accurately, it's where the rubber leaves the pavement.
Smart Flight Training's ground school can't take care of the actual flying that you have to do to learn to fly, but we won't leave you in the dark for that part of your training, either.
Throughout the ground school modules, there will also be information about the maneuvers you will learn with you own flight instructor. This information will be written, images, audio, and video explaining what you will learn, what it will feel like, what it will look like, and what to expect when you go up with your instructor and practice.
This will prepare you for the real thing by taking away any question of what is happening to the airplane and what you will do during these maneuvers. Your instructor will explain them in his or her own way before the flight, too, but when you are prepared in every way possible, your apprehension is at a minimum, and you can concentrate on flying the airplane and learning how to make it do what you want it to do, instead of just being along for the ride the first few times before figuring it all out.
Again, this saves you time and money, and gets you to your end goal of becoming a pilot sooner.
Examples of maneuvers that you will see demonstrated and learn about during the ground school sessions include:
- Steep Turns
- Stalls (both power-off stalls and power-on stalls)
- Ground Reference Maneuvers
- Performance Take-offs and Landings
- Unusual Attitudes
- Night Flight
- Emergency Descents
- and more...
What to Expect on the Checkride
All of the above, including the time you spend with your flight instructor in the air, will prepare you thouroughly for your written test (now known as the knowledge test) and your checkride with an FAA examiner.
The knowledge test is taken at a designated knowledge testing facility (lasergrade and CATS have locations all over the country), and if you have completed all the lessons in the ground school, Smart Flight Training guarantees that you will pass the first time, or we pay for your retest.
Your checkride will consist of knowledge questions during an oral portion, which will include items the examiner saw that you missed on the written test / knowledge test. You will also accomplish a practical portion during the checkride, where you fly with the examiner and demonstrate your mastery of the aircraft and the maneuvers you have learned with your flight instructor.
Here again, if you fail a checkride based on your knowledge during the oral portion of your checkride, Smart Flight Training will pay your retest fee. Since we did not fly with you, however, we can't offer a guarantee on the practical portion of your checkride. Talk to your instructor about that!
Smart Flight Training's Online Ground School
Smart Flight Training's ground school is still under construction at the moment, but if you are interested in learning more or getting on our waiting list, please enter your name and email below to get on the waiting list! If you are on the waiting list before we launch, you will be able to get our training at 50% off (this will save you at least $100)!