Performing well under stress requires focus, confidence, and commitment. That’s what most of us hope to gain when doing flight training.
We all have bad flying days, but training can help make sure those days happen much less often or even better…never.
In order to have good training though we need to get into the right mindset.
In this article, we break down some tips and tricks to do just that.
Training Time Is Finite
Everyone is busy and flight training isn’t the only thing most of us have to do. You only have so much time to train and all training has an opportunity cost associated with it.
So the best thing you can do is focus on building the basics and then increasing the toughness and realness of conditions while continuing to build and build upon them.
For example, in the structure of Aviate-Navigate-Communicate poorly executed turns and radio calls on the same flight do not deserve equal training time to correct.
The suggestion: improve the stick and rudder skills first and then increase the difficulty by reincorporating communication skills.
Get Deep Practice In
The most important part of learning a physical skill is practice.
But random practice won’t really get you anywhere.
However, practice that’s focused and organized will.
When you practice a motor skill you’ll eventually learn to coordinate muscles to act as a single functional unit.
As you improve, performing complex motor patterns in flying become smoother, quicker, and more relaxed.
If you have your stick and rudder skills solid, you can devote more mental energy to critical tasks like situational awareness, risk management, and decision making.
If basic skills like roll, yaw, pitch, power, straight lines, and curves are properly managed then the advanced version is the ability to perform those basics under extreme conditions.
Stable, safe environments where you can perform procedural practice and scenario-based training at home is where flight simulators prove to be extremely useful.
Structure Your Practice
Quality beats quantity when it comes to flight training… and well… most things for that matter.
To get quality practice you can follow these 3 rules:
- Chunk it — Break down your training into parts and slow the process down
- Repeat it — Repetition is essential. Any skills you can easily lose should be practiced regularly.
- Feel it — Learn to know when it feels right and when it feels wrong.
We all want to practice smarter and not harder.
A few easy ways to do that is by:
Using a flight simulator - The smartest way to do flight training is with a flight simulator. You will be able to train more, in less time, for less money. Plus you will have the safety to perform all kinds of procedures in any type of conditions.
Dividing your practice time - This will help you avoid fatigue and focus on chunking your practice.
Know what you're going to fly before you practice - Have a plan for what you will be practicing, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there.
Take notes - This helps you see how you fixed things and break old habits as well as helps you understand your flying.
Debrief - It's very common these days amongst pilots to mount a GoPro in the cockpit with audio recording from the headset. This helps to be able to go over the flight performed and what you could improve.
Getting in the gith mindset for flight training is essential if you want to be successful. Whether that’s passing your check rides or getting your commercial license.
Check out these great books for further resources on flight training.
- The complete Private PIlot by Bob Gardner 11th Edition
- The Complete Advanced Pilot By Bob Gardner
- Instrument Flight Manual by William Kershner