Start by getting the medical and doing the ground school before touching an airplane. This saves you a ton of money, and you’ll gain an immediate leg up on the competition for your first job, more about that later.
Get An Aviation Medical
You will need to know which pilot license you want. If your desire is to fly commercially, (for pay), you’ll need a higher class of medical than if you choose to just get a license to fly your own, or a rental airplane.
You’ll also have the added benefit of knowing if you qualify before you start pouring money into training. A quick search of “aviation medical examiner near me” will help you find a local doctor in your area. Get the class of medical for the highest license you want to obtain. The medical examiner will know which that is.
You won’t be held back on waiting for a processing delay as well when your medical is done, a requirement of your first solo flight. This comes faster than you think.
Start Your Online Ground School
It’s time to make the first contact with your flight school. I wouldn’t worry too much about choosing the best flight school and adding costs. Every flight school will be regulated by Transport Canada or the FAA and have to meet requirements. Most of what makes a pilot successful depends on the student or pilot and much less on the instructor.
As long as your local flight school doesn’t have any terrible reviews, being local, for rests and costs will end up being lower if it’s already close to home.
When talking to the flight school, ask them about ground school options. Online is a very wise method to go with because you can revisit anything at your own pace. Some lessons will take more time and focus for you to complete.
Flight schools make money when you take a lesson, their goal today will not be to sell you a ground school program but to get you to take an introductory flight or familiarization flight. For anyone wanting to become a pilot this is a death sentence for cost savings.
If you already have a passion for flying, touching the controls and getting a chance to fly around and really experience this will most certainly set the hook. You’ll now be powering through ground school lessons because you want to get back in to fly more. Again, this will hurt your future career, I’ll talk about why later.
Keep focused on the objective here, I promise you, you will thank me later. Get your ground school and start going through it. You’ll likely require a single textbook which I highly recommend called “From The Ground Up”. A pilot’s bible or sorts, tons of core information in there it’s a must-have.
Start Your Flight Training
Finally, if you made it this far without cheating and going flying anyway, I commend you. I failed here. Those that have followed the steps, congratulations, you’re about to see how laying down a proper foundation building core knowledge will benefit you. I’ve watched others benefit.
The flight school monitors all student progress and discipline. Following lessons and showing up prepared is key to making the most out of flying. Each air exercise lesson should be reviewed an hour or two prior to actually going flying, this will help you make the most out of every flight.
Any interactions you have at the flight school, be positive, give your time to socialize, enjoy this moment. Build connections and help each other, the people you meet here will likely become lifelong friends. Later on, these will also be career connections and you can help each other out.
If you’re thinking you might like to build time as an instructor pilot, the flight school will be more than willing to hire another aviation professional. By following this guide, you’ll be set up.
I was extremely fortunate here, as my previous career was managing people in a large corporation, I put down the foundation without even knowing it. I had my first job offer months before I was qualified to fill the role. I took the job the day I passed my final flight test!
Write The Pilot Exam
Your first solo… WAY TO GO!! Congratulations, now it’s time for the last major push so you can really focus on the final part of your training. You’ll have a student pilot license at this point and a radio operator license.
The last part of this push is to get the written exam done. Try and have this completed in 2 weeks. You’ve got this! This will give you the mental energy you need for the last part of the pilot license where you build core experience and work on the harder lessons. Eliminating the distraction of the looming written test will help you with the final part.
Complete The Pilot Flight Test
You have all the pieces, you’ve done more than most if you’ve followed the guide. If you have you probably don’t even realize it, but the flight school has already had its eye on you. You have all the tools to take on the flight test and do well.
This can be nerve-wracking for almost all the people I’ve talked to about it. Some tips that will put your mind at ease.
- The instructor has recommended you for a flight test, because they already know that you have all the tools to succeed.
- You’ve demonstrated you have all the knowledge required, you passed the written test from your regulating body.
- Take your time with each excersize, if you didn’t do as well as you know you could have, just keep going. Forget about it immediately. NEXT EXCERSIZE! The time for a debrief is NOW NOW!
- If you haven’t turned back it’s a pass, keep going, you’re likely doing better than you think. We are often are worst critics.
Enjoy this moment, you’ve most definitely earned it. Take someone that will help you remember it forever for a flight! Get some pictures, I’ve never regretted taking too many photos or videos to help me relive the moments.