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What They Don't Teach You In Flight School

Aug 17, 2007
Most flight schools endeavor to teach you the rudimentary basics of flying but just like a driving school they cannot really recreate some of the anomalies that actually can occur during normal flying over a period of time.

Some of the more common problems one might run into include crosswinds, short runways, and poor visibility. Now, if you haven't encountered any of these in the course of your normal training you will undoubtedly feel apprehensive about flying in these kinds of conditions unless you are complete idiot.

Fortunately there is a relatively easy fix to this problem. All you have to do is just take stock of those things you are not comfortable with and then schedule some specialized intensive training focused on those areas.

Regarding crosswinds, you should definitely plan on spending at least three or four hours training on this area alone. You want to be instructed on how to handle the worst crosswinds your instructor is willing to teach you in. Aim for at least twelve knots. Do not settle for less than this and don't skimp on the training time, this is one of the most crucial areas for a pilot to be sharp on.

Next, you should schedule some training on how to handle shorter runways. While training you have probably gotten used to the standard longer runways of 3,500 feet or more but if you are like many you will definitely encounter shorter runways, especially if you fly into some of the smaller islands in the Bahamas. You don't have to necessarily learn to stop on dime sized 1200 footer but you should be comfortable landing on a runway of 2,000 feet or so.

When training to land on short runways two things are absolutely crucial to your success, the instructor and a true short runway. Believe me it makes a real difference when you only have 2,000 feet before you run into trees as opposed to just a 2,000 foot mark on a 5,000 foot runway. Many instructors may not be comfortable with this, find one that is.

The third area we are looking at here is weather conditions and visibility. Depending upon where you had your training you may or may not have experienced much limited visibility. If you received your training on the upper East Coast of the United States you have probably seen some pretty overcast conditions but if you trained in the Southwestern U.S. you probably had virtually unlimited conditions most of the time.
Regardless, you should schedule some specific training in conditions that are barely above the minimum allowable flying situations so you will be comfortable with it and know how to use your instruments properly.

There are other areas you should have specific training in as well not the least of which is flying a loaded plane. You probably only flew with you and your instructor while training so you definitely want to take an intensified course of at least ten hours with a loaded down plane. Believe me, it is a huge difference taking off and landing with a loaded plane.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. For aircraft accessories and pilot gear go to http://www.aircraftaccessoriesplus.com
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