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December 02, 2022
So you’ve decided you want to pursue a career in aviation, and you’re scouring the internet for information on how you can prepare for a flight training school. If you haven’t yet, first, you’ll want to decide which training path to take: a university degree or private flight school.
Then you can begin to develop the skills and qualities you’ll need to be a successful, safe, and well-qualified pilot as you navigate how to prepare for flight school.
Universities and colleges across the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world offer flight training programs that train and certify you to become a pilot while you earn a Bachelor’s degree.
For example, Purdue University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Flight as part of its School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. This program empowers students to pursue a variety of pilot paths after graduation, including:
If you want to become a pilot and you’ve chosen the university path, make sure to research the application requirements for each college you’re considering.
This may include:
If you haven’t taken the prerequisite courses yet, you might want to look at your local community college or online, a well-written essay, or other requests that will be specific to each school.
A university program is often the preferred path for high school students who know they want to be pilots or for young professionals who are interested in going back to school to change career paths or earn a Master’s degree in aviation.
While you may have your heart set on one university’s aviation program, apply to several so that if you don’t get into your top choice, you may have multiple options.
If you already have a Bachelor’s degree or aren’t interested in pursuing the college path, then you may want to seek a pilot license at a private flight school.
First, decide what kind of pilot license you want. Ask yourself the following questions:
While many flight schools train for both private pilot licenses and commercial pilot licenses, take time to research schools in your area to ensure they provide exactly what you’re searching for.
If they don’t, are you willing to either move closer or commute to a flight school that meets your needs? For example, the ATP flight school is a popular school that has 71 locations throughout the US and can be used to help you jump into a commercial aviation job.
But if you don’t live in one of those areas and you are currently unable to move close to one, but you might have the means to in the near future, then work on building the skills and qualities discussed below before launching into your pilot training.
Another factor to consider is what kind of time commitment you’re able to make. Some flight schools allow you to obtain your commercial pilot license in as little as nine months of full-time training.
Are you able to take nine months off of work to quickly obtain your commercial license? If not, some schools also offer flexible programs for working professionals, which will extend the length of time you’re in training but will allow you to continue to work while obtaining your license.
While this is by no means comprehensive, and we encourage you to find a pilot mentor to help guide you along your path, the three C’s listed below are absolutely vital to develop as you learn to be a pilot. You can begin to hone them now before you’ve even chosen which flight school path to take.
These three C’s are concentration, communication, and composure.
Think about this:
If you answered yes to any of those questions, start working on concentration now.
While pilot distraction is responsible for fewer dangerous plane incidents than other factors, it has been blamed for its share of fatalities or near accidents.
In 2009, Northwest Airlines Flight 188 overshot its destination by 150 miles because of pilot distraction, which set off panic on the ground that the plane had been hijacked. While this story has a happy ending and no one was injured, it’s a prime example of how distracted flying can lead to disastrous consequences.
The FAA has created a simple two-page document that outlines distractions that pilots will undeniably face, and it includes resources to help you understand how to deal with these distractions.
Start working on concentration now. Develop the skills you’ll need to be able to concentrate while still allowing crucial information to filter in.
Communicating well is an essential key to being a good pilot. In fact, we think it’s so important that we created an entire app to help pilots and pilots in training practice communicating better.
When you’re training to be a pilot, proper communication will be covered extensively, and flight instructors are trained to help you develop strong communication skills and avoid common pitfalls of bad communication.
However, until good communication becomes muscle memory, you should listen and practice as much as possible. LiveATC allows you to listen to air traffic control at hundreds of airports around the world. While this doesn’t enable you to practice your own communication skills, it can help your communication knowledge to listen to how the professionals do it.
For developing your communication skills, we encourage you to subscribe to our app in order to practice communicating with ATC. You won’t be communicating directly with ATC, so there is no need to worry if you’re a newbie. However, the app simulates what it’s like and tests you on your skills.
And finally, we come to the last C: composure.
As a pilot, you may face situations that are unexpected and unfamiliar, and those types of situations often provoke a fear response. That fear response is normal, but you need to know how to cope with it and still provide safe and confident leadership.
Your flight instructors will teach you how pilots cope with frightening and stressful situations, but you can also spend time understanding the biology of fear and learn what neuroscientists say about training your brain and body to cope with fear and extreme stress.
Another way to learn about composure in stressful flight situations is to read about how pilots have dealt with emergencies, both successfully and, tragically, less successfully. For example, the study linked above shows that it’s easier to maintain your composure when you’re:
While the path to becoming a pilot will depend on your life circumstances and your preferences, the skills and qualities you’ll need to develop are universal. Check out PlaneEnglish’s resources and download our app today to begin gaining confidence in communicating with air traffic control.
September 22, 2023
You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last, but knowing that you’re not alone probably does little to help you feel any less nauseous as you reach for the infamous “barf bag” mid-flight.
We’re sorry you’re suffering from airsickness, but it is not hopeless - far from it. Let’s talk about airsickness & motion sickness in pilot training.
June 21, 2023
When you close your eyes and imagine the career of your dreams, what does that life look like?
For many pilots, the perfect job is sliding behind the controls as a pilot in command of a scheduled airline flight or charter.
March 22, 2023
You’ve made the bold leap and are chasing your dream of becoming a pilot. Congratulations – we know how it feels to count down the days to earning your wings.
Today we’re talking about the timeline from starting training to earning your certification, plus ways to shave time off that journey while maximizing learning. So, how hard is it to become a pilot? Read on to find out.
Are you ready? Let’s get you up in the air!
PlaneEnglish created this blog to provide aspiring and current pilots a resource for all things related to aviation radio communication.
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