Ready for take off

Part 3, The first flight

So you've picked a school and an instructor, now the real fun begins.

1st day, go down early (try to do this every day, as the instructors time is money, this is their bread and butter and they only make enough money for bread and butter, actually butter is a luxury on a CFI salary). By being at the airport early, you aren't rushed and stressed. You'll be prepared. I recommend showing up at least 15 to 30 minutes before your scheduled start time.

Spend some time with the instructor to build a training plan. A good school will already have this for you. You'll go over the PTS, the practical test standards, which are the specific things you need to know in order to earn your pilot certificate. By putting this together the 1st day you'll know in advance what to expect each day and what you need to focus on. All too often I hear students showing up and the CFI asks the student what do they want to work on today. If your CFI is asking you this there is a problem. By having a plan in place when you start your training, you will know what you need to be studying for before each lesson and know what the criteria is to pass that lesson. You will repeat lessons, a lot. But knowing the standard you need to achieve will make it easier to obtain success.

Now that you have the plan out of the way. You'll probably go take your first training flight. Before you go fly though the instructor will walk you through a preflight of the aircraft. You should preflight the aircraft before every flight. If you have time the instructor should do the walk around with you. Identify things on the check list and point out the things you need to be looking for. Once that’s done, it's time to go fly.

I like to take my students on a cross country trip to a different airport. It gives the student a feel for what its like to be a pilot. You'll do some cross country flying, some easy maneuvering, do a little navigation, some radio calls, and if you are lucky land and take off. If you are really lucky, you'll land and have lunch at an airport dinner.
During your flight you might feel a bit sick to your stomach, this is normal. Motion sickness will pass with time. You'll eventually get used to it. I suffered horribly when I was first learning to fly. There are all sorts of tricks to beating motion sickness without medicines. I'll cover that in a different article. But don't let it discourage you at the beginning of your training.

After the flight you'll go back to the flight school discuss any questions. Go over the next flight and any suggested study material you should review. About this time the instructor might start to suggest you do some purchases.

We'll cover that in part 4.....

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