From Student Pilot to Private Pilot: What You Need to Study

 From Student Pilot to Private Pilot: What You Need to Study

As a Certified Flight Instructor a common question I get from student pilots and those interested in taking flight lessons is: “What should I study?” That’s an excellen  t question because, unfortunately a lot of students pilots are so excited to fly they neglect the importance of reading and studying. Irrespective of whether or not you decide to enroll in a formal ground school, I highly recommend reading and studying the following materials:

1) The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge: This is a book published by the FAA which contains most of the information you will need to know in order to pass your FAA knowledge test and become a private pilot. The FAA provides this book for free on their website or if you prefer to read the hard copy, it can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or at most airport shops.

2) The Airplane Flying Handbook: This is another book published by the FAA. Whereas the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge deals with subjects such as weather and aeronautical charts, the Airplane Flying Handbook deals with how to fly an airplane and the maneuvers you will need to know in order to pass your Practical Test (checkride) and become a private pilot. The FAA provides this book for free on their website or you can purchase a hard copy.

3) The FAR/AIM: The Federal Aviation Regulations (Title 14 of the code of federal regulations) and the Aeronautical Information Manual are often put together to form a book. With respect to the Federal Aviation Regulations you need to be mostly concerned with Part 61 and Part 91. Part 61 deals with the rules regarding flight training and pilot certificates. Part 91 deals with general operation and flight rules. The Aeronautical Information Manual is a publication of the FAA. The AIM contains basic flight information and ATC procedures. You can read the AIM for free on the FAA’s website and you can also find the federal aviation regulations (14CFR) online. I prefer to have a hard copy of the FAR/AIM book which you can buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or at a pilot shop.

4) The POH: If you are taking flight lessons you should study, in detail, the Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the specific type of airplane you are training in. You can purchase a hard copy of the POH for common aircraft such as the Cessna 172 at most airport shops. Because they tend to be expensive and are required to be in the aircraft, some students choose to study them at their flight school. However, it’s a good idea to have your own copy to study at home. One important thing to remember is that each individual aircraft, depending on it’s equipment, will have a unique empty weight and center of gravity location. In order to perform an accurate weight and balance calculation, you will need the most current weight and balance information for your plane. (usually found in a sheet attached to the weight & balance section of the POH)

5) The Practical Test Standards: This is your guide to the practical test, often referred to as the checkride, or the final test you take to become a private pilot. You should have a copy and be studying the PTS from the beginning of your training because it contains information about all of the tasks that you will ultimately need to perform on your practical test and the standards you must meet in order to pass. You can purchase the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards at most airport shops or access it for free at the FAA’s website.

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