Student Pilot Overview
Although you can take lessons at any age, you must be at least 16 to fly an airplane solo. Until solo, all flights are with an instructor. An instructor will try to talk you through everything that you do. On rare occasions, I have had students in their first lesson takeoff and land the airplane. As long as you are responding appropriately, the instructor will let you fly until he needs to take over for safety reasons. You learn to fly by doing.
How many lessons a week should I have? All that you can afford and have time for. I had one student get his license in 28 days from the first lesson until he had his Private Pilot Certificate. We/he flew every day except Sunday. He did the homework that was assigned. If you can learn something on the ground, you can save paying for an expensive airplane with an instructor. If you take infrequent lessons, most of the lesson will be review with little new knowledge and skill. Two or three lessons a week are about minimum if you want minimal review
Initially, most of your lesson will be away from the airport where you will be away from traffic at a busy airport and at a safe altitude that allows you to develop your skills. The initial tasks are simple and progressively get more difficult. You will be busy and it is normal to be tired after a lesson because the instructor will be keeping you challenged all of the time. This allows you to progress as fast or as slow as you are able. As you acquire additional skills, you may start doing a few more takeoffs and landings each lesson. Soon you will spend all of your time in the traffic pattern practicing takeoffs and landings. At times your instructor may be instructing and at other times he may be observing how well you are doing.
As you are getting closer to your first solo, more emergency procedures are introduced to give you experience and knowledge of how to cope with them. If you are making perfect landings and the conditions are ideal with little wind, the instructor may upset your perfect landing so that you can have the practice of correcting the situation. This could simulate what might happen if you have a sudden gust of wind.
You are required to have passed your medical before your first solo. When you get your medical you also get your Student Pilot Certificate which becomes valid with your instructor's signature. It is recommended that you get your medical after a couple of lessons. By this time you would know if you like to continue taking flying lessons. Also, since everyone does not pass a flight physical, you would not have spent a lot of money if you couldn't pass a flight physical.
How many hours does it take to solo? That depends on your ability and conditions that you fly under. I have soloed students with as little as 8 hours and the maximum of 50+ hours with the average being about 15 at a controlled field and 2-3 hours less when there is not a control tower. One time I had two students of equal ability taking lessons. One soloed at 8 hours and the other 15. The one had only calm winds and the other always had strong crosswinds. The one that soloed in 8 hours did not solo again until he had about 16 hours because he now had the strong winds and had to learn to cope with them.
Now comes the big day. Your instructor will be evaluating everything that you have done. You have passed a simple test on aircraft procedures and knowledge needed to solo. When the instructor feels you're ready, he will sign your student license and make an endorsement in your log book. Typically you will be allowed to make up to 3 solo trips around the pattern with full stop landings. If at any time you feel you want to stop, feel free to do so. You are now a Student Pilot. You are restricted to the makes and models of aircraft that your instructor has endorsed on your Student Pilot Certificate and in your log book. You may never carry a passenger as a Student Pilot! You are still a Student Pilot.
After your first solo, the next few lessons will have less time with the instructor and more solo time. At all times, you will abide by the restrictions placed by your instructor who knows your strengths and weaknesses. Remember, your safety is #1.
Now is the time to leave the traffic pattern for a checkout of the practice area where you will get more proficient on all of your presolo airwork. I generally try to make this a very relaxed flight except that I start covering up instruments one a time until almost all are covered up. If I were to cover up the fuel gauge, do you know how much fuel you had before the beginning of the flight and how long it would last? If you know that you have 2 hours of fuel when you took off, then we ought to aim to be on the ground in an hour leaving approximately one hour for reserves upon landing.
At this point, you can go solo in the practice area which is about 10-15 miles from the airport. Here you will practice all of the maneuvers that you did with your instructor.
Remember that at all times you are under your instructor's care. He/she may leave instructions at the airport that you can't go solo if the wind is over ?. Each solo cross country must have your instructors endorsement verifying that he or another instructor has checked your planning including potential weather problems.Actually, a student pilot is much safer than a typical Private Pilot with 100-500 hours of experience because someone else is also looking out for your safety.
A Private Pilot Certificate is typically worth 6 credit hours if taken at college with three credits each for the written and flight portions. You should plan on spending a minimum of THREE hours of study for EACH flight! If you don't do your homework, it will cost you additional flight time and money.
What's next is covered under Recreational and Private Pilot.
Federal Aviation Regulation
Part 61 CERTIFICATION: PILOTS, FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS, AND GROUND INSTRUCTORS
Subpart C--Student Pilots - Airplane
Eligibility requirements for student pilots.
To be eligible for a student pilot certificate, an applicant must:
(a) Be at least 16 years of age for other than the operation of a glider or balloon.
(b) Be at least 14 years of age for the operation of a glider or balloon.
(c) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant's pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.
An application for a student pilot certificate is made on a form and in a manner provided by the Administrator and is submitted to:
(a) A designated aviation medical examiner if applying for an FAA medical certificate under part 67 of this chapter;
(b) An examiner; or
(c) A Flight Standards District Office.
Solo requirements for Student Pilots.
(a) General. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student has met the requirements of this section. The term "solo flight" as used in this subpart means that flight time during which a student pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft.
(b) Aeronautical knowledge. A student pilot must demonstrate satisfactory aeronautical knowledge on a knowledge test that meets the requirements of this paragraph:
(1) The test must address the student pilot's knowledge of--
(i) Applicable sections of parts 61 and 91 of this chapter;
(ii) Airspace rules and procedures for the airport where the solo flight will be performed; and
(iii) Flight characteristics and operational limitations for the make and model of aircraft to be flown.
(2) The student's authorized instructor must--
(i) Administer the test; and
(ii) At the conclusion of the test, review all incorrect answers with the student before authorizing that student to conduct a solo flight.
(c) Pre-solo flight training. Prior to conducting a solo flight, a student pilot must have:
(1) Received and logged flight training for the maneuvers and procedures of this section that are appropriate to the make and model of aircraft to be flown; and
(2) Demonstrated satisfactory proficiency and safety, as judged by an authorized instructor, on the maneuvers and procedures required by this section in the make and model of aircraft or similar make and model of aircraft to be flown.
(d) Maneuvers and procedures for pre-solo flight training in a single-engine airplane. A student pilot who is receiving training for a single-engine airplane rating must receive and log flight training for the following maneuvers and procedures:
(1) Proper flight preparation procedures, including preflight planning and preparation, powerplant operation, and aircraft systems;
(2) Taxiing or surface operations, including runups;
(3) Takeoffs and landings, including normal and crosswind;
(4) Straight and level flight, and turns in both directions;
(5) Climbs and climbing turns;
(6) Airport traffic patterns, including entry and departure procedures;
(7) Collision avoidance, windshear avoidance, and wake turbulence avoidance;
(8) Descents, with and without turns, using high and low drag configurations;
(9) Flight at various airspeeds from cruise to slow flight;
(10) Stall entries from various flight attitudes and power combinations with recovery initiated at the first indication of a stall, and recovery from a full stall;
(11) Emergency procedures and equipment malfunctions;
(12) Ground reference maneuvers;
(13) Approaches to a landing area with simulated engine malfunctions;
(14) Slips to a landing; and
(l) Limitations on student pilots operating an aircraft in solo flight. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student pilot has received:
(1) An endorsement from an authorized instructor on his or her student pilot certificate for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown; and
(2) An endorsement in the student's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown by an authorized instructor, who gave the training within the 90 days preceding the date of the flight.
(m) Limitations on student pilots operating an aircraft in solo flight at night. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight at night unless that student pilot has received:
(1) Flight training at night on night flying procedures that includes takeoffs, approaches, landings, and go-arounds at night at the airport where the solo flight will be conducted;
(2) Navigation training at night in the vicinity of the airport where the solo flight will be conducted; and
(3) An endorsement in the student's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown for night solo flight by an authorized instructor who gave the training within the 90-day period preceding the date of the flight.
(n) Limitations on flight instructors authorizing solo flight.
(1) No instructor may authorize a student pilot to perform a solo flight unless that instructor has--
(i) Given that student pilot training in the make and model of aircraft or a similar make and model of aircraft in which the solo flight is to be flown;
(ii) Determined the student pilot is proficient in the maneuvers and procedures prescribed in this section;
(iii) Determined the student pilot is proficient in the make and model of aircraft to be flown;
(iv) Ensured that the student pilot's certificate has been endorsed by an instructor authorized to provide flight training for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown; and
(v) Endorsed the student pilot's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown, and that endorsement remains current for solo flight privileges, provided an authorized instructor updates the student's logbook every 90 days thereafter.
(2) The flight training required by this section must be given by an instructor authorized to provide flight training who is appropriately rated and current.
NOTE: There is no minimum Aeronautical Experience in the FARS to solo but typically 12-15 hours followed by supervised solos.
(a) A student pilot may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft:
(1) That is carrying a passenger;
(2) That is carrying property for compensation or hire;
(3) For compensation or hire;
(4) In furtherance of a business;
(5) On an international flight
(6) With a flight or surface visibility of less than 3 statute miles during daylight hours or 5 statute miles at night;
(7) When the flight cannot be made with visual reference to the surface; or
(8) In a manner contrary to any limitations placed in the pilot's logbook by an authorized instructor.
Solo cross-country flight requirements.
(1) A student pilot must meet the requirements of this section before--
(i) Conducting a solo cross-country flight, or any flight greater than 25 nautical miles from the airport from where the flight originated.
(ii) Making a solo flight and landing at any location other than the airport of origination.
(2) A student pilot who seeks solo cross-country flight privileges must:
(i) Have received flight training from an instructor authorized to provide flight training on the maneuvers and procedures of this section that are appropriate to the make and model of aircraft for which solo cross-country privileges are sought;
(ii) Have demonstrated cross-country proficiency on the appropriate maneuvers and procedures of this section to an authorized instructor;
(iii) Have satisfactorily accomplished the pre-solo flight maneuvers and procedures required by Sec. 61.87 of this part in the make and model of aircraft or similar make and model of aircraft for which solo cross-country privileges are sought; and
(iv) Comply with any limitations included in the authorized instructor's endorsement that are required by paragraph (c) of this section.
(3) A student pilot who seeks solo cross-country flight privileges must have received ground and flight training from an authorized instructor on the cross-country maneuvers and procedures listed in this section that are appropriate to the aircraft to be flown.
(c) Endorsements for solo cross-country flights. A student pilot must have the endorsements prescribed in this paragraph for each cross-country flight:
(1) Student pilot certificate endorsement. A student pilot must have a solo cross-country endorsement from the authorized instructor who conducted the training, and that endorsement must be placed on that person's student pilot certificate for the specific category of aircraft to be flown.
(2) Logbook endorsement.
(i) A student pilot must have a solo cross-country endorsement from an authorized instructor that is placed in the student pilot's logbook for the specific make and model of aircraft to be flown.
(ii) For each cross-country flight, the authorized instructor who reviews the cross-country planning must make an endorsement in the person's logbook after reviewing that person's cross-country planning, as specified in paragraph (d) of this section. The endorsement must--
(A) Specify the make and model of aircraft to be flown;
(B) State that the student's preflight planning and preparation is correct and that the student is prepared to make the flight safely under the known conditions; and
(C) State that any limitations required by the student's authorized instructor are met.
(d) Limitations on authorized instructors to permit solo cross-country flights. An authorized instructor may not permit a student pilot to conduct a solo cross-country flight unless that instructor has:
(1) Determined that the student's cross-country planning is correct for the flight;
(2) Reviewed the current and forecast weather conditions and has determined that the flight can be completed under VFR;
(3) Determined that the student is proficient to conduct the flight safely;
(4) Determined that the student has the appropriate solo cross-country endorsement for the make and model of aircraft to be flown; and
(5) Determined that the student's solo flight endorsement is current for the make and model aircraft to be flown.
(e) Maneuvers and procedures for cross-country flight training in a single-engine airplane. A student pilot who is receiving training for cross-country flight in a single-engine airplane must receive and log flight training in the following maneuvers and procedures:
(1) Use of aeronautical charts for VFR navigation using pilotage and dead reckoning with the aid of a magnetic compass;
(2) Use of aircraft performance charts pertaining to cross-country flight;
(3) Procurement and analysis of aeronautical weather reports and forecasts, including recognition of critical weather situations and estimating visibility while in flight;
(4) Emergency procedures;
(5) Traffic pattern procedures that include area departure, area arrival, entry into the traffic pattern, and approach;
(6) Procedures and operating practices for collision avoidance, wake turbulence precautions, and windshear avoidance;
(7) Recognition, avoidance, and operational restrictions of hazardous terrain features in the geographical area where the cross-country flight will be flown;
(8) Procedures for operating the instruments and equipment installed in the aircraft to be flown, including recognition and use of the proper operational procedures and indications;
(9) Use of radios for VFR navigation and two-way communications;
(10) Takeoff, approach, and landing procedures, including short-field, soft-field, and crosswind takeoffs, approaches, and landings;
(11) Climbs at best angle and best rate; and
(12) Control and maneuvering solely by reference to flight instruments, including straight and level flight, turns, descents, climbs, use of radio aids, and ATC directives.
COPYRIGHT © 2004 Bob & Betty Hales