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Maximise Your Time In The Sky With These Top Flight Training Tips

You’re passionate about aviation, and you’ve made the commitment to learn how to fly. Make no mistake. Becoming a pilot is a huge investment of your time and finances. Like learning anything, you can be certain that the more effort you put in, the more you will get out of it – and the more successful you will be. We asked our Senior Flight Instructors for their top flight training tips.

1. Be well prepared

Just like many things in life, preparation is the key. Study before your lessons the theory course materials and other information available to you. The best student flight training candidates ensure they are well prepared for theory and flight lessons. It reduces the chances of having to repeat parts. Learning to fly isn’t cheap. Being well prepared will save you both time and money.

2. Observe other flights

– Always take the opportunity to join other training flights or sessions when they present themselves.

– Ask if you can come along as an observer and sit in the back seat on other students flights.

– Take notes whenever you can.

The more you are able to learn and build information outside of your own flying time, the faster you will grasp concepts. This can also help avoid the need to pay to fly extra hours to achieve your flight training objectives.

Flight-Training-Tips-Observation-Flight
“Backseating” a flight to observe is one of our instructors’ top flight training tips

3. Be flexible with your schedule

Flexibility with your schedule is very important. There are many factors that can affect both instructor and aircraft availability, and if you are able to adapt to schedule changes then you will get more flight training time.

Always keep an eye on the weather forecast, and the upcoming flight schedule. Communicate regularly with your instructors to make the most of the times that look likely to be good flying conditions.

You should also try to schedule your theory lessons for when the weather is likely to be bad, as your instructors will be on the ground too.

4. Ask lots of questions

If you are completely new to the aviation world, it can feel pretty foreign. It comes with its own technical language, terminology, abbreviations, and that’s just the start.

You may feel uncomfortable asking questions, but you will find that everybody is more than happy to share their knowledge. What may seem like a silly question to you may be something that helps to piece together something far more important that greatly assists your flight training.

Don’t be afraid to ask a question. This gives you access to your instructor’s top flight training tips at any time!

5. Spend time at your flying school

The more time you spend at the school, the more chances you will have to join training flights as an observer at short notice. You can also then take advantage of cancellations and schedule changes where other students weren’t able to be as flexible as you.

It also goes without saying that spending more time around your instructors and the other student pilots will allow you more time to ask questions and share ideas.

6. Make use of flight simulators

Flight simulation technology now provides an exceptionally realistic representation of the cockpit, avionics, flight conditions, and aircraft behaviour. Flight sims form a crucial part of your training, and they are also a very economical way to hone certain skills, and to train for specific non-standard flight situations.

The more time you are able to spend learning your skills in a simulator, the more you can use your time in a real aircraft to put those skills into practice.

7. Fly as often as you can

Practice makes perfect. Repetition allows you to retain information and allow your skills to become second nature. If you don’t fly frequently, you may find that small bits of information have disappeared by the time you fly again, and you may need to repeat certain things.

If you are spending your flying hours going over things you’ve already learnt then you won’t be able to progress your flight training as quickly. Fly as much as you can!

8. Have fun!

This may be the most important point of them all. When it feels like hard work, try to remember why you wanted to fly in the first place. You’re learning to do something that many people dream about, but will never experience for themselves.

Celebrate your successes, be proud of your achievements in an aircraft, and never forget – YOU ARE FLYING!

Principles-and-Methods-of-Instruction-PMI-Learn-To-Fly-Melbourne-Hero
One of the most important flight training tips is to remember that flying is fun!

You can get more flight training tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel. We have RPL/PPL flying lessons, aircraft pre-flight check videos, and more. Click the button below to subscribe!

Chat to one of our flight training specialists to get your pilot training off the ground. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Circuit Flying Tips – The Perfect Circuit From Start To Finish

For student pilots, flying repeat circuit pattern procedures around their aerodrome will form a large part of their training. In this blog, we reveal circuit flying tips to help you get it right from start to finish.

What is a “circuit”?

CASA describes standard circuit procedure as follows:

“The standard aerodrome traffic circuit pattern facilitates an orderly flow of traffic and is normally a circuit pattern made with all turns to the left. When arriving at an aerodrome to land, a pilot will normally join the circuit upwind, crosswind (mid-field), or downwind (before mid-downwind). Landings and take-offs should be made on the active runway or the runway most closely aligned into wind. If a secondary runway is being used, pilots using this secondary runway should avoid impeding the flow of traffic on the active runway.”

The circuit pattern is the orderly take-off and landing flow of aerodrome traffic. Maintaining it is crucial to even the most major airports. Procedures will vary locally at different aerodromes that may have other factors to consider (terrain etc).

There are five basic legs to circuits:

– Take-off Leg
– Crosswind Leg
– Downwind Leg
– Base Leg
– Final Leg

While it might seem like a fairly standard or boring flying procedure to many people, circuit flying forms the basis of any pilot’s training.

Circuit flying includes fundamental flying syllabus including take-offs, climbs, climbing turns, medium level turns, straight and level flying, descending, descending turns, slow flying and landing. It’s also crucial to developing your separation skills as the presence of other air traffic is common.

Circuit Flying Pattern
The circuit flying pattern can be split up into 5 flight legs.

The definition of a perfect circuit

According to CASA, a perfect circuit will see the pilot completing the following:

– Take-off and then climb to 500ft (approx 150 metres)
– Turn onto crosswind leg (perpendicular to the extended runway centreline)
– Climb to 1,000ft (approx 300 metres)
– Reference aerodrome for turn point and turn onto downwind leg
– Reduce power, turn onto base and commence descent
– Turn onto final leg and land

There are many factors that can intervene and subsequently make it harder for you to complete that textbook perfect circuit flight. These include:

– Traffic
– Wind
– Light
– Glare

External factors aside, the best method for putting together a perfect circuit is to look at perfecting each of the legs individually.

Departure (take-off) leg

When airborne, find the attitude that allows you your nominated climb speed on full power. As soon as the attitude is established, find a reference point on the horizon and aim at that.

Once you have established your climb to a safe altitude (300ft or above), complete your take-off checks including a glance back to ensure your reference point is maintaining the extended runway centreline. Look for a reference point for your turn, just ahead of your left wing’s leading edge.

A clean take-off and a good setup into your first turn is essential for smooth circuit flying.

Crosswind leg

Begin your turn after you have reached an altitude of at least 500ft, although 750ft is the CASA recommendation. As it is a climbing turn, look to bank the aircraft at a 15 degree angle.

As other aircraft commonly join a circuit pattern on the crosswind eg at circuit height, keep a good lookout for traffic, and then adjust to maintain separation. Once the turn is made, maintain your attitude and power, and look for a reference point for the downwind turn.

Downwind leg

The turn onto downwind is generally made when your aircraft is at 45 degrees to the upwind threshold, onto a suitable reference point so as to track parallel to the runway. Depending on adjustments made for separation, you will either need to be level the aircraft at circuit height (1000ft) before, during or after the turn onto downwind. Lookout is again stressed, as traffic may also be joining the circuit on the downwind leg.

If a downwind radio call is required, it should be made when abeam of the upwind threshold. You should confirm your position in the circuit. Making a visual search by scanning from the threshold back along the final approach to base and then to downwind ahead of you. Identifying other aircraft positions within the circuit.

Maintain straight parallel flight by visually running the runway through the wingtip. Then you can complete your landing checks. Say each one out loud as you do them. Consider a reference point for your turn to base.

Base leg

As you are reaching a point in line with a 45° angle from the threshold, pick your reference point along the wing. Then make the base radio call if required. The best time to make the call is just before commencing the turn, as a turning aircraft is more easily seen by others in the circuit.

Reduce the power (1500-1700rpm as a guide) and then start a medium level (30°) turn. There’s no need to adjust your trim, as you will naturally wash speed in the turn whilst holding height at reduced power. Continue the turn onto your reference point, allowing for drift, until the leading edge of the wing is parallel to the runway.

Before the descending turn onto final, look carefully for traffic, especially along the approach path to ensure no other aircraft are on long final. Try to anticipate the roll out onto the approach (final) leg. This will help to ensure that the wings are level at the same time as your aircraft aligns itself with the runway centreline.

Throughout the turn, the angle of bank should be adjusted to achieve this by about 500ft. Adjust your altitude to maintain the nominated approach airspeed.

Circuit-Traffic
Circuit flying has a number of threats to look out for, and one of the major ones is other traffic.

Final (approach) leg and landing

During the approach, as with all phases of flight where the intent is to maintain a specific airspeed, it is important to emphasise that you should select, hold and trim the correct altitude for the desired airspeed.

When established on final, select full flap at the appropriate time and maintain your airspeed. Or allow it to decrease through attitude adjustment. Avoid extending your flaps during the turn onto final.

Select an aiming point on the runway (commonly the numbers, or the threshold), and then monitor and adjust your power as required to maintain a steady rate of descent to touchdown. If the aiming point moves up the windscreen, increase power – and if the aiming point moves down the windscreen, decrease power.

If you have trimmed the aircraft correctly, then the power adjustments should be small.

Your landing should be one smooth manoeuvre that slows the rate of descent to zero, and the speed to just above the stall speed, as the wheels touch the ground. When you have have assured your landing, often described as “crossing the fence”, close the throttle and progressively raise the attitude of the nose.

Gradually increase backpressure to achieve the correct attitude, so that your touchdown is light and on the main wheels only. Following touchdown on the main wheels, gently lower the nosewheel to the runway using the elevator. Use a reference point at the end of the rudder to keep straight on the runway centreline with your rudder, and then apply your brakes as required.

And there you have it! There will always be factors that require you to adjust things, but if you use this as a guide, then you will be well on your way to perfecting your circuit flying.

You can get more flight training tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel. We have RPL/PPL flying lessons, aircraft pre-flight check videos, and more. Check out our lesson on circuit flying, the click the button below to subscribe!

Chat to one of our flight training specialists to get your pilot training off the ground. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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How to Pass Your ICAO Aviation English Exam with Flying Colours

Effective communication is an important skill for any pilot. Being able to pass your ICAO Aviation English Exam with flying colours is crucial to your career. It is a requirement for radio communications with aircraft and air traffic control, advising your flight intentions, and with colleagues both in and around aircraft.

To ensure consistency, global standard English is the recommendation from ICAO for communication. It forms an essential part of pilot training. It covers a range of topic areas including the use of relevant terminology, vocabulary, and protocols. Pilots will be tested on Aviation English throughout their career.

ICAO-Aviation-English-Exam
Pass your ICAO Aviation English exam with flying colours.

Background

The language proficiency standards were established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in 2008, and then applied to flight crew licensing and signatory countries soon after.

Although one may speak English well, it’s also critical that pilots can listen to and comprehend instructions given over the radio. Accents from controllers and pilots can vary from flight to flight. Overcoming the challenge of accents alone can mitigate issues, and consequently play a significant part in making a flight run smoothly.

Listening Skills

Taking the time to observe and listen to Air Traffic Control (ATC) can be a valuable strategy prior to your ICAO Aviation English test. Live ATC allows individuals to listen to various control centres globally. You can listen to ground control, control towers, and en-route centres at a number of locations around the world.

When developing your listening skills, accents from both pilots and controllers will become apparent. This allows you to effectively tune your ears to a range of accents and instructions that you will likely experience daily as a pilot. This will ultimately then make this component of the ICAO English test more achievable.

Vocabulary skills

In addition to honing your Air Traffic Control listening skills, pilots need a broad spoken vocabulary in practical aviation. Reviewing aviation images or scenes online and then describing them out loud can be a valuable technique in determining the depth of your vocabulary.

Google search for aviation scenes and images. Practice describing what you see in random scenes or images verbally using known aviation terminology. Practice this technique regularly to help expand both your aviation vocabulary and flow of communication. You will need to execute this for the Aviation English Proficiency Test.

Preparation is Key

Clear and effective communication will always be critically tested and assessed for any pilot candidate. Utilise the resources available to you immediately and then start applying techniques in preparation. Expanding and improving your own listening and communication skills will prepare you well as a future pilot in a rapidly developing and growing industry.

Darren McPherson
ACS – Aviation Consulting Services 2019

You can get more flight training tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel. We have RPL/PPL flying lessons, aircraft pre-flight check videos, and more. Click the button below to subscribe!

If you need more information about how to pass the ICAO Aviation English exam, chat to one of our flight training specialists. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Human Factors in Aviation. Are Pilotless Planes The Future of Air Travel?

As technology progresses faster and faster in the modern world, there are many processes that are becoming automated. So where do human factors in aviation sit in an increasingly automated world?

What are human factors?

Even with automated tasks and processes, humans still need to either control, manage, intervene, or interact with technology at many stages.

Human Factors in its widest definition describes all the many aspects of human performance which interact with their environment to influence the outcome of events. These may be related to either the physiological or psychological aspects of human capability. Both of which are able to directly affect the way in which the human operator performs in different circumstances.

Human Factors knowledge reduces the likelihood of errors, and builds more error tolerant and more resilient systems.

What are the effects of human factors in aviation?

Things have changed a lot from when we had to manually start an aircraft’s propeller. And also from when pilots had to exclusively use landmarks to visually navigate during flight. But even with all of the latest technology installed in aircraft, human factors still play an enormous role.

The human factors involved in the operation and interpretation of even the most modern technology remain of the utmost importance in ensuring the safety of aircraft operations.

Negative human factor impacts

Most of the world’s worst aviation disasters have been a direct result of human factors, including the following. An example of this is the Tenerife disaster in 1977. A runway collision between two B747 airliners, due to misinterpreted radio communication form the captain of one of the aircraft. It resulted in 583 casualties.

There are examples of failed interactions between humans and technology. One such incident is the mid-air collision between a chartered Tu-154 passenger flight and a B757 DHL cargo jet over Überlingen, Germany in 2002.  This resulted from ambiguous air traffic control and TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) instructions. The automated TCAS instructions were in fact correct in warning the pilots of nearby traffic. It directed them to change their respective altitudes accordingly. The intervention of a fatigued air traffic controller however, who was unable to access the full scope of information he needed, resulted in the TCAS instructions being ignored, and the aircraft collided.

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The Uberlingen disaster was a combination of automation and human factors in aviation.

Positive human factor impacts

Whilst human factors such as stress, fatigue and psychology can no doubt be discussed in relation to negative impacts on aviation, there are many situations where human factors are essential to the safe operation of a flight.

Most technology still requires a human to either operate it, manage it or translate it. In flight in particular, there are so many variables that at this stage it is very difficult to rely entirely on an automated system to make decisions.

A perfect example of the above lies in the recent tragedies involving Boeing 737MAX aircraft. This led to the grounding of the aircraft globally while software systems were checked and upgraded. There is evidence to support that the failing system was overridden by a pilot on the LionAir aircraft during flight the day before the subsequent accident occurred.

Investigation into human factors decisions that have proven to be efficient in breaking a chain of events that would have led to an accident is very important in improving aviation safety overall. This is helping to develop better technology.

Would you trust flying in an entirely automated aircraft?

The only way to eliminate human factors in aviation contributing to accidents is to completely eliminate human involvement. In other words, become 100% automated. But is this feasible, and would you trust an entirely automated aircraft?

The use of commercial and military drones shows the technology for pilotless plane travel exists and is in regular use. But whilst the world’s most common types of passenger aircraft rely heavily on computers to execute the commands of pilots and crew, a completely unmanned flight poses many potential issues.

Would there be teams of pilots on the ground controlling the aircraft? Who is in charge of the plane when it is in the air, and what would happen if an emergency situation with a passenger on board occurred?

It is incredibly difficult to think of scenarios that would not require human involvement at some level. Therefore, human factors are still relevant at some point in the process.

What do pilots think?

Naturally, pilots are concerned about flight safety. Steve Landells, flight safety specialist for the British Airline Pilots Association, says:

“Automation in the cockpit is not a new thing – it already supports operations. However, every single day pilots have to intervene when the automatics don’t do what they’re supposed to. While moving pilots to a control tower on the ground might eventually save airlines money, there would need to be huge investment to make this possible, and even more to make it safe.”

Where do human factors fit in the future of aviation?

Negative human factor influences may be accountable for most aviation accidents. But how many accidents have been avoided through positive human factor intervention?

The study of human factors in relation to aviation is incredibly important to maintain and improve the safety of flight operations in today’s world, as well as for the future of air travel.

With technology accelerating and offering more in the way of automation, the nature of the relationship between human factors and aviation will continue to change. Human management, interaction and involvement with technology and automated processes in aviation now is no less crucial than it was in the management of fully manual processes in the past.

We have developed our own Human Factors Awareness Training course, that all of our staff attend. This course is also open external applicants who want to learn more about human factors in aviation. To learn more, chat to one of our flight training specialists. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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The Best Flight Instructors Make The Best Pilots

Flight instructors are the backbone of all successful pilots, whether that’s for a career or just flying recreationally. One of the most important considerations you can make when choosing a flight school is finding the one with the best flight instructors.

Here at Learn to Fly, the best flight instructors are training some of the brightest future pilots in Melbourne. Students are assigned primary and secondary flight instructors. However, this can obviously be flexible based on student progress and training requirements. We have a wide range of flight instructors with diverse backgrounds and varied areas of expertise for this very reason.

The best flight instructors will always be the ones you’re able to build a productive and trusting work relationship with. Regardless of how far into your aviation career you are, your instructor should always be someone you can rely on for guidance, assurance, advice and improvement.

Here are five great qualities all aviation students can expect from the right flight instructor:

They Have A Diverse Range Of Experience

Based on CASA guidelines, there are 3 levels of flight instructor for General Aviation. There are Grade 1 and Grade 2, and Grade 3 – with Grade 1 being the most senior. Beyond that, you have RA-Aus instructors and also instructors with specific capabilities such as IFR or multi-engine training.

Grade 1 instructors have extensive experience in not only flying, but also in instructing. To achieve that level of seniority, they have displayed their expertise in teaching both students and other instructors. Typically, your primary instructor at LTF will be a Grade 1 instructor.

It’s important to find a flight school that has instructors of all levels, and with a wide range of additional capabilities. But beyond what’s on paper as far as capabilities go, look for a diverse range of experiences. Our instructors come from multiple countries, and from different areas of aviation including airlines, charter and more.

Your Safety Is Their Priority

A large portion of flight training centres on emergency procedures. Stalls, wing drops, forced landings, engine failures, radio failures, and the list goes on! This is why our school standards require instructors to be not just be well-trained, but for safety to be their first priority.

A focus on safety is learned behaviour. A flight school with high safety standards passes this on to their instructors. The instructors then pass it on to you, the student. By treating EVERY safety detail as important – even the small things – bigger saefty issues become less likely.

The best instructors will respond immediately to any situation in which the risk outweighs the learning opportunity. This may mean that an instructor wants you to repeat something when you want to progress. That might be frustrating at the time, but it will make you a better pilot.

Beyond our instructors, our Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) and Safety Manager actively supervise all flight training operations and consistently check training records and documentation. This ensures compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and means students can always feel safe while flying!

They Bring Out The Best In You

What kind of learner are you?

Do you learn visually or kinesthetically?

Do you like to push yourself out of your comfort zone or take things step-by-step?

Are you goal orientated, or do you prefer to enjoy the ride?

You may not yet know the answers to these important questions. The best flight instructors will help you to learn these answers, and will be able to adjust their teaching style to bring out your best. Sometimes it becomes apparent that your primary or secondary instructors may not be best suited to your learning style. This is another reason why having a diverse range of instructors at a flying school is important.

Aside from the dos and don’ts of flying, an outstanding flight instructor will teach you the right attitude towards managing risks, valuing responsibilities and trusting in your abilities.

They Make You Confident

Confidence and self belief are huge factors when learning to fly. Not everybody is confident in their own abilities, or their own knowledge. It’s a very different feeling being 3000ft up with an experienced instructor next to you, and being up there alone.

The best flight instructors will help you to trust yourself.

It’s also important to ask as many questions as possible when learning to fly, and you should always be confident asking your instructor anything. Even the questions you may think are silly – because really, there are no silly questions.

The best flight instructors are excellent motivators who’ll help you overcome any self-doubts and boost your confidence. Remember – they were a student once too.

They Inspire You

Your teachers are always a part of your story in life. Whatever knowledge your instructors instill will remain long after they leave your side in the cockpit. And it’s this knowledge that you will often look to as your inspiration to fly.

Sometimes, learning can become a chore. You may be struggling to progress past a certain point. You may not find what you’re learning at the moment as exciting as some other areas. Let’s face it – some of that theory stuff can drag – especially when you just want to get airborne!

Whether you want to fly for fun or for a career, a great instructor will inspire your aviation journey. They’ll make you remember what drew you to flying in the first place, and inspire you to fly further and higher.

Find your perfect flight instructor at Learn To Fly. Email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

Airline-Pilot-Career-Specialist
The best flight instructors make the best pilots!

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