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Online Flight Schools
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Online Flight Schools

What on earth has an online flight school got to offer in terms of pilot training? Let’s think about this for a moment. Learning to fly is a motor skill. It’s like learning to drive. In other words, surely you have to turn up and be there for something to happen, don’t you? Well, yes and no! Of course, there is no way that you are going to get a commercial pilots licence and fly fare paying passengers around with just theory under your belt. It would be a bit like the BBC Top Gear team deciding, let’s do Airlines, because “how hard can it be?”!

That is rather a scary thought, actually. I can imagine a conversation like this in the cockpit as a Senior Captain greets a new First Officer that he hasn’t flown with before.

“So which Pilot Training School did you go to before you joined FastAir?” “Mostly at my kitchen table using a laptop”

Enough joking, let’s look at the facts. Practice is everything, it allows repetition and eventual mastery of basic skills. Some of those skills can only be learned in the air, but some can be learned on the ground. And to be fair, you need to get the balance right. When you are paying several hundred dollars an hour to be in the air, you do not want to be learning how the index works on your flight guide with Airport approach plates. You need to have the expensive lessons in the air learning the skills that you can only learn up there. The just as important but value based lessons on the ground are for every other skills you need. Here we have the need for an online flight school. Let’s look at some of the tasks that you can complete on the ground.

Pre-Flight checks. A lot of these require knowledge that can be gained on the ground. For example, just what are the weight and balance limits of the aircraft you are about to get into? Fishing out the paperwork on a chilly concrete ramp to answer this in the aircraft is not the best way to go about things. So have a good understanding of these aspects of your aircraft from an accurate online source, DVD or the manufacturers supplied Pilot Operating Handbook. All you then need when you are at the aircraft is the appropriate loading data for your flight of people fuel and cargo and you are ready to fly.

Navigation: I get lost better than most people I know! So understanding the components of the route you will be flying in the briefing room, or at the comfort of your PC screen is the best way. Being sat huddled with the map on your knee before you fly is not the way to do it.

I hope you have found this introduction to how an online flight school can help you prepare while learning to fly has been a help. I wish you every success in becoming a pilot and in your choice of pilot training school


Street Talk

Good points. As a console user I have flown and crashed most of the WWII planes and tried to land Cessna's on tall buildings using a variety of products. So in the event of an emergency I would be just the person to fly home a 737 in trouble. More seriously I have had a few lessons doing the real thing. Knowing what the controls are and how to use them using software can be achieved. But actually using them for real is not the same thing, and things like wind makes everything feel very different. Good article, regards Rob

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  about 9 years ago
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