Welcome to the Private Pilot Course!
Before you get started, let’s talk a bit about the course. First, this course is designed to prepare you for the FAA Private Pilot Airplane Written and Oral Exams. If you are in the wrong course, let us know, and we’ll get it sorted. Otherwise, welcome!
Earning a Private Pilot’s Certificate is a lot more than just academic work. In addition to passing the written and oral exams, you’ll also need to fly with an instructor and meet the minimum flight time requirements. No ground school course can teach you how to fly the way an instructor will in an airplane. That said, knowledge is a big part of flying well. Think of flying an airplane like playing an instrument. Ultimately you need to put your fingers to the fretboard or piano keys and play. But if your brain is not working faster than your fingers, you won’t play well. You need knowledge of structure, technique, chord progression, etc. Flying is similar. Pilots fly better when they understand the environment they are operating in — including the airplane’s systems, aerodynamics, performance, weather, the regulatory environment, and their own thought process and human physiology. That’s what this course teaches. Alone, it will not make you a good pilot. But it will make you a better pilot than you would be without it.
Students maximize their success with this course when they are active participants in the learning process. There is no learning by osmosis here: you’ll have to put in the work. We’ve tried to make your efforts as targeted and efficient as possible by writing hundreds of flashcard questions, compiling study guides and legal summaries, and publishing over 40 handouts that summarize and clarify major concepts.
This course also includes the Maneuver’s Course for free. It’s supplemental, and completion is not required to graduate the course. However, if you are concurrently flying and completing your ground school work, it can be a valuable reference in developing the mental- and muscle-memory to fly maneuvers like steep turns and stalls.
Throughout the course, you’ll hear us reference chair flying. This is the practice of sitting your butt in front of a cockpit poster (or better yet, the cockpit of a plane on the ground) and drilling procedures. Again and again and again, until they become somewhat natural; If you can, from memory, rehearse the steps required to start-up, taxi, takeoff, fly a pattern, approach and land, and taxi back in, you’ll have a much easier time doing it in real-time. And chair flying is free. In fact, chair flying is so effective in reducing training time that one could argue chair flying actually pays you. It’s more confidence, better skill, and more money in your pocket at the end of the training.
This course requires a few materials, but not until the latter stages of the course. We recommend students purchase the following in preparation for the cross country phase of flying:
- A VFR sectional map
- An E-6B flight computer (aka whiz wheel)
- A chart plotter
To reiterate: pilots get the most from this course when they are active learners. Much of the content is not necessarily hard to understand conceptually, and we work hard to make it as simple as possible. But there is simply a lot to remember. Here’s our recommended process for completing the course:
- Listen to the lecture video and take notes. If you feel it will benefit you, watch the video more than once.
- Cross-check your notes against the lesson notes. We often expand upon concepts in the lesson notes section, particularly for subjects requiring memorization or organization (e.g. airspace regulations)
- Make flashcards covering the bulk of the information from the lesson video, lesson notes, handouts, and flashcard questions.
- Study your flashcards before taking the section quiz.
- When you finish a section quiz, note which answers you got wrong and why. Then, revise your flashcard or notes to include the information you misunderstood or forgot during the quiz.
- When you have a question, reach out to us! There is a built-in email form on the right sidebar in the course area. That’s specifically for you to use to ask us questions.
- As you near the end of the course, study and review the following:
- End of Course study guide
- FARs part 61 and 91 summaries
- Weight and Balance calculations
- Time, fuel, and distance calculations.
- Take your practice written tests. After the first one, review what you got wrong and drill those areas hard. Then, take the second one.
When you complete the second Practice Test you’ll graduate the course. Your graduation certificate, which can be accessed from your user Dashboard, serves as your written test endorsement. Make sure you print and bring it to the testing center.
Remember to reach out when you have questions. Good luck!