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Question About The First Day Of Ground School  
User currently offlineTriebwerk From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 126 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5669 times:

I'm writing a story in which the main character is working on a private pilot's license. (Wish him luck!) What kinds of lessons should he expect to receive on the first day of ground school? In a similar vein, what topics are usually covered during the first few instructor-led flights?

Thanks in advance for your help. Any link to a Part 61 or Part 141 course outline would be greatly appreciated.

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePilotboi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2366 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5668 times:

Hmmm, if I can think back to the first day of ground school, I think we went over the basic parts of an airplane, as well as common terms used when talking about flying and piloting.

User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5650 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Thread starter):
What kinds of lessons should he expect to receive on the first day of ground school?

The absolute basics as to airplane parts and aerodynamics. Maybe also basic regulations. It's been 4 years so it's hard to recall.

Quoting Triebwerk (Thread starter):
In a similar vein, what topics are usually covered during the first few instructor-led flights?

Usually the instructor just lets the student fly and experiment with the controls, and does really basic maneuvers as turns climbs and descents. You don't really start doing more advanced maneuvers or practicing emergencies until 5 flights later or so. Of course, this depends on many things.


User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3151 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5649 times:

You would be surprised how basic it is. The first time I taught a groundschool I was amazed how many had never checked their oil, didn't even know how. So we went through the parts of the airplane and did a preflight. Of course we also discussed the path to private pilot, and some of the other things like phraseology, the phonetic alphabet and so on.

Three hours wasn't nearly enough for that class.



DMI
User currently offlineTriebwerk From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5645 times:

So I should have the instructor show him diagrams of the airplane, go over pitch/yaw/roll, maybe show a few avionics components? Or would that be reserved for a later flight?

User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5643 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Thread starter):
In a similar vein, what topics are usually covered during the first few instructor-led flights?

The first thing I learned in an actual airplane, from my instructor, was that the pitch of the airplane was the primary means of controlling airspeed, followed by an introduction to making coordinated turns, and "stepping on the ball" to stay coordinated. My first flight instructor was very big on visual cues, so he taught me what a Vy climb looked like over the cowling, and what a 30 degree banked turn looked like over the cowl of the Cessna 150 as well, and to use the instruments just as a verification that you put things where they belonged. He also taught me how a co-ordinated turn feels, and that you can feel a slip and a skid...

That about covered the first lesson way back in 1990  Smile



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5635 times:

My first lesson was very simple. The standard first lesson in the Australian syllabus is "effects of controls" and is designed to introduce the student to the main control surfaces, how to manipulate them, their effects on attitude and the basics of their effects on performance. Don't know about the US, but for the PPL/CPL courses here, ground and flight training are rarely done as separate chunks - they're run concurrently.

The ground school component was a quick brief using a model aircraft (with moving surfaces) on each control surface and its purpose, followed by what I'd expect during the flight. The flight component was nothing more than a quick flight to get a feel for the aircraft - some shallow turns, climbs and descents, and the basic use of trim. On my first takeoff, instructor set the power and kept the aircraft on the centreline - I got to rotate and set the initial climb attitude. The more "complicated" areas such as balanced turns, setting attitude and power for different performance etc. were saved for later flights - the purpose of the first flight and brief is solely to get a feel for manipulating the controls.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5627 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 4):
So I should have the instructor show him diagrams of the airplane, go over pitch/yaw/roll,

 checkmark 

Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 4):
maybe show a few avionics components?

 no 

Flight instruments, perhaps...like the airspeed indicator and the turn and bank indicator. I know the times are changing, but traditionally, most basic trainers (like the Cessna 150/152s and Piper Tomahawks of this world) generally have very sparse avionics. The avionics are the electronic goodies, not the mechanical primary flight instruments...  Wink

Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 4):
Or would that be reserved for a later flight?

I didn't learn how to use the avionics, beyond the COMM portion of the radio (in the case of the Cessna 150 I was getting my license in, which was only equipped with a single NAV/COM radio, an NDB receiver, and a transponder) until my flight instructor thought it was time for our first cross-country. Not that I didn't figure out how to tune the NDB before that as a solo student and even home in on my favorite AM station's transmitter tower by following the NDB needle... Big grin



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3151 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5618 times:

The "avionics" portion of a first lesson/flight should be "these are the radios". There's enough going on that you'll probably be mush before you even get there. I saved instruments for the second lesson because I went more in depth.

The first "lesson" should really just be a very broad overview with the details coming out later. Typically you'll focus on fundamentals of flight and aircraft construction. As you go on to future lessons you'll learn more detail. I usually didn't bring up VORs until the cross country lesson.



DMI
User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5575 times:

I think the first thing I learned, back in 2003, was the basic parts of an airplane. Followed by basic aerodynamics and parts of a reciprocating engine.

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5555 times:

There's a ground school for private pilots? In my best Johnny Carson voice; I did not know that.

Actually my advice is more that of an editor than that of a veteran of many ground schools from both sides of the lectern. Write what you know. If the ground school itself is not a virtual character in your story then don't try to flesh it out with too many details. Think of the movie version  Smile where the details of the ground school will be handled by the set decorator and not by the actors.

That said, my advice is go to either your library or a used book store and acquire a copy of a private pilot study manual. Look only at the first page or two in each chapter. First day of Ppt ground school should not talk about pitot-static schematics or cloud clearance in classed airspace. It should be basic, basic, basic.

I took such a course about a year before I started flying but didn't take the FAA written at the end of it so I had to start over. Anyway, a couple of years ago I found (and discarded) my notes from that course. We covered the following in a very cursory way:

AERODYNAMICS
> the four forces
> bernoulli
> primary flight controls

WEATHER
> composition of the atmosphere
> cloud types
> hazards due to weather

NAVIGATION
> earth is round
> north is up
> 360 degrees in a circle
> magnetic variation
> compass deviation
> mentioned the fact that there are radio aids to navigation

REGULATIONS only a mention of the following
> part 1 definitions
> part 61 quals for a license
> part 67 medical standards
> part 91 operating rules

That was three hours worth



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineTriebwerk From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 5422 times:

Thanks for all the responses. By avionics, I suppose I meant to say instruments (airspeed indicator, altimeter, VSI, turn coordinator, etc). Would those be covered in an early lesson?

SlamClick: I understand your concern! I just figured it would be better to get my facts straight then to write stuff like, "And then he showed Ethan how to deploy the parachute in his Cessna." I'm aiming for realism and entertainment at the same time, and just don't want to focus on one at the expense of the other.


User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5395 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 11):
By avionics, I suppose I meant to say instruments (airspeed indicator, altimeter, VSI, turn coordinator, etc). Would those be covered in an early lesson?

The basics, yes. Such as the fact that the ASI measures dynamic air pressure and lets you know how the aircraft is performing, the altimeter measures pressure height above a given datum and is usually used to show height above MSL etc. Just the primary flight instruments, engine instruments and their basic functions, without going into lots and lots of detail.

The term avionics strictly deals with electronics. In a standard training aircraft, all the primary instruments are gyro or pressure instruments, and even though some of the gyros might be electrically driven, they don't really come under avionics. For avionics, think radio and radio navaid equipment, GPS, transponder etc.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5275 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 11):
Thanks for all the responses. By avionics, I suppose I meant to say instruments (airspeed indicator, altimeter, VSI, turn coordinator, etc). Would those be covered in an early lesson?

Hopefully, the student will have learned about the instrument's functionality a little bit on the ground first (via ground school...). The instructor might offer a refresher on the ground, and show the student cool tricks (like, that if you know the field elevation and you adjust the altimeter's Kollsman window until the altimeter shows the field elevation, you now know the current barometric pressure  Wink ). I'd imagine that if your first flight instructor was anything like mine, he'd pull a shiny chrome Cross pen out of his pocket (that he'd lifted off of one of his richer students  Wink ) and use the blunt (non-writing) end to point to the instruments and the hands therein as he talked to you about them...Ah, fond memories  Smile



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5258 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 13):
Hopefully, the student will have learned about the instrument's functionality a little bit on the ground first (via ground school...).

So you are suggesting that the student should have had a ground school before his ground school?

The original question:

Quoting Triebwerk (Thread starter):
What kinds of lessons should he expect to receive on the first day of ground school?




Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5253 times:



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):
So you are suggesting that the student should have had a ground school before his ground school?

The original question:

Quoting Triebwerk (Thread starter):
What kinds of lessons should he expect to receive on the first day of ground school?

However, I was responding to part two of the OP's question:

Quoting Triebwerk (Thread starter):
In a similar vein, what topics are usually covered during the first few instructor-led flights?

 Wink



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5245 times:

Does anybody actually do "ground school" prior to any flight training, in initial PPL training? The first thing I did that could be called ground school was for my Basic Aeronautical Knowledge exam, and that was all self-studied - and I'd already flown a few times before then. The first actual classroom stuff I did was study for my CPL subjects, and I probably had 40 or 50 hours in the logbook before I started them.

User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2381 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5220 times:



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 10):
There's a ground school for private pilots? In my best Johnny Carson voice; I did not know that.

Back when Orville and Wilbur were teaching me to fly, they made sure I knew all the important stuff - where to find a bucket of prop wash, where to get a length of flight line... Big grin



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineBAe146QT From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 996 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 5158 times:



Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 16):
Does anybody actually do "ground school" prior to any flight training, in initial PPL training?

I wondered about this, too. I had no ground school at all for my first flight, other than for safety's sake and to determine whether I understood the basic principles, ("Pull back on the yoke, what happens to the houses?" "They get smaller"). I did know, but had no practical experience.

This was my first flight (eight years ago in a C150) as a raw novice. I remember it like the day I got married. Which is to say, "not exactly clearly because I was in shock". Errors and omissions are for narrative style. I hope it helps, anyway.

Away from the flight line, safetly instruction was given, ("Mind the other planes in the line, because they can kill you. If I say 'I have control', then I HAVE CONTROL.")
I was escorted to the plane.
We did a walk-around, where the instructor described each surface (and most of the major look-outs - broken lenses, fluid leaks, loose panels, etc.), and I completely failed to get a Cessna Diamond.
We got in and I was shown the primary flight controls and dials. He asked me how many I recognised. I was careful not to be a wise-ass.
Checked brakes, then was told to remove the gust locks and ensure full movement of the surfaces.
Switched on fuel (he set the carb heat, throttle, etc),
Battery on, lights on, window open to shout "Clear prop!" then start.
Check oil, ammeter and vaccuum (he had to point these out), then do mag checks, left and right. He also handled the radio, so I didn't have to worry about that.

Taxed like a complete lemon to the holding point and decided there was a kangaroo in the back, which we evicted and sent back to the clubhouse. Checked free surface movement again. Ran up to 1200 diagonal to the wind, then lined up to enter what we jokingly call the runway, dropping takeoff flaps. Enter, told to smoothly apply throttle and ease back when we were at speed. I was so busy concentrating on what I was doing, I was at 500ft before I relaxed my grip on the yoke and let the poor old student bird help me fly her.



Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
User currently offlineTriebwerk From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5135 times:

Thanks, BAe! That's the kind of description I'm looking for.

User currently offlineBAe146QT From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 996 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5126 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 19):
Thanks, BAe! That's the kind of description I'm looking for.

Welcome, Trieb - glad to be of help and happy that I interpreted what you were asking for. Zappbrannigan's post (#6 in this thread) is probably another good indicator, covering a broader range of that first flight.

As a fellow writer, (don't worry y'all - I don't write about aviation) SlamClick's advice is just about spot on as well. Don't get bogged down in technical detail if what you're writing about is the experience.

Good luck, sir.



Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3151 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5109 times:

I had a couple people in my ground school who wanted to do that before flying or were there because their spouse was taking lessons. In both cases they started flying with me after a few lessons.


DMI
User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5105 times:



Quoting Triebwerk (Reply 19):
Thanks, BAe! That's the kind of description I'm looking for.

Yep, good post.

On this - remember that the first flight doubles as the carrot dangling in front of the student - it's supposed to leave you itching to get back into the cockpit for your 2nd, 3rd and 4th flights, and so on (and thus allow the flying school to avoid bankruptcy for another 6 months). A 2 hour brief on aerodynamics and avionics is unlikely to excite a new student who's probably messed around with MS flight sim a few times anyway and is looking forward to nothing more than flying a real aircraft.


User currently offlineWestJetYQQ From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 2987 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5004 times:

The 4 Forces acting on an aircraft in flight!  Wink



Cheers
Carson



Will You Try to Change Things? Use the Power that you have, the Power of a Million new Ideas.
User currently offlineBAe146QT From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 996 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4807 times:



Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 22):
A 2 hour brief on aerodynamics and avionics is unlikely to excite a new student who's probably messed around with MS flight sim a few times anyway and is looking forward to nothing more than flying a real aircraft.

I was that student.

I had enormous 'time' in FS before I ever got near a real aircraft's controls. Anyone who has played a driving game knows it's nothing like being behind the wheel, so I had an expectation that flying a real aircraft would be... different.

My view is that if you're not humble when you get into that first student craft, you will be just after you take off.

Who knew that when you traverse large areas of concrete or tarmac the aircraft wants to climb? Who knew that flying over wheat fields at 1500' is turbulent? Apparently not Microsoft.

Anyway, as you allude to, getting out there and flying was what the first 'lesson' was about. And yeah - that's what got me hooked.



Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
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