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jppilot97
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 am

Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:59 am

Hello everyone,

I've been doubting myself a lot lately about my progress in flying. I've completed all the required exercises for my PPL training including the cross country flights. My instructor and I are now preparing for my flight test which is really soon (in a few weeks).

However, my landings are often not consistent meaning I've a problem that keeps on resurfacing even after lots of practice (I sometimes pull up too late). But when practicing circuits, I can do really good landings consistently. Apart from that, my maneuvers are sometimes not perfect and requires practice. However, my instructor said they are just little mistakes that can be fixed. I see students finishing their PPL after 70-80 hours of training and become very proficient in every aspect of flying even in the early stage of training. I feel like it takes me a longer to master certain things in flying and I'm starting to think that I'm very stupid and incapable. I just want to know if it's just me that takes so long to know how to fly properly even after 80 hours of training. It feels like I'm super different compare to other student pilots in my school. :cry:
 
whywhyzee
Posts: 1119
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:48 am

1st thing, you are different...everyone is! Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, don't focus on how some may be better than you at some things, because on the other side of that coin, you are most certainly better at others. Consider your own progression, any improvement is always a plus.

Secondly, don't get overly caught up in manouevers tolerances, fly the plane, you know how to do that evidently, look at it from a big picture perspective. That will help you avoid getting fixated. You want to be competent on demand, not perfect once. This is especially the case when it comes to aircraft handling.

Finally, you mentionned landing, I always found that landing was best described as a feeling, you judge the aircraft energy state by feeling how it is 'flying' - i.e. are you dragging it in vs coming in hot and high. You want to keep it stabilized for the entirety of the approach, flying positively, but not with too much energy. When you get close to the runway, gradually transition to looking to the end of the runway, don't look right infront of you. The nose will go where your eyes go, so point your eyes on the horizon at the end of the runway, and you will nail the flair and most importantly, keep the longitudinal axis aligned with the centerline.

Beat of luck!
 
GatorClark
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:34 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:53 am

Your first mistake is comparing yourself to other students.. Every student learns at their own pace and in their own way. Relax, remember what you've been taught. I'm sure you have a good instructor.. When you're in that cockpit, don't worry about how everyone else is doing or how fast they are progressing.. Nobody else is there to fly that plane but you so what could does worrying about them do. If you were a pilot for Delta, worrying about how good the pilot of the United plane in front of you is isn't going to help you in the least. Also don't overthink it. Remember why you wanted to get your pilot's license in the first place. Because flying is something you WANTED to do right? Something you enjoy? Well sit back, have fun, and FLY THE PLANE! :D We all have confidence that you can do it.. :)
 
jppilot97
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:12 am

Thank you so much for the advice, and I will always remember that! :thumbsup:

whywhyzee wrote:
1st thing, you are different...everyone is! Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, don't focus on how some may be better than you at some things, because on the other side of that coin, you are most certainly better at others. Consider your own progression, any improvement is always a plus.

Secondly, don't get overly caught up in manouevers tolerances, fly the plane, you know how to do that evidently, look at it from a big picture perspective. That will help you avoid getting fixated. You want to be competent on demand, not perfect once. This is especially the case when it comes to aircraft handling.

Finally, you mentionned landing, I always found that landing was best described as a feeling, you judge the aircraft energy state by feeling how it is 'flying' - i.e. are you dragging it in vs coming in hot and high. You want to keep it stabilized for the entirety of the approach, flying positively, but not with too much energy. When you get close to the runway, gradually transition to looking to the end of the runway, don't look right infront of you. The nose will go where your eyes go, so point your eyes on the horizon at the end of the runway, and you will nail the flair and most importantly, keep the longitudinal axis aligned with the centerline.

Beat of luck!
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8941
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:13 am

I have to say that I clicked on this thread concerned about what kind of snarky obnoxious drivel would be thrown at the OP. I couldn't be more delighted than to read the two positive, helpful posts above, which I wholeheartedly-endorse.

Learning to fly is not a competition, it's the acquisition of a skill, one that you will/should improve during every flight you make. It's great that you're focused on how to get better -- the best pilots do that until the last day that they fly. And the best love doing it every day that they fly. Good luck to you. You're learning to do something that a relatively-small portion of the population know how to do!
Last edited by wjcandee on Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
jppilot97
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:13 am

That's very true!! :D Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it!

GatorClark wrote:
Your first mistake is comparing yourself to other students.. Every student learns at their own pace and in their own way. Relax, remember what you've been taught. I'm sure you have a good instructor.. When you're in that cockpit, don't worry about how everyone else is doing or how fast they are progressing.. Nobody else is there to fly that plane but you so what could does worrying about them do. If you were a pilot for Delta, worrying about how good the pilot of the United plane in front of you is isn't going to help you in the least. Also don't overthink it. Remember why you wanted to get your pilot's license in the first place. Because flying is something you WANTED to do right? Something you enjoy? Well sit back, have fun, and FLY THE PLANE! :D We all have confidence that you can do it.. :)
 
jppilot97
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:20 am

Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it!!

wjcandee wrote:
I have to say that I clicked on this thread concerned about what kind of snarky obnoxious drivel would be thrown at the OP. I couldn't be more delighted than to read the two positive, helpful posts above, which I wholeheartedly-endorse.

Learning to fly is not a competition, it's the acquisition of a skill, one that you will/should improve during every flight you make. It's great that you're focused on how to get better -- the best pilots do that until the last day that they fly. And the best love doing it every day that they fly. Good luck to you. You're learning to do something that a relatively-small portion of the population know how to do!
 
d8s
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:45 pm

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:49 am

As everyone else has said, don't compare to others.

During my ppl training my landings were all over the place. As I became more confident in my skills, and practiced the techniques, the landings became much improved.

Fly the airplane and the landings will improve. The second best thing I did was earn my instrument rating, that really improved the skills.
 
Skhan42
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:14 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:57 am

Had the same issue with landing but whywhy gave you some great advice. Stick with it, my neighbors thought I was crazy walking traffic patterns in my back yard or I did alot of chair flying. I stayed up late at night studying and some didn't and nailed it with no problem but i was 40 when I started and my brain didn't work as well as the younger kids. We all helped each other through though and in the end it was so worth the stress I put on myself. Good luck to you . Please let us know how it worked out.
 
N766UA
Posts: 8334
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:59 am

I’ve seen professional aviators take two, three times longer than their classmates to reach their goals. It’s not abnormal even at much higher levels than PPL training.
 
747Whale
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:50 am

At this stage in your flying, you're expected to work toward being safe; you're not expected to be perfect. Always try your best, but any student is always learning and has a very small experience base from which to learn: every time you land you learn something else. It may not be what you intended, but you learn. That's just the way it works.

Flying is expensive. It costs nothing, however, to go sit in the airplane, close your eyes, and do the flight in your head while you reach out to the throttle and yoke and manipulate them; this mental exercise can pay off and can have a similar effect for you as having actually gone out and flown the airplane. I always encourage students to do this.

I also encourage students to sit in the airplane in the landing attitude. Close your eyes, imagine the approach and landing, then open the eyes and look outside. That sight picture is just what you'll see at touchdown. In fact, the entire time you're in that aircraft on the ground, you're rehearsing being at the altitude you'll be at touchdown; think of it as continuous practice seeing just what you'll see on landing.

Look farther down the runway. Until your depth perception is fine-tuned, looking farther down the runway will help as you use peripheral vision for depth. If judging height and flare is difficult right now, then use some "gates." Hold off making a big change near the ground. Students in light airplanes are often taught to pull the power to idle; maybe try landing with power. Pulling to idle makes a change close to the ground that requires a change in control inputs and destabilizes the airplane. Try flying it down to 50' then raising the nose a degree, fly it down like that. As you feel it's about to touch, raise it another degree. As the airspeed begins to bleed, and you slow, and you're close, you'll find it a bit easier to locate the ground. Once you get that feel, that sight picture, that peripheral sense, you'll have it, just like riding a bicycle. Once you get it, you get it.

The frustration you experience is sometimes called a "learning plateau." It's something that all students experience, though they get it in different ways. You'll feel like you're not making progress or just can't get past a problem, and then one day you get it. Sometimes it takes another flight. Sometimes it helps to go fly with a different instructor for a little while. Something to break that learning stalemate. I used to send a student who was struggling with something, with a different instructor for a lesson or two. Often it was that change that made the difference.

If you have a late flare, learn, let it go, and don't let it weigh you down for the next landing. New world, new day, new landing. let it go, start fresh on the next one, armed with any learning you took from the last. Don't let it snowball on you; build up in frustration or worry. That won't help. You will get it: there's no question about that.

I find that a student going for a practical test is often a lot more ready and prepared than they think. No doubt you will be, too.
 
sixfootscream
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:31 pm

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:29 am

Grab the aeroplane and do touch and go's. You will nail those landings in no time.
 
T54A
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:47 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:21 am

Change instructors
T6, Allouette 3, Oryx, King Air, B1900, B727, B744, A319, A342/3/6 A332/3 A359
 
seb76
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 5:02 pm

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:54 am

Examinators know better than anyone else that you can't be an excellent pilot with so little hours. They will not crush you for a hard landing, or for landing a meter away from the centerline. It's your attitude towards flying and safety in general that will be scrutinized much more than the smoothness of your landings or your manoeuvering skills. Obtaining the PPL is just a milestone, there are plenty of dangerous flying hours also after you obtain the license and how dangerous they will be depends on how you will use that freedom... the examinator wants to seen in you that have the proper judgement to survive those next hours...

For landing, you can practice some slow flying without actually landing a few centimeters from the runway (do this with an instructor). This helped me a lot to feel how the plane behaves when he is in such a slow energy state and how the controls should feel like seconds before touching.
When you pull up before landing, keep in mind that the goal is not to actually land the plane but keep it flying a few centimeters over the runway. So once stabilized over the runway, with the engine idle, increase back pressure to refuse the landing and stay at this height... the plane will gently sink by itself and will not bump.
Some floating is acceptable: if you are pushing the plane on the runway or try to touch down during the rounding, it will likely bump and start flying again.

During the exam, (just like every day), never hesitate to go around if you feel that you are going to land very long or if you didn't manage to stabilize the approch properly. The examinators are much more impressed by your good judgement than by your determination to succeed landing the plane at any cost when all indicators are in the red...

In french : Bonne merde !!!
 
Sand0rf
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:12 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:37 am

I've got my PPL self and did my flight test after 47 hours so I was quite a quick learner. However my landings weren't perfect and far from consistent during my final hours of my learning. Your examiner won't judge you on how gentle or how soft your landing is. His or her ONLY criteria for letting you pass is that you can solo safely land the aircraft in various situations. As Seb76 said before: "They will not crush you for a hard landing, or for landing a meter away from the centerline. It's your attitude towards flying and safety in general that will be scrutinized much more than the smoothness of your landings or your manoeuvering skills."

Your landings will become better once you have you license just as you become a better driver after you have your driving license.

Good luck! And many safe flying hours :)
 
Waterbomber
Posts: 849
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:51 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:54 am

I got my PPL at about 50 hours.
My landings were not consistent when variables such as crosswinds or a new runway came into play.
My crosswinds landings were not good, and my instructor humiliated me by showing me a perfect crosswind landing.

If you don't feel ready, it means that something in you has doubts.
I know that it costs money, but there is nothing like practise to get rid of your doubts. If you exam is weeks away, book a plane and your instructor or if he allows it, a seasoned safety pilot, and work on it until you nail it.

Also, read this article.
Landing is a lot about creating your own cues and reference points.
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all ... e/insights
 
LH707330
Posts: 2340
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:35 pm

1. Try looking up the Jacobson Flare, that may help you.
2. Sometimes try to think less and feel more. I once did a day of pattern work with the panel blocked off so that only my CFI could see it, so I had to eyeball everything, and it worked wonders in improving technique. It forces you to listen for engine RPM and take more sensory inputs into account.
3. Chair fly, as others have said
4. Keep a constant monologue going of what you're doing, this will help your CFI and examiner understand your thought process and ultimately help them give better feedback. This also helps when you get your PPL when dealing with nervous flyers
 
sccutler
Posts: 5839
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:23 pm

Here's the best checkride advice ever:

https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/communi ... ptain-levy’s-checkride-advice.15706/

FYI: In that thread, the term "PTS" is used, and it stands for "Practical Test Standards," the performance standards required for a certificate candidate to pass. May be called something different where you are.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
remingtonbox
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:44 am

Re: Student pilot close to flight test

Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:44 pm

Remember, if your instructor signed you off to take the test, the examiner has no reason to think you don't know how to fly. All it is is a conversation about aviation, answer to the best of your knowledge with succinct answers and fly as best as you know how. The PTS/ACS is written for a perfect day, there is wiggle room in it for the conditions on the day of your check.

Don't cram the night before, if you don't know it by then, you won't learn it that night, relax and get ready to join the very small slice of the population that can call themselves pilots.

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