| Home | Privacy | Contact |

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Introduction To Flying

The Student Pilot

| First | Previous | Next | Last |

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making




Do not make the determination based on financial concerns
alone, because the quality of training is very important. Prior to
making a final decision, visit the schools under consideration
and talk with management, instructors, and students.

Be inquisitive and proactive when searching for a flight
school, do some homework, and develop a checklist of
questions by talking to pilots and reading articles in flight
magazines. The checklist should include questions about
aircraft reliability and maintenance practices, questions for
current students such as whether or not there is a safe, clean
aircraft available when they are scheduled to fly.

Questions for the training facility should be aimed at
determining if the instruction fits available personal time.
What are the school's operating hours? Does the facility have
dedicated classrooms available for ground training required
by the FAA? Is there an area available for preflight briefings,
postflight debriefing, and critiques? Are these rooms private
in nature in order to provide a nonthreatening environment in
which the instructor can explain the content and outcome of
the flight without making the student feel self-conscious?

Examine the facility before committing to any flight training.
Evaluate the answers on the checklist, and then take time to
think things over before making a decision. This proactive
approach to choosing a flight school will ensure a student
pilot contracts with a flight school or flight instructor best
suited to individual needs.

How To Choose a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI)

Whether an individual chooses to train under 14 CFR part 141
or part 61, the key to an effective flight program is the quality
of the ground and flight training received from the CFI. The
flight instructor assumes total responsibility for training an
individual to meet the standards required for certification
within an ever-changing operating environment.

A CFI should possess an understanding of the learning
process, knowledge of the fundamentals of teaching, and
the ability to communicate effectively with the student pilot.
During the certification process, a flight instructor applicant
is tested on the practical application of these skills in specific
teaching situations. The flight instructor is crucial to the
scenario-based training program endorsed by the FAA. He
or she is trained to function in the learning environment as an
advisor and guide for the learner. The duties, responsibilities,
and authority of the CFI include the following:

• Orient the student to the scenario-based training
• Help the student become a confident planner and
inflight manager of each flight and a critical evaluator
of their own performance.
• Help the student understand the knowledge
requirements present in real world applications.
• Diagnose learning difficulties and helping the student
overcome them.
• Evaluate student progress and maintain appropriate
• Provide continuous review of student learning.

Should a student pilot find the selected CFI is not training in
a manner conducive for learning, or the student and CFI do
not have compatible schedules, the student pilot should find
another CFI. Choosing the right CFI is important because
the quality of instruction and the knowledge and skills
acquired from this flight instructor affect a student pilot's
entire flying career.

The Student Pilot

The first step in becoming a pilot is to select a type of aircraft.
FAA rules for getting a pilot's certificate differ depending
on the type of aircraft flown. Individuals can choose among
airplanes, gyroplanes, weight-shift, helicopters, powered
parachutes, gliders, balloons, or airships. A pilot does not
need a certificate to fly ultralight vehicles.

Basic Requirements
A student pilot is one who is being trained by an instructor
pilot for his or her first full certificate, and is permitted to
fly alone (solo) under specific, limited circumstances. Upon
request, an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner
(AME) will issue a combined medical certificate and Student
Pilot Certificate after completion of a physical examination.
Student Pilot Certificates may be issued by an FAA inspector
or an FAA-designated pilot examiner. To be eligible for a
Student Pilot's Certificate, an individual must be:
• Be 16 years old (14 years old to pilot a glider or
• Be able to read, write, speak, and understand
• Hold a current Third-Class Medical Certificate (or for
glider or balloon, certify no medical defect exists that
would prevent piloting a balloon or glider).