If you’re pondering a career as a pilot and have already received your acceptance letter from flight school, be ready to supplement your learning with a few outside resources. You’re going to need to study and remember a mountain of information. Luckily, the internet is full of primary and secondary sources that can answer most of your questions while clarifying many of the answers. Check out this selection of the best resources for flight students to gain an edge on your education.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Website
Whether you’re deciding to become a private, airline, or another kind of airplane pilot (and don’t forget that you can get a private or commercial helicopter pilot certificate as well), the FAA oversees the rules, regulation, and enforcement of all. Besides serving as an excellent resource on the history and news regarding flight, licensing requirements, training and testing, and general information about flying, the FAA site provides two indispensable guides. They are the Airplane Flying Handbook and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. You can download both as PDF files at the FAA website.
Want the sensation of flight with none of the risks? Flight simulators are the best way to get the experience. Different simulators offer different degrees of realism, of course, from computer programs and smartphone apps to the full-flight, seated simulator system you may encounter at your flight school. No one can learn to fly from these without the supervision and training that an experienced flight instructor offers. However, they’re a good way to get a taste for the experience while receiving a basic introduction to flight instruments.
Naturally, there are hundreds of apps available for everyone, from flight students to professional pilots. Starting with the basics, pick up an aviation dictionary app so that you can begin memorizing all the standard words, definitions, and abbreviations associated with flight. Download it to your phone and be ready to search for a term in class or during a flight. Other apps allow you to eavesdrop on general exchanges between pilots and air traffic controllers. These provide you with the experience of receiving directions, hearing common terms, and seeing the layouts of the various airports. Other apps offer the means to calculate weights and balances, maintain logbooks, record flight lessons, engage in debriefings, and more.
When considering the best resources for flight students, look for podcasts from experienced pros as well as your fellow flight students. There are dozens of podcasts available featuring stories and talks about flight school, aviation issues, frequent problems and solutions, employment opportunities for pilots, training and testing, and much more. Most podcasts offer the chance to communicate with the hosts and their guests as well. So, you can follow up on what you heard during the show. Listen in and learn!