Building a Flight Training Foundation

Building a Flight Training Foundation

Recently I’ve had the incredible opportunity to reach a new career high, training to fly the Boeing 787. To be honest, flying a wide-body aircraft was not a must-accomplish career goal. But having gone through the training and reflecting on how I will be flying literally all over the world got me thinking. How did my early days of flight training when I learned to fly a Cessna 172; or stepped up to the “big plane” in the flight school’s fleet, a light twin-engine airplane, build the foundation for success in each step in my career?

Many people argue that going to university is not about the program you take but rather about showing future employers that you have the ability to learn and see something through to the end. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many professions that rely on the fact that during your post-secondary education, you will learn skills that will directly relate to your chosen career path (pilot, plumber, accountant, doctor, etc). My point is, that during these initial years of training, whether it be pilot training or an undergraduate degree, foundations are built. 

From day one of your pilot training, you will be required to take ground school, participate in flight training, learn specifics about your aircraft, and master procedures. This is not unlike other points of your career such as day 730 (2 years) or day 3650 (10 years) when you start a new job and begin learning a new aircraft with new procedures. The common phrase “drinking from a fire hose” comes to mind. 

Drinking From a Fire Hose

So how do you manage to find success as you advance in your career and get presented with the challenge of learning a new highly complex aircraft in a matter of weeks before being shuffled off to a simulator (sweat box) to put what you’ve learned into practice for another few weeks? 

It all starts with that foundation. The early days of flight training will teach you to sift through piles and piles of information and focus on what is must-know, need-to-know, and nice to know. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to get good at knowing where to find information. We’ve only got so much memory, and we all seem to think ours holds less information than the next person. The important thing to remember is you don’t need to memorize everything but you do need to know where to find something when you need it. The crosswind limit of your aircraft is one thing that is important to remember, but the obscure symbol representing a sand storm on a weather chart may be something you can look up when you need to. 

While you study for your private pilot license develop some learning tactics that work for you. Keep these tactics in mind as you progress through the rest of your initial pilot training and beyond. I guarantee it will come in handy each time you go to a training event. 

Tips for Flight Training Success

Memorize the important stuff such as aircraft limitations, immediate action emergency procedures, and important regulations, and know where to find everything else. I know it’s not always easy to identify the need to know from the nice to know when you don’t know anything but do your best. Think about when and how often you may need a piece of information. If it’s something you will require often or if it needs to be recalled when you are on final approach to the runway, it’s likely something worth memorizing. 

Practice your procedures in a non-dynamic environment such as the hangar, or in a chair at home. While learning to fly the 787, my sim partner and I would meet and review our procedures using a cockpit poster. We did this every day multiple times a day to ensure we knew the “everyday” stuff. This allowed us to show up for each simulator session ready to intake new information without worrying about stuff we should already know. This simple tactic is one of the best tools you can put in your tool belt.

Create training resources for yourself such as flashcards, or flow charts to help keep you organized until you can perform tasks without them. Technology allows us to be very creative in how we learn. But it doesn’t always have to be complicated. Sometimes a simple $2.00 pack of note cards and some colored pens is all it takes to create a great training aid. I’ve seen people use sticky notes and place them all over their house so they can easily study aircraft limitations as they brush their teeth in the morning. 

Collaborate with other pilots. One of my favorite things from my 787 training was sitting around with other pilots and discussing the next day’s lesson. During these discussions, we would identify new unconsidered perspectives or thoughts that would highlight important keys to success. With today's technology, this doesn’t even have to be face-to-face.

Take it day by day. While it is important to have an idea and understanding of how your training will progress, there’s no need to worry about lesson 14 when you are only on lesson 3. Focusing on what you need to know for each lesson in sequence will keep you on track but not overwhelmed. 

Build Your Foundation

Building your foundation will undoubtedly set you up for success in every stage of your aviation career. Developing good study habits from day one can make your pilot training much easier and much cheaper! If you need help with laying the first brick of your foundation please reach out to the team at Level Flight! We’ve all been in your shoes and are ready to support you in taking the necessary steps to achieve your dreams. Fill out the contact form below or call us today at 403-525-5622.



Yes! All of our courses come with standard support which includes easy access to professional help. Methods of accessing support include:

  • In-portal messaging
  • Website support request form
  • Email
  • In-portal Discussion groups 

Completing ground school online does not mean learning alone. Pilot training is a team effort and we're here to support you! 

It sounds like a difficult process to become a pilot. Truth is, it's fairly straight forward and you are guided every step of the way. Refer to the following links to learn about the process to become a pilot and the various licenses and ratings. Included in the links is our articles page which is always updated with new content that can answer more of your questions. 

To answer this we need to know what kind of pilot do you want to be. Do you want to be a private pilot and fly recreationally? Or do you want to be a commercial pilot and fly for hire? One thing to note is that flight training can be a variable cost that is dependent on each specific person's rate of progress. Be wary of anyone that will give you a solid low price figure as it may be based on an absolute best-case scenario and not average statistics. Check out the link below and click on each license and rating to learn more about the specific costs and requirements. Each one is listed in the typical order in which you might obtain them. 

Licenses and Ratings

Generally speaking, a pilot will spend anywhere from approximately $12,000 to $100,000 to become a pilot depending on what kind of pilot they want to be. Note that ground school is the cheapest part of the flight training experience. The actual flying part of the training is where the big money is spent. Flight schools roughly charge an average of $200/hr for each flight. 

Take Flight Now

Level Flight is Canada’s best online ground school. It is our mandate to provide higher quality, more engaging training for Canadian Student Pilots. If you are seeking the exhilarating freedom of flight for a hobby or with aspirations of a career in the skies, Level Flight offers the best ground school experience available. Sign up for our online learning platform now and discover the adventure that awaits you at Level Flight. 

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