Pass your written exam before you fly

Pass your written exam before you fly

February 22, 2019

The Learn to Fly series is aimed at helping flight students to think outside the box when it comes to their training. In this case, let's discuss why you need to take your written exam before you fly. This concept applies to any certificate or rating.

Consider this: You don't learn in the cockpit. There is simply too much going on in the cockpit once you’re airborne. The purpose of flight training is to put what you already learned into practice and build your muscle memory.

For instance, let's look at the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for rectangular patterns. What your instructor is looking for is whether you understand the effect of wind on the airplane's ground track. Your success is measured by holding your ground track in a rectangular pattern, as opposed to letting the wind blow you all over the place. In order to perform the pattern correctly, you must first study the procedure of  

  • how the wind affects your airplane's airspeed,
  • how your airplane's airspeed relates to its ground speed, and
  • what the required bank angle is during your maneuver to maintain a rectangular ground track. 

If you thought you could learn all of this while holding altitude, airspeed, heading, and then still receiving instruction from your CFI, all I can say is, “Good luck.” You need the mental model built well before getting into the cockpit. While flying, you should simply apply the knowledge you already have. This is why, as we discussed in Student Pilot Best Practices, you should always do your preflight and postflight with your instructor in order to

  • confirm you have the knowledge you need,
  • discuss the execution of your plan, and
  • debrief on how you can do it better next time.

A flight school will offer you an expensive solution but offset the high cost with poor quality instruction. They will tell you that you can take a weekend class for a pricey fee and they will guarantee you pass the written exam. They're not wrong, but in today's day and age with all the available resources, your test prep can actually be nearly free. The other issue is that they teach directly to the test. They may even give you the actual questions to memorize, but the problem with this solution is that you can't learn how to be a safe and reliable pilot this way.

Therefore, we recommend self-study. Through self-study, you will develop a conceptual understanding of the material and learn how to apply it, both on the FAA exam and in real life.

Ou1-2-3-Free method is superior in both cost and quality. It simply requires confidence to execute, as there won't be a flight school holding your hand through the process. Do you want to be a pilot who takes the easy and inferior path or the safe and smart one? I know who I want to fly with.

If you appreciate us boldly speaking truth to power, please like and share us on Facebook and consider letting us help you become a better pilot by purchasing one of our products.



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