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6 Tips You Can Learn From Student Pilots To Improve Your Every-Day Flying

As pilots, there's a lot we were taught during training that applies to us each and every day we fly. But there are some things you probably had to do as a student pilot that flew to the wayside. Here are a few habits good student pilots have that you should consider for yourself...

1) Planning the night before.

Remember waiting for that solo cross country and looking at weather forecasts hoping for clear skies? Looking at forecast charts might change your decision to depart earlier or later if things aren't shaping up. Don't put yourself in a "get-there-itis" situation.

Swayne Martin

2) Weight and balance.

Your flight instructor probably made you calculate weight and balance for every flight. Make sure to keep current on your calculation skills - one day you'll need to fly a heavy plane. Don't be left guessing if you're aircraft's load is within limits.

Swayne Martin

3) Pilotage.

Sure, GPS is most efficient and practical for your day to day flying, but you should never become a child of the magenta line. If all else fails, you should be ready to practice pilotage and dead reckoning to get where you're going. Next time you fly, consider practicing a route using just a sectional, and following visual checkpoints. You can still use an EFB, like ForeFlight, to practice this with sectional charts. For more challenge, turn off your location shown on top of the moving map.

Swayne Martin

4) Hand flying.

If you have an autopilot, hand-fly a flight (or part of a flight) to improve your multi-tasking skills. It's a good way to keep yourself alert and proficient during a flight you might normally find routine.

Flickr/Marcin Wichary

5) Practice simulated emergencies.

It's no secret that instructors love to grill students on emergencies. When's the last time you reviewed the emergency procedures in your plane? Test yourself when you're en-route by reviewing emergency procedures.

Swayne Martin

6) BRIEFINGS - Taxi, Takeoff, Approach, and Landing.

With an instructor, you were often expected to give full taxi, takeoff, approach, and landing briefings. Even as a single pilot, it's a great way to make sure you have all the information you need, and that you're going the right direction.

Barnaby Kerr

What other good habits do student pilots have? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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