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8 Mistakes Every Student Pilot Should Avoid

If you want to avoid over-spending on training, or developing bad habits, don't make these 8 mistakes.

1) Failing to establish a solid financial plan before you start training.

Flight training can be expensive. Don't start until you know exactly how you're going to pay for it. Whether it's loans, scholarships, personal finances, or a combination, the last thing you want to happen is a large pause in training due to finances. It will derail your progress and cost you more overall.

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2) Flight training isn't always easy; don't expect to be perfect.

Flight training is hard work, and you WILL hit plateaus from time to time. The challenges associated with flight training are also what makes it so rewarding. If it was as easy as driving a car, it wouldn't be nearly as exciting!

3) Continuing to train with a CFI you don't "click" with.

Sometimes people just don't get along well. And while you should work to overcome your differences, if you're having a hard time learning from your instructor, try a new one. It may seem awkward or daunting, but remember that receiving extremely important professional training.

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4) Inconsistent flight schedule.

The more often you fly, the quicker you'll complete your training. It's difficult to progress without a solid schedule in place.

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5) Pushing yourself to solo before you're ready.

Your first big milestone of initial flight training is your first solo flight. While you shouldn't push yourself to solo before you're ready, you also need to be confident in your skills. If your instructor has signed you off to solo, they have the confidence that you're 100% ready, otherwise, they'd never sign you off!

6) Developing an over-reliance on automation or technology.

As technology makes its way into the cockpit, don't forget to learn the basics! Your pilotage and dead reckoning skills are just as important as your ability to program a GPS or EFB. As you get started, focus on your scanning skills outside the cockpit, rather than relying solely on instrumentation.

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7) Not coming prepared for a flight lesson.

Studying before you get into the cockpit is the #1 way you can save money. Knowing your checklists, procedures, and content will save valuable minutes from each flight. That adds up over dozens of trainig hours at more than $150 per hour.

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8) Training isn't always quick. Enjoy every step!

The journey to becoming a professional pilot is a long one. Instead of overfocusing on the end goal, which is likely years away, enjoy where you are in the present. Mix up your flight training with fun destinations every now and then to make the experience memorable and fun!

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What other tips do you have for new student pilots? Tell us in the comments below!

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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 swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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