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The 7 Hardest Parts About Becoming A Private Pilot

Everyone knows that crosswind landings are challenging for student pilots. But beyond landings, there's a lot of other things you should be ready for...

7) Getting Into "School Mode"

First and foremost, getting your brain into a "school mode" can be a challenge. Learning to fly is undoubtedly fun, but there's also a lot of studying outside the cockpit.

6) "Radio Talk"

Learning how to actively listen for your callsign in busy airspace is tough, but with some practice in the air and on the ground, you'll have it down in no time...

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5) Decoding Textual Weather

Whether it's a METAR or PIREP, you need to decode textual weather.

Need a refresher? Give our Aviation Weather Products course a try.

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4) Aerodynamics

A large part of learning to fly is understanding the physics of how it all works. One simple example is the lift to drag ratio for your airplane. At L/D max, or the best lift to drag ratio, you'll find your best glide speed.

3) Learning Regulations

There are hundreds of FAA Regulations that govern how, where, and when you can fly. Some of them can be pretty confusing. As a student pilot, you're just as responsible for adhering to the FARs as any fully certificated pilot. Keep yourself out of trouble and learn those regs!

2) The National Airspace System

It's more than identifying lines of airspace on a sectional chart. You'll need to know what weather minimums exist at different altitudes (day and night), what your equipment requirements are, and what your communication requirements are.

1) Aircraft Systems

One of the toughest topics for private pilot students is aircraft systems.

Want to know more about the systems and equipment in your aircraft? Dig into your POH and read section 7. Better yet, find a local A&P at your airport and have them walk you through a few systems with the cowling off. Getting hands-on with the equipment behind closed panels is a great way to learn how your airplane flies.

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Ready to start your flight training?

In the American Airlines Cadet Academy, you'll train with select flight schools and be paired with an American Airlines pilot mentor to walk with you through the program. Accepted flight school candidates will have the option to work with Discover® Student Loans to apply for a loan.

After you complete the program, AA's three wholly owned regional carriers (Envoy, PSA, and Piedmont) will offer you a guaranteed interview. If you're hired by one of these regional airlines, you will be well on your way to working at American Airlines.

Want to learn more? Check out the AA Cadet Academy here.

Discover Student Loans are not offered or made by American Airlines or any flight training school, but are made by Discover Bank.

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