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7 Causes Of Learning Plateaus During Flight Training

Everyone hits a plateau during flight training. Here are 7 of the most common reasons...

1) The First Solo

Transitioning from flying with an instructor to those first few solo flights is a huge obstacle that student pilots face. A number of things can go wrong: students don't feel ready, instructors become hesitant, or the weather just isn't cooperating. If you're about to solo for the first time, relax by remembering that your instructor is signing you off because they have total confidence in you.

Rodger McCutcheon

2) Crosswind Landings and Takeoffs

Crosswinds are tough to master, at least initially. They require complex aileron, rudder, and elevator coordination very close to the ground. It's one of the hardest maneuvers for students to learn and takes lots of practice.

3) Mastering Steep Turns

Whether you're flying standard 45-degree steep turns, or 50-degree commercial turns, this is a tricky maneuver to perfect. Learning how to stay coordinated throughout the turn, time your rollout, all within ACS standards is a big task for a new pilot.

4) Finances

Not being able to fully fund training is a top cause of dropouts. If you're not able to adequately fund most (or all) of your training before you begin, you should consider waiting to start. Save up beforehand and apply for as many scholarships as you can find, so you won't get stuck halfway through training by running out of funds.

Corey Komarec

5) Mastering Stalls

Power-on and power-off stalls are one of the most important maneuvers learned during training. Recovering incorrectly can lead to a spin. Many students have anxiety about this maneuver because of the perceived instability/risk associated with flying stalls.

6) Transitioning To Towered Airports

If you learned how to fly out of an uncontrolled field, transitioning to flying while communicating with ATC can feel a bit intimidating. The phraseology is like a new language and the procedures are quite different.

Boldmethod

7) Checkride Anxiety

As you finish a flight course, some students tend to hit a plateau around the time their checkride is due. Fear of failure is a big reason for this.

ErikBrouwer

What are some other reasons why students might plateau during training? 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 swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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