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5 Causes Of Learning Plateaus, And How To Solve Them

This story was made in partnership with ATP Flight School. Check out the full series here. Ready to become a pilot? Get started with ATP here.

Everyone hits a plateau during flight training...

1) Your 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.


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, but with practice, anyone can learn to master it.


3) Mastering Steep Turns

Whether you're flying standard 45-degree steep turns, or 50-degree commercial turns, this is a challenging 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) 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.


5) Transitioning To Towered Airports

If you learned how to fly out of a non-towered field, transitioning to flying while communicating with ATC can feel a bit intimidating.

Spend time reviewing radio procedures, and use resources like to get ready for your next flight to a towered airport.


What are some other reasons why students plateau during training? Tell us in the comments below.

Thinking about becoming a pilot? Get started with ATP Flight School, and find out how to start your aviation career here.

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