Chasing Ratings »

Advanced ratings may make you a better pilot to a point. Checkrides help your judgment, but, as Ron Levy recently explained in Aviation Safety , no one can argue with experience. More

My First Time (Blush) »

You always remember your first time. As a pilot, that is. The sights. The sounds. The smells. And the indecision. More than one would-be pilot has thought better of taking the plunge and that first lesson perhaps from a fear of the unknown. Questions like, "What should I expect?" "What will they want me to do?" "Will I embarrass myself?" But, today, that first lesson is more important to the future of the aviation industry than ever. With this article, AVweb begins a regular series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her private pilot checkride. More

No Regrets »

Once a prospective pilot gets past the question of whether to begin flight training, one of the next major hurdles is choosing a flight instructor: No one will be more influential in your aviation career than your first flight instructor. But how does a student pilot-to-be go about learning what he or she needs to know to make the right decision? AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her private pilot checkride. More

Obstacles »

Learning to fly is not without its challenges. They can range from unsupportive and downright hostile friends and family, to the ever-present financial bite flight training can take, to overcoming personal fears and to just plain finding the time. AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her private pilot checkride. More

Ground School »

One of the least favorite aspects of learning to fly is the "book learning" one must endure to be able to fly the airplane. Indeed, the concept of having to pass a written exam, scored by a computer and compared to thousands of other student pilots, scares the wheel pants off of some would-be pilots. Then there's the question of whether study for the written exam should occur during flight training or beforehand, so as to weed out the slackers from the Chuck Yeagers and Scott Crossfields before too much money is spent. AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her private pilot checkride. And, especially, her ground school. More

Solo »

A student pilot experiences many plateaus and barriers to progress along the path to earning the Private Pilot certificate. None, however, are more symbolic than the first solo. Everything before the first solo flight is geared to it everything after it is based on it. AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her Private Pilot checkride. More

Going Places »

After a student pilot's first solo, one of the next big hurdles is the solo cross-country flight. After all, an airplane is for going places, isn't it? The trick, of course, is making sure you're going where the pilot wants to go, not where the airplane wants to go. AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her Private Pilot checkride. More

Starry, Starry Night »

A major crossroads in the life of any student pilot is the first cross-country flight in a star-studded sky. The radio frequencies are quiet. The engine is noisy. It's different. It's ... well ... it's dark. AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her Private Pilot checkride. More

Squawk-Ident »

Radio communications can be daunting to a student pilot. In the course of her quest for her Private Pilot Certificate, Tina Gonsalves overcame mic fright by spending an evening in the Bradley control tower and TRACON room and an afternoon at the Bridgeport Flight Service Station. AVweb's series on primary flight training continues as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her Private Pilot checkride. More

Checkride Jitters »

It's that time of year students who began their training last summer have finally made it through the poor winter weather and accumulated enough hours and experience to take their private pilot checkride. But with the anticipation comes anxiety. During a checkride, many pilots worry about pleasing the Designated Examiner, about performing within the limits of the Practical Test Standards for a given certificate or rating. But what's most important is to concentrate on the task at hand. As AVweb contributor Rob Guglielmetti writes, worrying about failing the checkride just might cause you to fail. More