To be the best pilot you can you must be aware of possible mistakes. Whether young or old these are the 5 most common student pilot mistakes.
Failure to use the checklist
I had it fairly easy in my high school years. Most of my tests consisted of open book or open note tests. I figured if I wanted to pass I better take the time to look up every answer to make sure it’s correct.
This is similar to our checklist usage. The answers are right there in front of us but many students fail to use them.
Another twist to this is: Checklist usage for start, taxi, run-up, and takeoff and it remains on the dash untouched for the remainder of the flight.
Although you may think you’ve completely memorized the checklist it’s always good to double check.
I find students frequently get so eager to perform their flight maneuvers that they forget where to start. I always start each and every maneuver with a set of clearing turns. It’s important for you as the student to make sure the area is clear before conducting any maneuvers.
This tends to be an unknown with many pilots however the AIM suggests pilots turn crosswind 300 feet from pattern altitude. Example: If your pattern altitude is 1,000 feet, you’d turn crosswind at 700 ft.
Runway signs and Markings
Unfamiliar airports can seem like a jungle even to a veteran pilot. To better equip yourself have a taxiway diagram of every airport you plan to visit on that flight. Be sure to brush up on your runway signs and markings, I have a great video podcast on this subject you can view HERE.
VFR Cloud Clearance Requirements
This is a huge one! I’ve heard stories of students on their checkride flying into clouds because thats the heading the examiner put them on. Regardless you are responsible for maintaining proper cloud clearance which is: 1,000 feet above, 500 feet below, and 2000 feet horizontal from the clouds.
Next time your instructor puts you on a heading that looks like it may break these minimums, be sure to explain to him that you may be breaking the regulations if you continue of this heading.
These are simply 5 common mistakes I’ve observed through giving instruction. Maybe you’ve seen some others, I’d love to hear them! Send me an Email or leave a comment below