· flying flight training

Pilots Have a Lot to Learn

If all things go well, I will complete a supervisory flight tomorrow. That’s a basic check in my pilot training where I fly with a different flight instructor than usual and they make sure I know what I’m doing (important!) and my procedures are safe (also important!).

Photo of an airplane's instrument panel

It got me thinking about all there is to learn when going for your private pilot licence–but there’s a lot of help out there, too! Here are some free resources to get you in the air:

  • PSTAR Study Guide. The PSTAR is a multiple choice test covering basic rules of the air and pilot responsibilities. Fifty questions are selected for you from a pool of 200, and you must get at least 45 of them right. This document from Transport Canada lists all the questions along with references to find the answers. Note it does not tell you what the correct answer is, you have to go find it! But that’s okay and helps with learning. I went through each part of the guide and answered the questions, then did the research to find out if I was right or not. Points that needed work got added to flash cards.
  • Robyn’s Improved PSTAR Study Guide. This site lists the answers to the PSTAR questions along with the rational backing it up. I confirmed the answers I researched before were right (some were difficult to find!) and got some tips in the commentary section (like the 2-4-6 rule of thumb for jet and propeller blast). Thank you, Robyn!
  • YouTube videos. I like Cyndy Hollman’s videos to refresh knowledge from ground school or a ground briefing. Captain Scott has a few good ones too, and there are also the one-offs from others that show a take-off or a landing. These are always interesting to watch because they expose us to differences in flying styles and illustrate new procedures. For the more instructional videos, you should be aware of the differences between methods in Canada compared to other countries and filter accordingly.
  • Flight Test Guide. This lists what you will be tested on for your flight test. You can use this–along with your instructor–to get an indication of how you are doing and what to work on. For me, having read this makes me feel comfortable because I know what to expect when I get to that point.
  • Flight Test Report Samples. Langley Flying School has put several flight test reports online to give an idea of what the examiners look for and how they evaluate potential pilots. These are invaluable!
  • The Finer Points of Flying and Flight Chops are two very well-produced online shows. You might not be able to use everything you see or hear right away, but they’re great because they put you in an aviation mindset and expose you to ideas you wouldn’t otherwise know.

See you in the sky!