Learning to Fly

Luck vs Experience

Learning to fly is a process. No one gets it 100% right in the beginning. It is said that at the same time you get your PPL, you get two buckets: one empty, one full. The empty bucket is your (lack of) Flying Experience, the full bucket is Luck. The trick is to fill the bucket of Experience before the bucket of Luck runs out!

Your Instructor will have trained you to fly within certain safe parameters. These are your building blocks. From here, you now have a license to learn. Stick to the guidelines, and you will live long enough to become an old, experienced pilot.

Your Integrity
Along the way, as you are learning to fly, you may do something you realised afterward was perhaps not too clever. It is very important to own up if you have done something that could cause someone else harm down the line. No one wants to look bad, but choose the path of self respect and integrity and own up if you have. It is not the 'easy' route, but it is the right route.

Mistakes that Cost
I have made some mistakes I am not proud of... I have even made mistakes when flying :P You will hear about some of these errors in judgement "anonymously" in the links below. I have never stopped learning to fly. There is always a new lesson to be absorbed.

Some things I have heard about where people didn't own up was a nose wheel landing, resulting in the next guy taxiing out and having the nose gear collapse on him, causing a prop strike. It would have been a lot cheaper if the nose striker had said something.

I have heard of an aircraft wing becoming separated from the aircraft body aloft resulting in two fatalities. The investigation showed it was due to airframe stress... apparently someone went through Vne and said nothing.

Do the Right Thing
So do what is right. Own up if the flight didn't go so well. You may be saving huge costs on the aircraft, or even the next pilots life. What if that next pilot is you?

About Landings:
You may have heard that the definition of a 'Good Landing' is one that you can walk away from. The definition of a 'Great Landing' is one after which you can use the aeroplane again.

May ALL your landings be GREAT ones!

Have you had an
"interesting" flight experience?
Care to share?

We all have stories. Some good experiences, some not so much. Telling these stories can not only potentially be a great help, but also get some fun responses from others!

Learning from others mistakes is the safest way to learn after all!

Share your triumphs and your boo-boos, close calls, lessons learned, and any amusing incidents by writing about it below. It's such a shame to allow your hard earned knowledge to become lost. Don't let that happen. Please.

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What Other Aviators Have Experienced

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Density Altitude 
I am not a fancy pilot And I don’t have fancy wings I mostly fly small trainers One engine only, sings One hundred horse’s power May sound like …

RED DRESS. . . 1 of 2 
I entered the office for the first time, all excited about this new adventure I was about to embark on. It took years of planning and saving up for probably …

Life as a Flight Instructor in Bhisho 
I can sit for Hours and listen to the more senior ‘manne’ and listen to their old SAAF stories or anything about the Army, so it’s not one of those good …

PTT Not rated yet
My first flight with not just 1 but 2 passengers (friends of mine) I was a bit worried that they had a good time and that the landing was going to be a …

To hell with Murphy! Not rated yet
I love the feeling of power in my hands: good , long hard thrust at my beck and call, the quiet vibration of an engine humming merrily in it’s mad dash …

Well first of all let me set the scene: I'm a UK PPL holder and having heard about the amazing coastline and wildlife situated in Kwa-Zulu Natal I thought …

RED DRESS ... 2 of 2  Not rated yet
While walking from the parking lot on Friday morning for a quick flight, before planning for the party in celebration of the three that were now the …

Major Blow Out! Not rated yet
I learned first hand that applying brakes hard on asphalt causes tires to pop. It was an embarrassing lesson to learn. I was doing a short field …

Click here to write your own.

Go from Learning to Fly to Flight Briefings

only search PPL-Flight-Training.com

or contact Telani Lithgow


  • How to fold a map.
  • NOTAM - mysteries explained.
  • Luck vs Experience
  • The Fine Finicky Art of Fluid Flight - An instructors perspective on flight training:
    Slowing Down Quickly
  • Quick Density Altitude Calculation
  • The Joystick
  • Newtons Laws Explained

    Coming soon:
    Dangerous Airports
    Landing Uphill
    Different Instructors, Different Expectations

    Submitted by Visitors:
  • Flight Instruction in Bhisho
  • Red Dress - Part 1
  • Red Dress - Part 2
  • Major Blow Out
  • Brilliant Experience!
  • To Hell with Murphy!
  • PTT
  • Density Altitude - Poem
  • A Special B17 and her crew in 1943

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