Top 5 Tips - Flight Training

by Joe Lombardi on Feb 16 2019
My name is Joe Lombardi, I am a Line Check Instructor at L3 Airline Academy in Sanford, Florida. I began training at the Academy in February 2017. Some of you may be lost and in need of some advice about how to get through flight training, which is not the easiest process to get through. So here are my top 5 tips:

1) Choose the right environment
There are various routes for flight training at different types of flight schools. For example, in the USA, flight schools are broken down into two categories, Part 61 and part 141. Part 61 flight schools are normally ones that you can find at your local airport. These are usually not fast paced, but, more of a ‘go with the flow’ style of training. I did my private pilot part 61 in New York and had a good experience. I did though choose to go to L3, a part 141 school, for a few reasons. One being that it was way more structured than my part 61 school. L3 also has more fast paced progression. This is good if you’re trying to get to the right-hand seat of a regional airliner fast. Elsewhere in the world, there are differences between Integrated courses and Modular routes of training, so it is important to find the right route for yourself. My old instructor at my school in New York recommended me to go to L3 because he thought I was able to handle the pace. 141 schools are much more demanding that part 61 schools, but in my opinion they’re more than worth it.

2) Get good at studying
Unfortunately for me, when I came to the Academy, studying was not a strong point of mine, and my learning curve was exponential. You really have to create good study habits if you want to succeed in any level of flight training. And trust me, there is a lot to study. Between airspace, weather, regulations, performance, aerodynamics, the list goes on forever. For me, creating notecards were the way to go. Re-writing information and reading it again and again really helped my knowledge. It’s also such a satisfying feeling when you do well in your oral exams because you know the material. That makes all of the late nights of studying worth it.

3) Enjoy failure
This may sound strange, but there is no better way to learn than failing. And there is no perfect pilot on this planet. You have to enjoy being broken down and built back up. Some of my most important lessons have been learned by making mistakes - you just have to learn from them. When I was training for my Multi Engine Instructor rating I had 1,000 hours. Did I make mistakes? Oh yeah. But when you come back and succeed you have an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction. So, learn to enjoy the failure because it can be used to your advantage.

4) Have passion
You are going to spend a lot of money on flight training and put in an unbelievable amount of time and energy, so make sure this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. Even on long days at work of four or five flights, I will always catch myself saying, “I can’t believe this is my job.” For most of us, it goes back to when we were young children and someone took us to an air show or the airport and we knew that this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. You have to bring yourself back to that moment when there are down times and remember what brought you to this point - your passion for aviation!

5) Enjoy the journey
Live in the moment. We are sometimes so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are. You can be grinding away trying to get to the right seat of a wide body jet, that when you get there you’ll realize you didn’t enjoy the time spent leading up to getting you there. I know it’s tough seeing people getting to where you want to be, but if you just focus on yourself and what you’re doing you will get there. Just take the time to appreciate that what you’re doing, whether you’re a student pilot or a flight instructor, not many people get to do what you do. Life is a journey, not a destination, enjoy it!