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You’ve finally entered a pilot training school, now what? Now that you’re about to go into pilot training, you should use this chance to train and hone certain skills you will need to become a good pilot. These skills are necessary to help you get the job done and keep not only you and your crew safe, but your passengers as well.

And luckily for you, these skills can be easily picked up and refined while still in school. You also won’t need to develop such skills on your own since a pilot school has mentors to teach you the life skills and the necessary fight training to succeed in this career. Read on to learn more about these important life skills that can have a major impact in your career as a pilot.

Communication and Collaboration Skills

While you’re in pilot school, learn how to speak in public settings and converse with instructors and other people in positions of authority. Doing so will help you communicate with passengers on the plane, address their concerns, and help you become more approachable. Communication skills will also help you navigate the hierarchy between you and senior pilots.

Strive to learn how to speak and work with your classmates, especially when working on group projects. Learning to collaborate with others is an important skill as you will not be working alone as a pilot. You’re expected to work closely with your co-pilot as well as crew members, flight attendants, and air traffic control officers for the duration of the flight.

You should also think of your fellow flight students as future colleagues, and interacting with them will help you collaborate with all kinds of people. Take note of how you handle working with people, as the techniques you develop to deal in these situations will work in your favor in the future.

Foresight and Situational Awareness Skills

Pilots should always think ahead and be aware of the weather and their surroundings whenever they fly. So while you’re in pilot training, practice flying as much as you can to develop foresight and situational awareness skills. These skills will help you predict flight outcomes and deal with emergencies like unexpected weather changes.

To learn and hone these skills, you should strive to fly as much as you can in different environments and weather patterns. If you are able to, fly in different airports with different planes to get an idea of how these varying factors can affect the way you fly in the future. Doing so will not only familiarize you with flying, but you will also be able to develop techniques that you can use to ensure a smooth and safe flight.

Concentration and Organizational Skills

While pilots should be masters in multitasking, they should also be adept at concentrating on any given task at hand. One way to help them focus while multitasking by developing good organizational skills. Organizational skills can help them manage their time, the steps and checklists they need to go through before, during, and after flying a plane, and more.

By being well-organized, pilots are able to concentrate on flying the plane while also maintaining awareness of the flight systems. Remember, remaining focused and organized at all times frees the pilot from distractions that might compromise their ability to fly the plane and allow them to handle emergencies without panicking.

Avionics, Aerodynamics, and Aircraft Technical Skills

Don’t just stop at knowing how to fly planes and understanding how they work. Aim to deepen your knowledge by looking up the technical aspects of avionics, aerodynamics, and aerospace engineering. You don’t necessarily need to get an aerospace engineering degree, but understanding the basics of these three fields of study can help you check on the plane’s gears and technical performance.

You will also learn how to fly better as avionics and aerodynamics can tell you what kind of system settings are preferable for certain situations, as well as help you understand how angling your wings or tails can affect how smooth your flight is.

While you’re still training, take this opportunity to ask other pilots and engineers to teach you some of the finer details of avionics or aerodynamics principles. You can also try reading books about these subjects to broaden your knowledge.

Analytical Skills and Knowledge in Mathematics and Physics

Much like aircraft and other technical skills, you’ll also need to sharpen your knowledge in math and physics. As a pilot, you will do calculations and formulas, possibly mid-flight. So practicing mathematical skills and solving math problems in your head will be beneficial for you. In the process of flying an aircraft, you will also be honing your analytical skills, which can help you plan and expect what can happen during a flight.

Practice and solve mathematical and physics problems on your own if your flight school doesn’t offer these classes. If they do offer math and physics classes, solve the problems in your workbook during your free time and try doing them mentally as well.

Sharpening these skills while you’re still in pilot school will surely make you a cut above the rest of your peers. You can also keep improving these skills as you start working and find creative ways to apply them throughout your career.

 

As captain of the plane, the pilot bears the ultimate responsibility for everyone’s safety–both passengers and staff alike. One key component to ensuring everyone’s safety is practicing proper flight preparation. Considering how aircrafts are highly complex machines, understanding how it works and how to keep it in order is an important part of pilot training.

However, due to the complexity of a plane’s instruments and controls, pilots have to check several things first before they can even taxi the aircraft on the runway. Fortunately, all pilots are required to have a handy-dandy checklist nearby to help them stay on top of these points.

What is a Pre-Flight Checklist?

A pre-flight checklist is exactly as it sounds. It is a list of tasks and items that a pilot has to accomplish and check first before the plane can take off. After all, it is easier to address a problem on the ground rather than six kilometers up in the air. Encountering technical issues mid-flight is not only risky, but also potentially catastrophic for everyone on the plane. Thus, the pilot and the flight crew work very hard to ensure that every part of the plane is in efficient working order before it goes on the runway.

The history of pre-flight checklists can be traced to a fatal incident in 1935. It happened on one of the first test flights of the B-17. The account goes that the flight crew forgot to release the flight control gust locks, which led the plane to crash just after takeoff. Boeing, the manufacturer of the planes, realized that the machines were simply too complicated to operate from memory alone. Hence, the company started to require pre-flight checklists, and the practice soon spread throughout the aviation industry.

What Comprises a Pre-Flight Checklist?

Before a passenger even boards the plane, the pilot and the flight crew work hand-in-hand to prepare the aircraft for the flight. Here is a quick rundown of what the pilot goes through to ascertain that the plane is in the right condition for the journey.

Pre-Flight Briefing

In this stage of flight preparations, the flight crew goes over the entire flight plan and makes adjustments as needed. The pilot goes to the airport a few hours before a flight and conducts a briefing with the crew. They make sure that the paperwork is in order and administrative procedures are successfully followed.

In this stage, the crew discusses several things, including:

  • Calculating the correct amount of fuel for the trip
  • Pre-flight analysis (which includes the speed and altitude of the aircraft)
  • Weather predictions
  • Backup plans for different emergency and non-emergency situations

It is also the perfect opportunity to develop crew synergy and get everyone on the same page. In this manner, the crew all have the same mental flight plan and are prepared for any situation that may arise.

Pre-Flight Inspection and Setup

The tasks the pilot(s) has to accomplish in this step can be divided into three different stages:

  • Before starting the engine
  • Starting the engine
  • Before takeoff

This phase is divided as such because novice pilots may easily see the checklist as a series of disconnected tasks. By framing it in this manner, pilots can get a sense of logic and continuity in ticking the tasks off as they go through the list.

The list of tasks that pilots have to do for inspection can vary greatly from one plane to another. To give readers a general idea of what happens, here is a quick rundown of the pilot’s pre-flight inspection list.

1. Daily Inspections (DI)

The DI refers to the physical, in-depth inspection of the aircraft. It is often conducted at the start of the day. The pilot walks around the aircraft and lifts the cover panels to check for leaks, broken parts, structural cracks, and other mechanism concerns.

2. Turnaround Check

The turnaround check works similarly like the daily inspection, but it is often less extensive because the aircraft may be scheduled for another flight. In this step, the pilot is looking for potential problems that came from the aircraft’s last trip. Possible causes of concern include lower tire pressure, loose cowls, and chafing wires.

3. Aircraft and Avionics Setup

In this stage, the pilot(s) go over the systems and controls of the plane. Considering the sheer number of items that they have to check, many airline companies conveniently provide a checklist for the pilots to use. Pre-flight checklists were originally simple in design, but as the aviation industry continued to developed, the list of things that had to be examined became longer.

Some of the things the pilot(s) need to set up in this stage include:

  • Flight management system
  • Performance
  • Radios
  • Electrical system
  • Hydraulic system
  • Fuel system

4. Safety Systems Check

After configuring all the systems, the pilot(s) conducts test runs to ensure that all systems are working properly. If any system is not functioning as it should, the aircraft may be rendered out of commission until the issue is sorted out properly.

Flight Preparation and Checklists Go Hand in Hand

Indeed, navigating a heavyweight machine thousands of meters up in the sky is tricky. It may encounter turbulence, weather changes, and other disturbances while up in the air. Hence, the entire crew, especially the pilots, needs to ensure that the aircraft is in tip-top shape to reach its destination. And pilots would not be able to execute that efficiently without their pre-flight checklists.

 

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga – AAG’s portfolio of world class training solutions is a product of the team’s commitment to training value and willingness to submit to audits and inspections of regulatory and other certifying bodies, both local and international, to ensure quality, safety, and compliance. The organization’s international, regional, and local approvals and accreditations serve as benchmark and an affirmation that clients are provided with nothing less than world-class pilot training.

AAG takes pride for having FSTDs approved and certified by foreign regulatory bodies like the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It was in 2012 when AAG got its first EASA certification for its Airbus A320 Level D Full Flight Simulator. And since then, the team endeavored to meet and satisfy the quality and safety standards set by EASA, and even expanded the scope of its accreditation by adding two (2) more simulators under the EASA accreditation. On its 10th year now, Team AAG has once again undergone and has successfully passed the EASA FSTD re-qualification audit. The audit happened last February 16 to 23 at the AAG Headquarters in Clark, Freeport Zone, Pampanga. Capt. Klaus Walkner and Mr. Marek Molnar – EASA inspectors, were sent to the site to facilitate the audit. The audit covers inspection on the FSTDs’ correct operation of controls, instruments, and systems under normal and unusual conditions. A recurrent audit for AAG’s Compliance Monitoring System was also conducted, with focus areas on quality / compliance, internal audit process, staff training / qualifications, safety management and risk assessment, and FSTD maintenance and safety. “These are all in line with AAG’s Quality Policy – one that adheres to local laws, rules, regulations, and internationally accepted best practices. And it’s how we show our commitment to continuously elevate standards and our readiness to serve operators and individual pilots with the training solutions they need, like training solutions as per EASA standards”, said Ms. Ayessa Ann Bajamundi, Head – Quality and Compliance.

This milestone – a decade of complying to EASA standards, is a result of the concerted and collective efforts of the Quality & Safety Department, the Simulator Maintenance Department, AAG’s Training team, and all the other support teams who worked hard to prepare for the audit and make sure that the auditors will see “world-class” in every focus area of the audit. Few weeks later, the EASA Accreditation certificate for the Airbus A320 Level D FFS, Airbus A320 Level D FFS 2.0 (NEO / CEO + UPRT Configuration), and the Airbus A330 Level D FFS were released and were published on EASA’s website, making AAG still the only facility in the Philippines with FSTDs certified by the EU aviation agency / regulatory body.

Kudos to Team AAG!

 

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga – After months of ground school sessions, simulator and flight training, the cadets of APP 05-2021 successfully reached their first milestone as AAG-trained pilots – a successful first solo flight. On February 11, the 8 cadets of the batch finally earned their wings and proudly added another bar on their epaulets, signifying their readiness to take bigger and greater responsibilities as they move closer towards becoming world-class pilots.

The batch’s Pinning Ceremony, organized by the Student Affairs and Client Relations (SACRe) Department, was held at Simulator Bay 2, AAG Training Center – Annex building. AICAT’s new Head of Training, Capt. Gimby Cervania, formally opened the ceremony with his warm and firm welcome address, assuring the cadets that the training team will continue inculcating the knowledge, skills, and discipline needed for them to successfully complete the program. This was followed by an informative and inspiring congratulatory remarks from AAG’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Mr. Cristopher Magdangal. He underscored the value of adopting and implementing CBTA philosophy across all training modules and phases as a key enabler in training and developing the kind of pilots the industry needs as it navigates the path towards recovery. RD Cris also urged the cadets to keep their passion, commitment, and enthusiasm as they advance to the next phase of the training program, stressing that the first solo flight may be the most difficult and nerve-wracking experience they’ve came across so far, but it’s actually the easiest part of the entire training program, as it only marks the beginning of their pilot training journey. A video presentation showing each soloist’s experience before and after their flight, and their moments together that brought them to this day was also shown during the ceremony. This was further expounded by APP 05-2021’s representative, Cadet Michael James Francisco, as he shared the batch’s message of thanksgiving and appreciation to the people who helped them reach this significant milestone. Cadet Francisco also reminisced on their time together as individuals who share nothing but a single dream, and looked back on how far they’ve come despite their differences, the difficulties, and the challenges they’ve encountered. “Who would have thought that a single passion would bring us all here together,” he shared.

With this, the highlight of the ceremony was initiated. Each cadet, alongside their parents and guests, were called to the center for the ceremonial pinning of wings and changing of epaulet bars. Capt. Gaudencio Maniano and Capt. Gimby Cervania also assisted in awarding the first solo certificate and the cadets’ first solo aircraft model. To conclude the ceremony, AICAT’s Accountable Manager, Capt. Gaudencio Maniano delivered the closing remarks, quoting Neil Armstrong’s famous quote, “One small step for man, one big leap for mankind”- reminding the cadets that this significant milestone in their flight training may just be a small step, but is a giant leap towards their dream.

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga – On January 26, The Department of Tourism (DOT) officially commenced the first day of the Philippine Education Tourism Conference (PETC). The conference was a three-day event that tackled topics such as the past, present and future of English as Second Language (ESL) Courses in the country. This includes rising industries such as Voluntourism and Aviation as alternative modes of ESL education in the country. In the inspiring and insightful welcoming address of Hon. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat stated, DOT’s goal is “To make the Philippines the multi-faceted education tourism destination in the region.”

The first day of the event could be summed up by the word ‘demand’, as the topics during this day were focused on providing the data and statistics for ESL internationally. The discussion pertained to the Asian, European and USA markets, and what the Philippines have provided and could provide moving forward. Although, as Ms. Soleil Tropicales of DOT-San Francisco stated the Philippines must invest in marketing and promotion in order to compete with other [gap year] programs being offered in Asia.

The second day, however, could be summed up by the word ‘supply’, as the exhibitors and topics during this day consisted of experts from the Philippines who discussed the history of ESL, and other courses such as Culinary Arts, Voluntourism, and last but not the least Aviation, which could provide and cater to the demands of the markets mentioned the day before. AAG’s very own Region Director for the Asia Pacific, Mr. Christopher Magdangal was invited to speak on the topic “Philippines: Asia’s Center of Aviation Education”, highlighting Alpha Aviation Group’s competency to cater to the international demand, and what AAG has done for the Philippine aviation market in general through its world class training philosophy and support infrastructure.

For the final day of the PETC, a Business to Business (B2B) Virtual Networking was held for businesses and attendees who would like to inquire and know more about the exhibitors during the three-day conference.

The conference was attended by over 500 virtual participants, which consisted of both international and local participants, which were composed of students, organizations, and government agencies.