1. Ground school takes longer than actual flying
Although you could complete your flight training in less than 4 weeks (depending on weather and aircraft availability of course), the theory – commonly called ground school is the part that takes long. It may take six months or more to complete the PPL ground school especially if you are studying part time. Even as a student pilot, you will be required to wear pilot uniform with one-bar epaulettes during both ground and flight training.
2. Most students exceed the minimum training hours
Although there may be some flight schools that suggest a private pilot licence could be obtained in 45 hours or less, research shows that the average student would have developed the required proficiency at around 60 to 80 hours of flight. It is not always possible to earn a pilot’s licence within the minimum flight hours.
3. Flying often is the best option
Flying often (progressive flying) will help you to develop your skills faster than spreading your lessons over a longer period. You could also supplement your flight hours on an approved simulator. Of course there is a cap on the hours that will count towards your private pilot licence.
4. Your progress affects your instructor’s score
Student records are by law required to be filed and key points submitted to the Directorate of Civil Aviation. An instructor who gets a progressive student pass rate of less than 90 percent will be in bad books and may have to undergo some remedial training or will lose their instructor rating. You must be rest assured that your instructor wants you to succeed.
5. You cannot cross geographical boundaries
As a student pilot, you may not cross international boundaries unless a prior arrangement is in force between the Malawi Directorate of Civil Aviation and the aviation authority of the country you intend to cross. Of course there are bilateral agreements between Malawi and Mozambique as well as Malawi and Zambia which allow delegation of airspace. For example, Malawi controls some Mozambican airspace around the immediate west of Dedza. You may thus cross into Mozambican territorial airspace on your cross-country flight but under the control of Malawi air traffic control (see video below extracted from our online flight school).
As you can see from the video above, the flightpath crosses Mozambican airspace. However, that airspace is controlled by Malawi — more specifically the Lilongwe Flight Information Region (FIR).
6. You cannot carry friends on training flights
Regulations do not allow a student to carry passengers including friends and family on their training flight. Even on your cross-country flight, the only passenger that is permitted is your flight instructor. An exception may be given to other students for the sole purpose of training.
7. You could learn to fly for free
Yes. You could learn to fly for free. Even at Eastrise! We have a blog post on five ways you could learn to fly for free. Curious to find out how? Here is the link.
8. You won’t get a job with a PPL
The Private Pilot Licence is the entry-level pilot licence. With a PPL, you have the freedom to fly to any part of the world under visual flight rules. You can carry passengers but they should not pay any fee. In fact you must contribute to the direct costs of the flight to satisfy legal requirements. Of course, you could work with a PPL only if holding the PPL is not the primary requirement. For example, you could work as an engineer and use the aircraft to fly from one place to another in the course of your work.
9. Your pilot’s licence is renewable after 5 years
A Private Pilot Licence is valid for 5 years in Malawi. However, you will have to go for revalidation checks after the first 12 months and thereafter after 24 months. An approved pilot examiner will fly with you and will assess your aircraft handling skills and aeronautical decision making. This is to ensure that you have maintained or improved your skills. This is why a pilot must continue flying at least once a month to ensure that the newly acquired skills are not eroded with the passage of time.
10. Your first solo will be within the aerodrome
Your first solo flight will be a short flight lasting no more than 40 minutes. It will be within the aerodrome. Your flying instructor will have to authorise your solo flight. It is the first flight you will be the pilot-in-command.
What are other things that a student pilot ought to know? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.