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Getting Your Private Pilot License - Circuit Training


In this series, I will share my experiences of getting my Private Pilot License from preparations to my checkride. I am a glider pilot with about 190 hours gliding experience, ready to take the next step and start flying with an engine! In this step-by-step guide, I will share every flying lesson, the lessons I learn, tips I receive and recommendations I have to get the most out of your flight training.

Last Sunday morning I had my fourth flying lesson. During the first 3 hours, my instructor and I did all the exercises that needed to be finished before starting with circuit training. We finished everything the previous lesson so I was ready to start practicing my landing circuits. 

The objective of this flight was to improve my circuits, procedures and landings. Most important were the configurations of the aircraft and making sure I was flying a stabilized approach down to the runway.

The circuits at our local airfield in Goetshoven (Belgium) have been adjusted recently due to noise complaints from certain people living around the airfield (I guess we are not the only airfield with that problem). We have two crossed runways with four possible right hand circuits:

As you can see we also have a different circuit for motorized aircraft and gliders. They are all drawn to avoid overflying housed in so-called noise abatement areas. On Sunday, the wind was coming from the East so we had runway 06 in use at the time of my flight.

We started out with a few normal circuits. The first one I did I got mixed up with radio calls resulting in a misconfiguration of the aircraft which brought me way off the altitude and speed I should have had. A steep approach and long flare later we throttled up for another try.

My next few landings were a lot better once I realized aviate comes before communicate. We practiced a few standard landings, one without using flaps, a few power-off landings and an EFATO (Engine Failure After Take-Off). As you can see in the overview below all were ok!

Exercises progress:

  • Exercise 1a: Familiarisation with the airplane
  • Exercise 1b: Emergency drills
  • Exercise 2: Preparation for and action after flight
  • Exercise 3: Air experience: flight exercise
  • Exercise 4: Effects of controls
  • Exercise 5a: Taxiing
  • Exercise 5b: Emergencies: brake and steering failure
  • Exercise 6: Straight and level
  • Exercise 7: Climbing
  • Exercise 8: Descending
  • Exercise 9: Turning
  • Exercise 10a: Slow flight
  • Exercise 10b: Stalling
  • Exercise 11: Spin avoidance
  • Exercise 12: Take-off and climb to downwind position
  • Exercise 13: Circuit, approach and landing
  • Exercise 12/13: Emergencies
  • Exercise 14: First solo!
  • Exercise 15: Advanced turning
  • Exercise 16: Forced landing without power
  • Exercise 17: Precautionary landing
  • Exercise 18a: Navigation
  • Exercise 18b: Navigation problems at lower levels in reduced visibility
  • Exercise 18c: Radio navigation
  • Exercise 19: Basic instrument flight

I have now logged a little over 4 hours of dual instruction in the Piper Tomahawk. My instructor won't be available next weekend so I booked a slot with one of our club's other FIs. A few more circuits and hopefully my first solo in a motorized airplane!

BTW: This week I received my brand new Flight Outfitters Lift flight bag! So excited when I got in the mail a few days ago, can't wait to take it flying!

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Last update: 31 October 2018

Talk to you next week!


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As a 23-year-old digital entrepreneur, glider pilot and PPL student pilot, Senne is passionate about aviation. He started gliding at age 14 and flew his first solo at 15. Now, he spends his time writing about aviation, creating and designing things, traveling and of course, flying.


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