These are the valuable lessons that are neglected, glossed over, or completely missed during Private Pilot training
If Only My Instructor Had Taught Me That
The Private Pilot Certificate truly is a license to learn. There are so many aspects of flying that it’s impossible to cover them all in primary training. That makes it challenging for newer pilots to expand their comfort zone and break through barriers on their journey to becoming an experienced pilot.
Even seasoned pilots suffer from knowledge gaps that stay with them as their experience grows. This can cause hesitation, frustration, and feeling overwhelmed as they seek out new flying challenges.
This video course covers the things you wish someone had explained completely in the first place … the things that can make the difference between struggling, and flying with confidence … the things that make it easier to fly with modern tools and in complex airspace.
These Missing Lessons offer useful tools and techniques that can help you reach a new level of proficiency.
Briefings, Lessons, and In-Flight Demonstrations
The Missing Lessons videos are presented in a simple, easy to follow format.
Each end-to-end flight begins with a preflight briefing as a teaching opportunity, followed by real-time analysis of each step of the flight as it unfolds—all with live ATC communications. This combination of briefings and flying in the simulator will help you understand the material at a deeper level.
There are also single exercise flights that pick up where traditional training left off. These fill in the gaps between passing the test and applying a skill in the real world.
These missing lessons come from an instructor’s experience and perspective. So even if you’re a CFI there are pro tips and techniques you may never have seen or taught.
If you’re an experienced pilot, the demonstrations may reveal the fix to a problem that has plagued you for years, or offer new techniques to try on your next flight.
If you’re a rusty pilot, this is a great first step toward getting back in the air, and if you’re a student pilot you’ll be light years ahead in learning.
Using GPS, Autopilot and ForeFlight in the Wild
Throughout the course, we’ll demonstrate ways you can use cockpit technology to reduce stress and workload. Taking full advantage of all your cockpit resources at the right time is a fundamental skill for today’s pilot.
GPS: We fly with the Garmin GTN 750 and Garmin GNS 430, but most of these tips and concepts apply to any modern GPS navigator. You’ll learn the best way to set up and utilize these tools in-flight.
Autopilot: Private Pilots often struggle with their autopilot—specifically when to use it and how to use it. We’ll give you strategies for using this valuable tool and demonstrate the techniques in-flight.
ForeFlight: A good flight starts with a good plan. We’ll show you how to maximize the power features in ForeFlight for solid planning, as well as little known tricks to monitor your flight and make informed decisions that can keep you out of trouble.
Meet Your Instructor
CFII, PilotWorkshops Course Designer/Producer
Ryan works on the course development team at PilotWorkshops and is involved in the design and development of our online training programs. He is also an active flight instructor specializing in instrument flight and is a flight simulator expert. He currently instructs out of Wausau, WI and has experience doing remote flight instruction via simulators.
Ryan was the driving force behind the development of several PilotWorkshops online courses, including IFR: The Missing Lessons and Advanced IFR. Ryan is also a contributing expert for PilotWorkshops’ IFR Mastery series and is a regular participant in the Instructor’s Roundtable. He teaches ground schools, runs ATC communications courses for both IFR and VFR pilots, and has developed curriculum for a variety of IFR proficiency programs, and a simulator-centered high school aviation program.
Ryan uses a slick feature in ForeFlight to plan his descent into a non-towered airport that’s directly beneath the Minneapolis Class Bravo. Then in the air, he uses GPS and autopilot to manage a smooth descent while skirting this complex airspace.
Planning: Triumph Over Challenging Airports
Planning for Challenging Airports
Flights to and from airports with non-standard elements put most private pilots out of their comfort zone. These flights require more upfront planning to remove uncertainty, which we’ll show you here.
Obtaining Local Knowledge
Sometimes the best way to learn about a particular airport is to pick up the phone and ask. Here’s who you can call, what you should ask, and the details that will help your planning. This is a horribly underutilized and invaluable pilot resource.
Plum Island (2B2) to Carrabassett (B21) — Flight
Depart from a short, obstructed field with an unusual runway layout to a mountain airport where using a non-standard pattern makes the arrival easier. We put our planning and local knowledge to good use here.
Control: Fly With Precision
Performance — Find the Numbers
Attitude + Power + Configuration = Performance. The best instrument pilots know the importance of these numbers, and how changing one will impact the others. These concepts apply to visual flying as well. They can make VFR pilots smoother and more efficient once mastered.
Landings — Expand Your Crosswind Envelope
It’s no secret that many private pilots are uncomfortable with crosswinds. What seems like an issue with physical coordination comes from an incorrect or incomplete understanding of the concepts. We’ll cover common mistakes and practical fixes in this video.
Emergencies — Go Beyond Best Glide
Engine failure scenarios are a major part of Private Pilot training, however the standard drill leaves out some important items. We’ll clear up any confusion and provide a new perspective on the best way to manage the most common in-flight emergencies.
Prevention — Stall and Spin Survival
There are just too many stall/spin accidents in the General Aviation record. What pilots often misunderstand is where and why they happen in the real world. We’ll discuss the phase of flight where most stall/spin accidents occur and why (it may surprise you).
GPS: Master the Magenta Instead of Following It
Planning that Leverages GPS and Other Tech
Private Pilot fundamentals like manual calculations, nav logs, and dead reckoning are useful skills. However, omitting new technology (GPS, iPad apps, and autopilot) is as bad as using it as a crutch. We show you how to integrate technology without relying on it, both on the ground and in the air.
Washington Island (2P2) to St. Paul (KSGS) — Flight
On this flight, we use a combination of new and old school techniques to minimize the risk associated with an overwater flight. Enroute, we demonstrate GPS tips and tricks you might be missing. On arrival, we use a combination of pilotage, ForeFlight, and GPS descent planning to thread our way beneath a Class B shelf and beside two Towered airports with minimal stress and maximum efficiency.
High-Performance Descent Planning
One of the many things pilots struggle with when transitioning to higher performance airplanes is descent planning. To illustrate this, we make a flight in a Beech Baron and show the keys to getting down smoothly and safely in a high-performance airplane.
Comms: Navigate Airspace & ATC Like a Pro
Crossing Multiple Airspace Types – Briefing
In this section, we’ll make a three leg trip through some of the busiest, most complex airspace in the US. This is a deep dive into techniques and technologies you can use anywhere to research, brief, and fly through busy airspace.
Gillespie (KSEE) to Fullerton (KFUL) — Flight
When you first look at this flight, you might think this airspace is a mess. And you wouldn’t be wrong. We deal with two different Class Bravo areas leaving San Diego, multiple Restricted Areas enroute, descend under a bustling Class C shelf while approaching the LA Basin, and finally cross the Disneyland TFR before arriving at a busy Class D airport directly below the LAX Bravo.
Short, Busy Flights – Briefing
Sometimes short flights can be the toughest, especially in busy airspace. This flight is a short hop through a high traffic area: from Fullerton to John Wayne—only 13 miles away. See how a little extra planning and chart knowledge can help keep task saturation at bay.
Fullerton (KFUL) to Santa Ana (KSNA) — Flight
We use old school techniques and new technology to navigate this highly congested airspace. First, we follow the freeway east after takeoff, then get turned direct after contacting departure. We use a few GPS tricks enroute for situational awareness, and have to manage an ATC frequency that is humming with activity. Finally, we are rewarded with an uneventful arrival to the Class C airport.
Options for Class Bravo Transitions – Briefing
Many pilots avoid flying over, under, through—or even near—Class Bravo airspace. But often the best destinations are near these busy terminal areas. Here, we review the Flyway charts for the Los Angeles area and show you how published transitions can make transiting these areas easier and less stressful.
Santa Ana (KSNA) to Burbank (KBUR) — Flight
This flight is a handful from takeoff until engine shut down. Departing a busy Class C airport, following vectors and then using radials to follow the published transition over LAX, monitoring busy radio frequencies, and finally landing at Burbank. Just another day flying in the LA basin.
Night: Avoid Hazards in the Dark
Route Planning At Night
( 11 min)
Flying at night is statistically more dangerous than daytime flying. But we’ll show you how some additional planning, basic IFR techniques, and modern cockpit technology can help you reduce the risk and enjoy the many rewards night flying has to offer.
Departing & Arriving at Night
At night, hazards and obstructions really come into play during the departure and arrival phases of flight. Because you can’t see them, it becomes important to form a clear mental picture of the lay of the land. We’ll show you how traditional tools and new technology can give you the information you need to avoid these unseen hazards.
Ukiah (KUKI) to Jackson (KJAQ) — Flight
We use an IFR technique on departure to avoid the dark hills, then use GPS and ForeFlight to closely monitor our progress and plan our descent. Because we’re fully prepared, we’re able to manage a few minor distractions and trouble contacting ATC due to radio congestion. Enjoy this beautiful night flight.
Weather: Scud Run with Smarts
Managing Marginal Weather
Scud running and VFR into IMC are leading causes of fatal accidents in General Aviation. However, you don’t want to cancel every trip that might have a weather issue. This video will help you better understand what kind of weather is manageable, and give you the tools to stay safe.
Centralia (KCLS) to Darrington (1S2) – Briefing
This 100 nm flight features interesting airspace, terrain, and weather that is forecast to be marginal VFR. We use a variety of techniques to plan a route that avoids weather and provides outs, if needed, along the way.
Centralia (KCLS) to Darrington (1S2) — Flight
On this trip, the weather deteriorated more than was forecast, requiring a new plan. We had set key decision points into our route which made it easy to land short of our intended destination, then finish the last leg later in the day when things improved.
Surviving VFR into IMC
The goal, of course, is to avoid inadvertent IMC encounters, but Private Pilots should develop solid instrument skills so that if it happens, it doesn’t end in disaster. Here we review the simple techniques you can use to get out of IMC safely.
Secrets of the Effortless Instrument Scan
An instrument scan can be a lifesaving skill for even VFR pilots. A solid instrument scan is more science than art. It’s using specific instruments and relationships to reveal specific information. The details are slightly different for traditional gauges or a glass panel, so we cover both.
Travel: Master Long-Range VFR
Finding a Random Trip
Training almost never includes the truly long trips: over 500 nm across multiple weather systems and terrain. Yet these are exactly the kind of trips that make a pilot’s license so worthwhile. We use an online tool to generate a random trip that we will plan and fly in the sim.
Planning Several Days in Advance
When planning a long flight, it’s best to get a jump on it well in advance. We start by looking at fuel requirements, possible legs, and fuel stops. Then analyze terrain and airspace along the route and adjust as needed. Finally, we research the airports we’ll be using and build our expected flight plan in ForeFlight.
Analyzing Weather Three Days Out
A few days out, it’s time to start monitoring the weather forecast along the route and make any changes to our plan. We’ll look at Windy.com, a new long-range planning tool, as well as other more traditional online weather tools to get a complete and accurate picture of what we can expect.
Yuma (KNYL) to Arcata (KACV) – Briefing
The morning of our flight, we make a final check of the ceilings, visibility, and winds aloft along our route. The last leg might be in jeopardy due to lower weather, but things are forecast to improve later in the day so we’ll launch and monitor things enroute. Even so, we’ll have a solid Plan B just in case.
Yuma (KNYL) to Arcata (KACV) – Leg 1
After departure, we adjust our altitude to take advantage of favorable winds aloft and end up with a higher tailwind than expected. Because we’re ahead of schedule, we use technology airborne to evaluate moving our planned fuel stop to a point further along our route. With this change, we might be able to make the flight in two legs rather than three.
Yuma (KNYL) to Arcata (KACV) – Leg 2
By seizing the tailwinds and extending our first leg, we now have only 306 nm or 2:51 flying time remaining. This should allow us to reach our destination non-stop with plenty of fuel reserves. However, the weather does not cooperate, forcing us to change our plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I access the Private Pilot Missing Lessons videos?
A. If you have an internet connection, you can watch the videos online without downloading them. However, you can also move the video files from the optional USB drive (using your computer) to your iPad which will allow you to watch the videos without an internet connection. We provide step-by-step directions for moving these files to your iPad.
Q: Will my online access ever expire?
A: No. Once you register your login credentials, they will never expire. You will always have access to the program.
Q: Can I download the video files onto my iPad?
A: If you have an internet connection, you can watch the videos online without downloading them. However, you can also move the video files from the optional USB drive to your iPad (using your computer and iTunes) which will allow you to watch the videos without an internet connection. We provide step-by-step directions for moving these files to your iPad.
Q. Can I access the videos from more than one computer or device?
A. Yes – with your login info, you can access the site from any device as often as you want for personal use.
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Private Pilot: The Missing Lessons
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