Ground School – Week 1
March 5, 2023

Ground School – Week 1

Ok, so week 1 was … A LOT. I would say the biggest challenge I experienced was trying to find the line between “Learning what I need to pass the written” and “Learning to fly the plane” (which I’m currently┬ánot doing yet due to my flying club’s maximum membership).

I didn’t do a really good job in Ground School – Week 0, so I’ll correct that now ­čśÄ

Here’s the more detailed plan:

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:30am – 8:30am, watch the Sport’s Learn to Fly Course. When I do this, I’m taking notes by hand into a dedicated notebook I use for this learning. When I’m doing this, I’m constantly pausing the video to note items which don’t seem 100% intuitive to me. When I’m done with each video, I read through the PDF that Sporty’s provides for the notes on each video to make sure there wasn’t something noteworthy that I forget to write down.

So why do I write it by hand when the notes are already provided in a PDF from Sporty’s? Well, that’s because I know myself and how I learn. I took most of my Bachelor’s degree and all of my Master’s degree online. I have a lot of experience with self-paced learning. I’ve learned that in order for me to commit something to memory, I need to hear, write it, and see it, usually in that order.

When I’m lounging throughout the house, I have a few reading materials available to me:

  • FAA’s Airman Certification Standard (ACS) for Private Pilot (Printed version)
  • FAA’s Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (Printed version)
  • FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook (Printed version)
  • 2023 FAR / AIM (Printed version)
  • 1975 Cessna 175 POH (This is our club’s plane that I plane to use for my learning at Clearview Flying Club)
    • I printed this on 8.5″x11″, cut it down to 8.5″x5.5″, hole punched it, bound it in a hard-shell 3-ring binder, then tabbed it out for each chapter.
  • Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche (audiobook)

So how is the first week going?

After the countless hours I’ve spent listening to Bobby Doss and Wally Mulhearn in their podcast Behind The Prop, I understand the importance of knowing exactly what’s expected of me during the checkride. It’s for that reason that I made a point to read through the entire ACS in this first week. Since I’m primarily focused on taking the written exam first, I made sure that I read every word in the Appendices very carefully about the written test. So, here’s a table of what’s included in the written test from the ACS appendix 1:

  • Regulations
  • Accident Reporting
  • Performance Charts
  • Radio Communications
  • Weather
  • Safe┬á and Efficient Operations
  • Density Altitude Performance
  • Weight and Balance
  • Aerodynamics, Powerplants, and Aircraft Systems
  • Stalls and Spins
  • Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)
  • Preflight Actions

Another learning point that stuck with me from Behind The Prop podcast was to be very familiar with all the chapters in the POH. Knowing every detail for memory recall isn’t as important as knowing what content is contained within the POH. That’s why I tabbed out my POH for each chapter, so I can quickly open it up, find my chapter of interest, and get the necessary information.

As for Sporty’s, here are the topics I covered this week:

  • Your First Few Hours
    • Getting Started with Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course
    • When Should You Fly?
    • Air Facts: Weather Geeks
    • Introduction to the Airplane
    • Closer Look: Training Airplanes
    • Introduction to the Flight Deck
    • Closer Look: Cockpit Variations
    • Introduction to Airplane Engines
    • Air Facts: Engine TLC
    • Propeller, Fuel, and Electrical System
    • Closer Look: Carbureted Engines
    • Preflight
    • Air Facts: Purposeful Preflight
    • Engine Start
    • Aviation Communications
    • Air Facts: Getting the Message
    • Taxi, Run-up, Traffic Pattern
    • Closer Look: Wind Direction Indicators
    • Takeoff
    • Closer Look: Tower Controlled Field
    • Air Facts: Takeoff Tips
    • Four Fundamentals
    • Air Facts: Pitching and Turning
    • Four Fundamentals (part 2)
    • Air Facts: The Proper Attitude
    • Conclusion
  • Practice Landings
    • Ground Reference Maneuvers
    • Closer Look: Taxi Tips
    • Engines
    • Air Facts: Engine Suspicion
    • Aerodynamics
    • Closer Look: Angle of Attack
    • Slow Flight
    • Closer Look: Change of Scenery
    • Stalls

Whew, that’s A LOT! The hardest part about this week was trying to understand aerodynamics and stalls without actually being in an airplane. Even listening to the first chapter in Stick and Rudder was so helpful to understanding flight and angle of attack.

So that’s enough about week 1. I’m looking forward to spending more early mornings with my new friend Rob Reider, who’s leading the Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course