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What to do when waiting for PPL?

I’m waiting for the CAA to send me my PPL which could be anything from 3 days to about 3 months from now.

In the meantime, I’m limited to renting a flying school aircraft whilst I look for a syndicate to join. I can’t really go anywhere as I’m limited to slot times, and can’t take passengers. It seems quite a few people don’t bother to fly at all during this period, but I’m doing as much as I can. Question is, what exercises can I do on a 1-2hr local flight (from Shoreham EGKA) that will enable some constructive learning?

So far, I’ve done a trip around Isle of Wight, and today I did a zone transit overhead Gatwick for RT practice. I’ve flown all over Kent area on my solo flights, and I’ve already drawn anatomical objects on the GPS track, so does anyone have suggestions for new things to try?

United Kingdom

First of all, congratulations! Second, any flying you do is beneficial for at least two reasons: gaining experience, pure joy.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

IO390 wrote:

Question is, what exercises can I do on a 1-2hr local flight (from Shoreham EGKA) that will enable some constructive learning?

Wobbly prop/gear? I mean retractable gear and/or variable pitch prop. Diesel/SLPC on DA40?
I think any training like that can be done at any time.


@IO390 Congratulations on your achievement.
Any time spent in the air is gain on the experience of multitasking and being ahead of the aircraft.
You build confidence.
As long as you can pay for the flying set as your mission to land at the airfields which are around London TMA.
One at a time.
You have quite some choices.

LGMG Megara, Greece

Go on a military style sortie – bombing run or recce if you prefer less war like. Fly out at medium level on a navigation route and then drop to low (lower than normal, not hooligans stuff) level for a short Initial Point to target run (use an OS scale map to find some fun features clear of obstacles, terrain, airspace etc) then back up to medium level to route back.

Congratulations on the pass well done!

Posts are personal views only.
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Congrats !

I gather that’s a PA28? here are few tasks to stay busy & sharp: fly it to edge of it’s enveloppe, check most POH numbers, lean how to lean, practice performance takeoffs & landings, visit grass strips, make quick climbs to FL120 (away from LTMA, maybe west of Bournemouth?), stall it in climbs & turns, do lot of slow flying on it, fly it with rudder & trim, nail random ASI & VSI values on climbs, descents, turns looking at nose of aircraft only, fly it in tights turns power ON/OFF with eyes completely outside, with eyes fixed on one ground feature or looking away from ASI while pulling on stick to slow, fly single heading on it for 50nm using ground features, using aircraft GPS & DG, using SyDemon HSI

Polish your approach & landing: find an empty very long runway, start with a funky VFR approach high, fast, low, slow and sort it by 300ft, fly tighter circuits, do practice forced landings, do few go-arounds, do low pass, practice crosswinds, do rejected takeoff before rotation, just after rotation on safe height & speed, do 360 power off from +1500ft agl, land it with flaps & without, takeoff it with flaps & without, “rotate it” very early, takeoff with less than full power…

Lot to do but in other words, get to know your aircraft

Last Edited by Ibra at 22 Jul 20:30
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

Congratulations, and welcome to the club!
A great achievement especially given the restrictions you have had to endure these past 16 months+
I truly believe flying is one of the few remaining human achievements left where we are pretty much in control of our fate and allowed to exercise that responsibility.

In terms of what you should do whilst waiting and beyond… remember you have been granted a license to learn and I would strongly advocate you arrange some basic instrument training, 5 hours or so of getting used to trusting and flying by the basic instruments, head in the cockpit/ under the hood. Not for any rating per say at this stage, but just as a practical addition to your existing toolkit. In reality you will be facing marginal VFR more than you think, marine haze springs to mind, and it would be very useful for you to be prepared to deal with it.

Later on you can use that knowledge towards a full IR which is going to be a necessary rating for any serious cross country travel.

In addition, go out flying to as many different style of runways as you can to practice the sight picture of varying runway lengths, widths and slopes. That will stand you in very good stead when traveling to unfamiliar airports/airfields with no approach lights or nav aids.

Above all appreciate and celebrate what you have just achieved. :-)

Chokdee! – Good luck.

Cheers – E

Last Edited by eal at 23 Jul 00:24
Lovin' it

Practice simulated engine loss landings.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Firstly, congratulations! I hope you really get to enjoy your new privlidiges.

Secondly if your first solo was less than a year ago, and you’ve not already done so, then you should apply for your free 1 year copy of EasyVFR4.
First Solo – Free 1 Year Subscription EasyVFR4

In terms of what to do while waiting on your licence, I was going to suggest you do a trip to France with your instructor. This would probably clear the path for you to bring the aircraft abroad in the future without further formality with your school/club. But I think there are restrictions for UK citizens returning home so this probably isn’t a runner at present.

So instead I’ve two suggestions for you.

The first one is to take a look at what Capitaine did here.
A tour of the white horses and chalk figures could make some lovely photos. It also means that having your instructor onboard isn’t necessarily a drag! They now becomes a useful tool to you! They can help find the figures (which will no doubt be tricky to find even with gps) and also help fly the aircraft around the figure while you try to get the perfect photo (take plenty of photos…the perfect one never comes out perfect, so get plenty!). Getting good photos, while low level, and still flying the aircraft is tricky even for an experienced pilot, so having the instructor along to fly while orbitting the figure is actually useful!

If your instructor has to be onboard, then you might as well use them. So my second suggestion is seek out the strongest cross winds that you can find. Many newly qualified pilots quickly learn to fear cross winds. Their instructors limit them to mild cross winds, and then the pilot restricts themselves further, until eventually they aren’t happy landing in any crosswind that requires using crosswind technique. So instead, I suggest that you go out and find the worst cross winds that you can find, and practice them until you really aren’t bothered by them anymore. This will do you a world of good for later flying. It will mean that the aircraft will be available on days when others are afraid to fly, and you’ll cancel far fewer flights. Seek out 20-25kt full crosswinds (initially with your instructor) and master them. It will transform the utility of your flying.

EIKH Kilrush

Congrats !
What are your goals after you join a syndicate ?

I would say :
- land at the most airfields possible
- try shorter/narrower/slope/grass runways
- try a long climb (like to FL105 or higher if possible)
- try night/twilight flying if possible
- try to cross a border, or flying overwater (like the channel Islands).
- train simulated IMC. Ask your instructor/buddy to “vector” you to a final somewhere. Learn to fly numbers accurately.

Enjoy !
Of course, when you won’t have time anymore, you will get plenty of ideas of what you should have done

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