My name is Joe Lombardi, former Line Check Instructor at L3Harris Flight Academy in Sanford, Florida. I began training at the Academy in February 2017. Some of you may be lost and in need of some advice about how to get through flight training, which is not the easiest process to navigate. So here are my top 5 tips:
1. Choose the right environment
There are various routes for flight training at different types of flight schools. For example, in the USA, flight schools are broken down into two categories, Part 61 and Part 141. I did my Private Pilot Certificate at a Part 61 school in New York and had a good experience.
I then chose to go to L3Harris Flight Academy for a few reasons. The main one being, it was way more structured than my Part 61 school. L3Harris also has more fast paced progression. This is good if you’re trying to get to the right-hand seat of a regional airliner fast.
Elsewhere in the world, there are differences between integrated programs and modular routes of training, so it is important to find the right route for yourself. My instructor at my school in New York recommended I go to L3Harris Flight Academy because he believed I was able to handle the pace.
2. Get good at studying
Unfortunately for me, when I came to the Academy, studying was not a strong point of mine, and my learning curve was exponential. You really have to create good study habits if you want to succeed in any level of flight training. And trust me, there is a lot to study. From airspace and weather, to regulations, performance and aerodynamics; the list goes on. For me, creating notecards was the way to go. Re-writing information and reading it again and again also really helped my knowledge. It’s such a satisfying feeling when you do well in your oral exams, because you know the material! That makes all of the studying worth it.
3. Enjoy failure
This may sound strange, but there is no better way to learn than failing. And there is no perfect pilot on this planet. You have to enjoy being broken down and built back up. Some of my most important lessons have been learned by making mistakes. When I was training for my Multi Engine Instructor Rating I had 1,000 hours of flying. Did I make mistakes? Oh yeah. But when you come back and succeed there is an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction. So, learn to enjoy the failure because it can be used to your advantage.
4. Have passion
Time, energy and money goes towards flight training, so make sure this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. Even on long days at work of four or five flights, I will always catch myself saying, “I can’t believe this is my job.”
For most of us, it goes back to when we were young children when someone took us to an airshow or the airport, and we knew that this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. When you are at a challenging moment of training, you have to bring yourself back to what brought you to this point - your passion for aviation!
Whether you’re a student pilot or a Flight Instructor, not many people get to do what you do. Life is a journey, not a destination, enjoy it!
5. Enjoy the journey
Live in the moment. We are sometimes so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are. You can find yourself grinding away trying to get to the right seat of a wide body jet. So much so that when you get there you’ll realize you didn’t enjoy the time spent leading up to it.
Just take the time to appreciate that what you’re doing, whether you’re a student pilot or a Flight Instructor, not many people get to do what you do. Life is a journey, not a destination, enjoy it!