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Aspiring commercial pilot practicing chair flying techniques.

A Guide to Chair Flying Techniques for Intending Commercial Pilots

Get your commercial pilot training from the premier flight school in Scottsdale or Mesa, AZ. Call (480) 372-9815 to book a consultation.

“Practice makes perfect” is an old saying that rings true to date for anyone learning a new skill. However, practice isn’t always easy if you’re learning how to become a commercial pilot in Arizona without access to an actual airplane or a flight simulator. That’s where chair flying comes in.

It bridges the gap between training sessions by giving you an airplane cockpit (or something close to it) on the ground. Thus, you can practice and learn concepts while sitting in the comfort of your home or office. Having said that, you have to ensure you do it the right way.

The Importance of Combining Chair Flying with Flight Training

Chair flying involves taking time out to go over flight routines or aircraft procedures while on the ground. It looks like an unconventional method of learning how to fly an airplane, but it works. Every instructor will recommend this task because it allows you to go through the motions about everything, starting from your arrival at the airport to landing your aircraft. Here are some of the key benefits:

Quality Mental Training

Flying a commercial plane is more than just physical dexterity. You need to have the mental acuity to make decisions within a small window while thousands of feet up in the air. Chair flying helps aspiring commercial pilots practice flying and mentally prepare for flight scenarios in a simulated environment.

As you chair fly, you can run through checklists, practice emergency procedures, practice any maneuver, and more. All of these will prepare you better for actual flying and help you progress through different stages of the flight training process faster.

Affordable Aircraft Training

Logging a single flight hour in an aircraft is costly. Chair flying allows prospective commercial pilots to save money while learning and practicing aviation concepts. It can keep your flight training costs down. 

Faster Muscle Memory Development

The bulk of everything you’ll do as a commercial pilot will come from memory. If you chair fly regularly, you can practice cockpit operations and other procedures until they become ingrained in you. The muscle memory you develop as a student will come in handy in multiple real-world situations.

More Confidence

Chair flying can make you a more confident pilot. Getting familiar with an aircraft’s controls can help reduce anxiety and stress during actual flights in the weeks ahead.

How to Chair Fly a Plane the Right Way for Student Pilots

Here’s a quick guide to ensure you chair fly the right way:

Make Your Environment Realistic

Effective chair flying hinges heavily on creating a realistic environment. While sitting on your couch might look appealing, it’s best to sit in a chair that allows you to mimic the cockpit layout as you learn a lesson. 

Talk Yourself Through Decisions 

Always narrate your actions like you would in an aircraft cockpit or during flight training. When you talk out loud, you’ll understand concepts and lessons better. Also, voicing out a checklist can help you avoid oversights.

Use a Replica of the Cockpit

Although there are various ways to visualize the cockpit, nothing beats having a life-size cockpit poster. It’s easier to build muscle memory this way. Print out a copy of the cockpit you use during your flight training, and it will be easier to practice your flight lessons.

Practice as Many Scenarios as Possible

Chair flying allows you to practice all kinds of flight procedures, including flight safety and emergencies. Simulating as many in-flight scenarios as possible makes them easier to face in real-life situations.

What will you do during pre-flight or taxi checks before takeoff? How will you manage a slow flight or maneuver a specific traffic pattern? When is the right time to use full power while flying a plane? What is the checklist for an engine fire? Working on these scenarios while practicing is a sure way to master skills and add to your flying experience.

Incorporate Technology

If your budget allows it, embrace flight simulation apps and software. The best ones are highly valuable as they provide students with realistic cockpit layouts. Depending on the simulator, you can change controls to mimic different airplanes.

Review Flight Training Regularly

Use your chair flying sessions to review flight training and identify areas you need to improve before the next lesson.

It’s also important that you talk to your instructor regularly about your practice. This way, you can ensure you’re following the right procedure every time you sit down to use your flight simulator or train with the cockpit poster. An experienced flight instructor may frown at what you consider the right way as a new pilot.

Leopard Aviation: The Arizona Flight School You Can Depend On

At Leopard Aviation, we know that chair flying is valuable for any aspiring commercial pilot. Our team of certified trainers can provide you with all the guidance you need to make your chair flying sessions productive.

Join other students on their journey to successful commercial pilot careers. Call Leopard Aviation in Scottsdale or Mesa, AZ, today at (480) 372-9815 to get started.

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