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First Flight as a Trainee Pilot – Air Experience

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

First Flight as Cadet Pilot - A Unique Feeling

At the time of joining a flight school, most students are not aware how the training initiates. Post admission formalities, the next steps are- Oral examination for Student Pilot License and Issuance of Airport entry pass. If you have cleared all papers and then joined the school, they may not put you on ground classes. However, briefing of below topics will be given:

· Standard Operating Procedures

· Checklists

· Pre-flight and Post flight documentation

· Radio Telephony procedures

· Aircraft familiarization.

Oral examination for Student Pilot License is usually carried by a panel that includes Chief Flight Instructor. The oral examination is primarily centric on basics of aviation subjects. On passing the oral examination, Student Pilot License is issued by the flight school. In India, a Student Pilot License holder wears single bar on Pilot Epaulettes. As soon as Airport entry pass is issued, you are in Q for taking your first flight as a trainee Pilot or cadet Pilot. Sometimes, based on school standard procedures, they might put you on simulator for cockpit familiarization and a demo flight on simulator.

The first flight as a trainee Pilot is known as Air Experience. You are not supposed to do anything. Just sit back and see the procedures. Follow the instructor for demonstration of necessary pre-flight documentation and pre-flight checks. Radio telephony is also handled by instructor. On controlled Airfield if local procedures mandate then your instructor will pass on your name to Air traffic Controller. This will be possibly first time, your name will be mentioned on radio telephony. As the engine starts and aircraft is taxing towards runway and line up for departure, you will realize how the aerodrome looks from the cockpit. Upon receiving take off clearance, your instructor will do- Before take-off checks and smoothly advance power and the aircraft starts rolling over the runway maintaining center line. You can feel the transition of aircraft from a ground vehicle to air vehicle as speed gains. There is a change in vibration of aircraft as the wheels lift off. Perspective of the runway changes as the aircraft climbs.

Usually for Air Experience, instructor will fly into a sector. Sector is usually a defined zone in which aircraft can be flown. Upon reaching on cruising altitude and in the sector, Instructor may ask you to relax and don’t touch the controls. Now, instructor may make aircraft do some maneuvers and you will experience some positive and negative g-forces. In simple terms, you may feel like a roller coaster ride. This is usually done to check if you are suffering from air sickness or get disoriented with such forces. This check is a very essential for a being a Pilot.

After few minutes of flying, instructor will re-join for landing. If you are sitting in cockpit for first time, making an approach and landing will be a beautiful experience for you. After landing, you'll be taxied to designated stand and witness engine shut down procedure. Post flight documentation is also something that you will possibly see for the first time.

Air experience flight is usually a 30-45 minutes flight. From next sortie after Air experience, flight training commences as per procedure.

OFLY objective is to disseminate fair and genuine information regarding Aviation. We do not represent any specific flight school. Author of this blog is an Indian Private Pilot and keen observer of Indian aviation market. He flies with multiple flying training schools of India. For consultation on Learn to Fly as hobby or profession. Book your appointment here or write to us


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