View Full Version : Typical PPL student mistakes.

23rd Mar 2009, 21:39
Standards 10 details the requirement to be able to identify typical student mistakes. (I paraphrase!)

What are your experiences of 'typical' and 'frequent' student mistakes?

23rd Mar 2009, 23:05
In no particular order
-mixture to ICO instead of carb heat
-park brake on final, instead of flaps
-rolling wings level in the stall, before getting out of the stall
-not closing throttle completly when trying to land, then trying to pitch down to try get aircraft down before running out of runway

They keep finding new ways to challenge us instructors, just make sure you are one step ahead of them and you will be fine

24th Mar 2009, 03:56
Pretty sure that what they're likely asking for is not just the mistakes mentioned above, but what the FAA (or whatever your aviation authority is) calls "common errors." If you get the FAA Flying Handbook (available on their website for free in PDF format) most of the maneuvers and such have them listed!


24th Mar 2009, 08:50
I have another to add to the list. Retracting flaps (PA28) instead of applying full power at 100ft agl during a go-around!! Lets just say that i needed a new pair of pants after that one!!! Oh one more. Getting low on the app then pitching the nose up without applying any power. All good fun:bored:.


24th Mar 2009, 08:51
Descending at idle power. Level off without adjusting power.
(The student will do it again but eventually it sinks in)

Climbing, level off by adjusting power first instead of going APT.

Forget use of carb heat with low power. At this stage it's best to fail their engine on them as it seems to bring the point across rapidly.

Recovering from a stall by going POWER then nose forward.


Big Pistons Forever
24th Mar 2009, 12:07
The kinds of mistakes will vary depending on what part of their training they are at.

Pre Solo

- failure to maintain the correct attitude for the phase of flight
- forgetting to trim or trimming too much/not enough
- not keeping the circuit square
- pumping the elevator in the flare
- looking straight over the nose in the flare

After Solo

-over priming hot engines
-poor airmanship on the ground (not on taxiway centreline, controls not positioned for wind, especially when turning, not watching where prop blast is going
- concentrating on the wrong thing (like immediately answering a radio call when they should be concentrating on flying the aircraft)
- rote patter on the checks without actually performing the action
-not monitoring the engine instruments in flight (a personnal pet peeve)
-rushing through manoevers without letting the airplane settle down first ( example: unstable entry to a steep turn = poorly done manoever)

24th Mar 2009, 12:11
Most Frequently seen on PPL's when doing their BFR

* No rudder used when power applied in the climb
* No rudder used in the turn
* ailerons used in stall recovery
* incorrect recovery from a wing drop
* doesn't keep the runway in the middle on approach
* does not kick off drift on touchdown in xwinds
* does not fly visual 'attitudes ' so cannot hold height properly
* cannot hold heading by referencing on a landmark
* does not know how to recover track when offtrack

PPL's are the most unknown factor when flying as an instructor. At least with your own students you know their habits and faults and can correct them.:ok:

24th Mar 2009, 12:40
PPL's almost never land on the centerline and almost always try to feed you b*llocks about why they didn't do so and so.

Gets tiring!


Shiver me timbers!
25th Mar 2009, 10:52
Great topic.

I'm certainly guilty of a few of these mistakes and think it will help us students to be more aware going forward.

Hopefully there will be more input to come... :ok:

25th Mar 2009, 10:58
PPL's almost never land on the centerline and almost always try to feed you b*llocks about why they didn't do so and so.

Had one student who couldn't get this....suspected he was fond of the odd bit of white substance after hours so I advised him to 'Run his nose up the white line'. Sorted!

25th Mar 2009, 14:00
Writing as a student here, there was one time we'd been doing some stall recovery exercises, we moved on to spiral dive recovery.. So my instructor put us in a steep turn turning to a spiral dive, and handed over control.
I reached for the throttle, and instead of pulling it back as I should have, I pushed it forward because that's what I'd done in all the previous exercises.


25th Mar 2009, 15:57
PPL's almost never land on the centerline and almost always try to feed you b*llocks about why they didn't do so and so.What a patronising yoof, bet he is still on his first logbook!

25th Mar 2009, 16:10
you can't land it on the centerline.

25th Mar 2009, 16:42
Instructional Techniques for the Flight Instructor by On-Track has a section at the back with common student faults listed for each exercise.

ONTRACK AVIATION LIMITED (http://www.ontrackaviation.com/book.htm)

If you want a freebie, try the Australian Flight Instructor Manual, which contains a list of common faults for each exercise. The syllabus is based around the old RAF syllabus.




Level 400
25th Mar 2009, 22:36
One of the most common, on the Nav part of the Skill Test, is for a candidate to spend appreciable time calculating a true track, adding the effect of wind after herculean efforts with the whizz wheel and then applying both variation and deviation, arriving at a Compass Heading of something like 147.69 degrees, then getting airborne and steering anything around 30 degrees either side of it without bothering to regularly reset the DI with the compass.

Predictably, disorientation and getting lost inevitably follow. :rolleyes:

Most light aircraft DIs are accurate to about plus or minus 5 degrees and if the heading is steered even accurately to plus or minus 10 degrees the waypoint will usually turn up on one or other side of the nose after the appropriate time has elapsed.

When you've worked it out as accurately as possible, steer it as accurately as possible!! Works every time! :ok:

Level 400

26th Mar 2009, 13:09
That with 3000+ hours over last umpteen years, virtually all of it as seat/stick interface, (unlike most instructors of my aquaint) I can land anywhere you like, not just on centre lines - Try not to judge people by your own standards.

Pull what
4th Apr 2009, 17:33
The most common student fault that ends in damage to the aircraft is the failure to execute an early go around from a balloon, bad bounce or missed landing.

The most common instructor fault that ends in damage to the aircraft is the failure to instruct the student properly in the go around procedure after a balloon, bad bounce or missed landing. Instruction of course should include demonstation and practice

Pull what
4th Apr 2009, 17:37
PPL's almost never land on the centerline and almost always try to feed you b*llocks about why they didn't do so and so.What a patronising yoof, bet he is still on his first logbook!The aim is to land the aircraft safely on the landing area, the centreline is a guide not a target.

I can land anywhere you like, not just on centre lines

This sort of attitude is the number one pilot mistake.

4th Apr 2009, 19:19
What on earth are you talking about??

The ability to land a flying machine, wherever it is needed to be landed whenever it is needed to be landed is not any sort of a problem, it is a fundamental part of being an aviator, it is after all the only part of flying that is not optional, which any sort of an aviator would know.

Wannabe's being patronising on a forum is a fundamental mistake of aviators, especially with no sensible justification or explanation for comments!

Pull what
4th Apr 2009, 19:59
Wannabe's being patronising on a forum is a fundamental mistake of aviators, especially with no sensible justification or explanation for comments!

Don't worry about it, your anonymous on here

5th Apr 2009, 00:05
Not keeping enough back-pressure on during landing, and/or letting the nose drop after touching down.

5th Apr 2009, 00:54
Not stopping on the runway until advised to roll again, after an aircraft with heavy wake has just departed the runway.
Student usually takes-off straight away without turning a blind eye to the fact that the controller told them to land & stop for the aircrafts wake turbulence.

I am speaking from experience lool, happened to me in my second solo circuit sortie.
Controller had to call my callsign twice before i answered back with an apology...with my tail between my legs.

5th Apr 2009, 04:32
But no one has mentioned about differential braking. what to do to avoid differential braking?

5th Apr 2009, 08:24
Ah yes, the brakes. Students find it hard to brake in a straight line on the brake test - its one of the things I do on a long taxy back to parking, practice even braking.

Ex Oggie
8th Apr 2009, 19:41
Not listening at the pre & post flight brief. :ugh:

Going down the pub instead of doing the homework you set them. :eek:


8th Apr 2009, 21:13
Landing at the very beginning of the runway, allowing no slack for sink, windshear, etc.

Landing off the centreline with no effort made for correction to drift.

Unable to absorb, comprehend and act on ATC instructions which are not common. i.e. "expedite runway clearance due to heavy traffic at 4 miles". (Too maxed out weaving their way down final approach too actually think)

Before anyone gets too defensive about PPL's, which is who I am referring to, I was probably guilty of all the above faults in my early days. Experience and learning count for a great deal in aviation. The odd PPL stops learning when the licence is acquired. Not good.

10th Apr 2009, 17:40
Explain, please.
Why is it an error to land at the very beginning of the runway ?
That's what we teach our students here - otherwise they are likely to roll off the end into the bushes.

11th Apr 2009, 15:00
1. They keep forgetting to determine abort point/go-around point for take-off/landing. Buggers me a lot.
2. Taxying with 1500 rpm and brakes slightly applied.

11th Apr 2009, 15:45
H'mm don't know how these two will come across.

One fault I have always found is the inability to laugh at themselves.

They get way to stressed and instead of learning fight their way through a lesson, then are surprised when they don't improve.

And the biggest mistake in my opinion which I used to swear/take the piss out off/moan/nag you name it. (Still do it with FO's as well if I catch them).

And it all comes from how the early lessons were taught.

TRIMMING and Attitude flying.

If you can get the foundations of flying battered into them from a very early stage the rest is easy.

With some all I had to do was stop looking out the side window and I would hear "yes yes I know I am a :mad: I think its trimmed now" and when I looked at the student they had a big grin on their faces which only got bigger when I pull the throttle on them for a PFL which had been my intention in the first place.

11th Apr 2009, 17:52
Thinking it more important to announce a go-around on the RT before actually initiating it - gets my blood up every time.

Mad_Jock makes a very good comment regarding attitude flying. The earliest lessons are the most important yet time and time again I witness even the most experienced instructors glossing over them.


11th Apr 2009, 18:30
Explain, please.
Why is it an error to land at the very beginning of the runway ?

In my PPL days I noticed that the "aiming point" varies with instructors.

I used to be a flight simulator buff before starting out flying myself, so I figured the touchdown zone markers are there to mark the area for landing.

Two instructors told me to not bother with these as they are (quote) for the jet aircraft only(/quote). I was told that I (quote again)want to hit the runway numbers every time(/quote). :ooh:

Doing that usually has one coming in lower / slower above any obstacles that may be in front of the runway, and I noticed that rather soon and went back to landing on the 1000 foot marker, despite of what my instructors said.

Never was told once since the PPL days to hit the numbers :E

13th Apr 2009, 13:06
As a current student. The carb heat was a common mistake. Am yet to really master the rudder too.

13th Apr 2009, 15:13
INNflight, is it reasonable to assume that youve never operated from grass. ;)

Cows getting bigger
13th Apr 2009, 19:08
Using trim to adjust attitude.
Staring at the G1000 PFD rather than looking out of the window.
Not waiting for the aircraft to stabilise after changing something.
Trimming (or at least trying to) in the turn.
Waiting to say "downwind" on the radio when BUMPFCHH (or whatever version you use) is far more appropriate.
Shoving the nose down when high on the approach.
Windsock - what windsock?

PS. I suspect I was guilty of all of the above and more when I was learning.
PPS. Landing on the 1000ft marker? That would be beyond the far end of some of the runways I use.;)