I believe you have decided to get your private pilot license and want a heads up on the contents of the private pilot ground school syllabus.
Either you want to know which subjects will be taught to you in the private pilot ground training or simply to prepare by yourself, this article will help you stay ahead of your private pilot training batch mates.
Similarly from here, you can evaluate whether you are good enough to start your private pilot training or not.
I have designed this private pilot ground school syllabus as a resource for anyone to guide themselves for private pilot training.
All the subjects mentioned here will be taught in flight schools before you go for your first flight.
I suggest using this syllabus as a guideline for studying in advance and prepare before even you enroll in a flight training institute.
A step by step guide includes the chapters of the Jeppesen Private Pilot textbook and the topics in those particular chapters most important for your private pilot training course.
To become a good pilot you must always keep learning.
The sooner you understand the basics the easier it will be for you during the real-world flight training.
Private pilot ground school syllabus.
Introduction to aviation is crucial. Flying an airplane comes with a lot of responsibility.
Because a small mistake in flight can be fatal.
Therefore all the student pilots are taught basics from several subjects to build themselves as incompetent pilots.
The number of subjects to become a private pilot is the same as for becoming a commercial pilot.
The only difference is that during private pilot ground training students are taught the basics.
On the other hand, the subjects for a commercial pilot license are more detailed and in-depth.
Why is that?
As a commercial pilot, you will have the responsibility of passengers aboard.
And as a private pilot, it is highly likely that you will fly by yourself during weekends.
Therefore more responsibility as a commercial pilot requires you to have more knowledge.
However, let’s not talk much about the commercial pilot ground training subjects.
We here to discuss the private pilot ground school syllabus and let’s begin that.
To ease your trouble I have structured the subjects according to the Jeppesen private pilot book chapters.
I am doing so because the Jeppesen textbook is the most common book used for private pilot training in the ground.
This book is used in flight schools around the world.
I am expecting you already have Jeppesen private pilot book.
If you do not have one order one from Amazon now.
Subjects for private pilot ground training:
There are commonly 9 subjects taught during ground training.
Aircraft General Knowledge.
The second chapter of the Jeppesen private pilot book contains all the basic knowledge required for private pilots to know.
This chapter explains the parts of an airplane.
You can learn about:
- Fuselage Construction;
- Wing construction;
- Construction materials;
- Airplane Powerplant:
- Types of powerplants;
- Classification of piston engines;
- Basic engine components and operation;
- The sequence of engine strokes;
- Flight Instruments:
- Pitot static instruments;
- Gyroscopic instruments;
- Magnetic compass
- Fuel systems:
- Carburetor construction and operation;
- Leaning mixture at cruise;
- Carburetor ice;
- Carburetor heat;
- Fuel injection;
- Hydraulic system;
- Heat & vent system; etc.
- Lubrication systems;
- Ignition systems;
- Electrical systems;
- Vacuum systems
Principles of Flight.
This is the third chapter of the Jeppesen book. The name of the chapter in the book is Aerodynamic principles.
This chapter consists of:
- Four forces of flight;
- Theory of lift;
- Theory of drag;
- Thrust generation;
- Weight of the aircraft;
- Stability of the airplane;
- Design of the wing;
- 3 axes of the aircraft;
- Stability of the aircraft;
- Longitudinal (Ailerons);
- Lateral (Elevator);
- Directional (Rudder);
- Flight performance:
- Asymmetric thrust;
- Spiral dives
Chapter four in the Jeppesen textbook is “The flight environment” which is also known as operational procedures.
This is an important chapter for the student pilots to ensure safety during operation at the airport.
Regardless of where you fly, busy or not congested airspace, this chapter will teach you to be a safe pilot.
In this chapter you will learn:
- Safety of flight;
- Uncontrolled airport procedures;
- Controlled airport procedures;
- Aeronautical charts;
- All special procedures;
- Types of airspace;
- Wake turbulence;
- Jet blast;
- Filing, opening and choosing a flight plan
Chapter five has all the details of safely navigating and how to maintain communication to prevent fatal situations.
This chapter has:
- Radar and ATC service;
- Radio procedure;
- Radio frequencies;
- Phonetic alphabets;
- Standard sequences;
- Distress communications;
- Priority of communication
It is essential to learn how to interpret weather to ensure a safe flight.
Chapter 6 is all about aviation weather. A good pilot knows which weather is safe for flying and which cloud to avoid.
In chapters 6 and 7 of the Jeppesen private pilot textbook, you will learn everything from basic meteorology to weather theory.
The important things to study from these chapters are:
- The atmosphere;
- Weather services;
- Weather Hazards;
- Moisture & Temperature;
- Air masses;
- Cloud formation;
- Lifting process;
Flight Performance & Planning.
This subject is related to the weight and balance of the aircraft you will be flying as a student pilot.
If you do not will to stall during landing then chapter 8 is all you have to study.
In this chapter you will study:
- E6B computer
- Slide rule side
- Wind side
- Electronic computers;
- Pre-flight planning form;
- Performance charts
- Weight & Balance;
- Cross country planning/ Diversions;
- Basic plotting exercise
Chapter 9 in the Jeppesen Private Pilot Handbook is the chapter that will teach you how to navigate in the sky.
Flying an airplane is not like driving a car. Unlike driving a car you are in the sky and everything will look a lot different from the birds-eye view.
And during the night your route may be pitch black.
So if you do not learn how to navigate your airplane in the sky you cannot reach your destination.
Without knowing how to use visual references outside or not knowing how to use the VOR, you will be lost in the sky.
Therefore Chapter 9 will explain:
- Latitude & longitude;
- Time Zones;
- Time & Longitude;
- Bearings and headings;
- Rhumb lines & great circle routes;
- Magnetic compass;
- Earth’s magnetism;
- Magnetic dip;
- Variation & deviation;
- Allowing for variation and deviation;
- Compass construction;
- Northerly turning errors;
- Acceleration errors;
- Aviation charts / Maps;
- Projections / Scale;
- Chart index / Symbols;
- Basic plotting.
Chapter 9 also contains sections on the advanced navigation system.
By saying advanced I mean the radio navigation techniques:
- Radio Communications;
- VOR (VHF Omni-directional Range) Navigation;
- ADF (Automatic direction finder) Navigation;
- GNSS / GPS (Global Positioning System)
- WAAS ( The wide-area augmentation system)
- Primary and secondary surveillance radar
This is the chapter that talks about aviation physiology and aeronautical decision making.
Chapter 10 will explain:
- Hypoxia / Hyperventilation;
- Alcohol / Drugs / Medications
- Environmental factors;
- Sensory Sources & Sensory Illusions
- Decompression effects;
- Trapped gases;
The above-mentioned list is about aviation physiology.
NOW let’s discuss what will you learn from the aeronautical decision-making section of this chapter:
- The accident chain;
- The decision making process;
- Factors affecting decision making;
- Situational awareness;
- Stress and stress management;
- Personality traits;
- Hazardous attitudes;
- Managing risk
Lastly in a structured private pilot ground school syllabus, there will be a few hours of class on the specific airplane you will be flying during the training.
Your flight instructor will refer you all the important notes from the Pilot Operating Handbook of the airplane you are to fly.
Such as if you will be flying a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, then you will need a Cessna 172 Skyhawkw pilot’s operating handbook for a Cessna 172.
There are many things you might have to learn and memorize if required from this pilot’s operating handbook.
Air law and regulations.
This is a very important subject. This is the first subject that is taught in any pilot training ground school.
Depending on where you are located, the air regulations are slightly different.
The civil aviation body of the respective country will set the rules and publish them through their website or as publications.
During your ground school class you will be taught:
- Licenses and permits;
- Licensing standards;
- Medical standards;
- Domestic airspace;
- Classification of airspace;
- Aeronautical information manual;
- Required documents;
This private pilot ground school syllabus is simply a reference for students pilots to study at home.
You can use it to prepare yourself in advance or to review the most important things as a private pilot.