Getting the most from your PPL lessons


Find the right school


Sometimes there will only be one school within any reasonable distance from you, so you you have little choice. But, if you do have choice you may want to visit a number of schools and do a trial lesson. When visiting, you can answer any questions you have. I would recommend you ask about:

  • Costs
    • Can they do a package deal for the minimum 45 hours
    • Or, if you prefer can they accept a pay-as-you-go arrangement so that can can pay for each lesson when you can afford them
    • What extra costs do they expect for ground school, equipment, landing fees, health checks …
  • Availability
    • How many instructors do they have
    • When are they most busy
    • Does this align with your schedule
  • Sustainability
    • What aircraft do they use
    • Can you do any training on an electric aircraft
    • Can you supplement your training with simulator time
  • Weather
    • What does the typical year look like at this airfield
    • In summer and in winter, what % of flight lessons get cancelled due to poor weather.
  • Can you speak with a current or former student?

Asking these questions will ensure you find the right school for you. Finding a school that matches your needs is the most impactful thing you can do to get the most from your PPL. But once you’ve found the right school, there is more you can do.

Preparing for your lessons

Making Notes

note taking

During and after each lesson, remember to take notes on what you’ve learnt. I personally like to do this in the Airfield cafe after my flight, I take my time to reflect on the flight and make notes on what I’ve learnt. I do this in a digital note-taking tool such at Notion or Evernote. This can be just as impactful in a handwritten notebook, the important part is the reflection and note-taking.

Recording your lessons

recording in cockpit

Flight lessons can be long, so it can be difficult to remember everything that was covered. You can try to take notes as you are flying on a kneepad. But, you can also simply record your lessons and then watch them back to review. 

Getting the correct setup can be difficult. I would recommend the following:

  • A GoPro (8 or later)
  • A suction mount - this is important so that you can position it to cover both the cockpit and the exterior view
  • A audio adapter - I struggled to master the radio comms element of my flight training. Using this adaptor with a GoPro allows you to capture the radio audio in your recording

The above setup will cost around £500 new, but could be much cheaper and sustianable if you buy these used. This seems like a large upfront costs, but it’s only around 5% of the full cost of a PPL. Investing early will make you learn more quickly and get the most from your lessons.