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After the PPL, what next? 9 Ideas for how to use your Private Pilot License

In this video I suggest some answers to the question, “After the PPL – what next?”.

There are two points at which student or newly qualified pilots tend to drop out of flying altogether.

The first is after the first solo and the second is after completing the syllabus and obtaining the licence.

The latter is often due to the fact that new pilots will take friends and family on short flights from their local airfield but thereafter they have no one else to take.

If they haven’t developed any friendships within the aviation community, or if they haven’t set themselves any new goals, they can soon find themselves flying less often.

As time goes on, without fresh challenges their confidence goes into a spiral descent until they no longer venture outside the local area.

Eventually, short flights inside the shrinking comfort zone lose their appeal and they stop flying and the license is shelved.

This is a sad state of affairs as it means lost opportunities for the pilot and the General Aviation sector loses another participant.

Here then are some suggestions as to what you can do as a private pilot to keep that licence current, develop new skills, gain confidence, and enjoy more flying.

1. Go Exploring.

Get out your chart and plan trips to other airfields, large and small.

Visit unfamiliar airfields and airports where the challenges might be the amount of traffic and radio calls or the approaches and take-offs.

Check out the farm strips and consider dropping in, with prior permission confirmed of course.

Plan a series of stops, perhaps with one or more nights away. There’s a whole world out there to explore and a runway is all you need.

By flying in the aircraft type in which you trained and qualified you will consolidate and augment your confidence in; flight planning, weather decision making, radio calls, navigation skills, and approaches to unfamiliar airfields.

2. Buddy-up.

All this exploring can be enjoyed on your own but there are lots of advantages to flying with a co-pilot.

For a start, there’s an extra pair of eyes for the lookout, someone to point out anything you’ve missed inside the cockpit, and someone to fly alternate legs, giving you a break.

There are plenty of clubs and associations made up of people who love to fly and many who don’t have a license but who are eager passengers.

Take a pilot or a passenger (or more) and they can make a contribution to your costs.

Flying can not only be sociable but cheaper too.

3. Change Your Attitude.

If you learned to fly on a nose wheel aircraft do a type conversion to a taildragger, or vice versa.

All the airfields and strips you’ve already visited now have the potential to teach you something new as you return in a different aircraft type.

If you convert to a taildragger then you’ll be putting down foundations for heavier vintage aircraft in the years to come.

Just imagine putting in logbook entries for a Chipmunk, Tiger Moth, Harvard, or even one day, a Spitfire.

4. Be a Night Owl.

Continued in the video…

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