5 Training Tips when Weather Keeps you Grounded

It can be frustrating when weather keeps you on the ground but that doesn't mean you can't use your time efficiently.  Here are some tips to help you make progress when the weather doesn't cooperate.

  1. Get some actual IMC.  Even if you are training for a Private Pilot certificate you must complete 3 hours of ACTUAL or simulated instrument time.  Despite all of the tools available there is just no way to accurately simulate flying in the clouds.  As long as the conditions are safe have your instructor get you in the clouds and vectored around for an instrument approach.  If you get stuck in deteriorating weather and can't land immediately this is what you should do - so why not practice the real thing?
  2. Use a simulator.  Modern simulators are great tools for practicing both VFR and IFR maneuvers.  Brush up on emergency procedures, crosswind landings or navigation.
  3. Use a desktop sim.  It may not be quite as effective as a more elaborate simulator but is still an excellent tool for practicing procedures.  Microsoft Flight Sim and X-Plane are very functional and perfect for practicing navigation.  And you can't beat the cost - FREE.
  4. Brush up on your GPS proficiency.  Unless you are a factory rep for Garmin there is always more to learn about these systems.  Download a copy of the manual and play with the computer emulators available for most models.  In addition, we have computer tutorials at Rainier that walk you through everything from the basics to advanced features.  Learn them on the ground and put it to use the next time you fly.
  5. Study for the Knowledge Exam.  If you have not yet passed the knowledge exam - study up and get it done! In my opinion, the best way to prep for the knowledge test is to buy the computer program from ASA or Sporty's and keep taking practice tests until you consistently get 90% or above.  Note difficult areas to review with your instructor.

A good pilot never stops learning and there is a wealth of information available for pilots of all skill levels.  Read articles from aviation publications, review the aircraft POH and supplements or form a study group to quiz each other.  Sometimes weather keeps you down but use the chance to learn something new and make your next flight that much better!