Items to buy for flight training

You’re planning a trip to the nearest aviation store. It’s a bit farther than you anticipated so you want to grab everything in one go. You’d rather not drive back the next day. First of all, accept the fact that you’ll return for more supplies later on as you progress into your training. Publications have a validity date so you’ll need to get the updated version; there are also different books that go more in-depth depending on the stage of your training; or you simply want to upgrade some equipment that you’ve been using to a newer or better version. Nonetheless, you can still group your items together so you’re not constantly driving back and forth. A simpler (but costs slightly more) method is have it shipped to your door.

Below is a list suggested items to have. Either at home for reference, or with you for every lesson. Prices may vary depending on your local store.

Pre-solo stage

At this stage, the items you use will be required for almost every flight.

Headset ($100-$1800) – Here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 regarding headsets.

Maps (VNC, VTA) ($17 each) – You’ll need these to start getting familiar to the airspace, towns, features, etc in your area. These charts normally get updated annually so you don’t have to worry too much about them expiring soon. VTAs may not necessarily be required depending on where your base is so check with your flight school and/or instructor.

Fuel strainer ($10-25) – This is used to check for impurities in the fuel. It’s suggested to get the more environmentally friendly GATS jar. The regular fuel strainer doesn’t have a filter so you’ll have to dispose the strained fuel via some other means. The GATS jar has a filter to filter out particles and water so the strained fuel can be poured back into the fuel tanks.

Paper, pen, pencil – To write down flight time, airtime, ATC instructions/clearances, ATIS, etc. Consider bringing extra pen/pencil in case you drop it during flight or lost it from your previous flight.

Timepiece – Requirement from CARs 602.60. A reliable timepiece will suffice. It’s suggested to get one that has a stopwatch function or a second hand. Reliable timepiece can simply be your phone or a cheap digital from Amazon or Walmart.

FTM ($15) – Flight Training Manual is a purple book that describes the basic theory and execution of a flight exercise.

FTGU ($80) – From The Ground Up is a textbook that covers most items required for your written exam. It also has other knowledge that would be useful for the practical aspects of flying.

POH (free-$80) – The Pilot Operating Handbook has procedures on how to operate the aircraft during different manoeuvres, emergency procedures, limitations, systems, etc. You’ll be expected to read and understand most of the POH. For information that you haven’t committed to memory, you’ll need to be comfortable looking up that information in the POH.

VFR Phraseology (free-$10) – It is an orange book by NavCanada intended as a learning tool and reference guide regarding VFR radio communications. A hardcopy is available for purchase, but also FREE to download on their site. (This document isn’t required, but encouraged since the .pdf version is free.)

Pilot Logbook (or simply “Logbook”) ($10-25) – This is your personal logbook to help keep track of the flights you’ve flown. You can record the amount of hours, aircraft, crew, route, etc. You may use a digital version instead of a hardcopy, but remember you’ll need to eventually print a copy so that the school/club can verify the hours.

PTR (Pilot Training Record) ($2-10) – Similar to your personal logbook, you record the flights you’ve flown. However, the PTR gets sent to Transport Canada when you apply for your licence (PPL/CPL).

Flight bag – You can get an aviation specific flight bag (which costs more) or simply use a generic backpack. The bag’s main purpose is to hold any items you need for your flight. A compartmentalized bag to organize the items would be great, but not necessary. You can easily upgrade (to an aviation flight bag or a better backpack) once you get a better idea of what you want from a flight bag.

Flight test guide (free .pdf) – It’s a guide by Transport Canada for examiners, instructors, and candidates regarding the techniques, procedures, and marking criteria for the flight test. Be somewhat familiar with the standards now so that you know what is to be expected of you. If it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed the guide, check to see if there’s been an updated version that can affect the results of the flight test.

Post-solo to PPL stage:

At this stage, most of the items will be related to navigation and cross-country.

Compass/Protractor ($5-10) – A square or semi-circle tool with degrees on it to help with navigation planning.

Ruler ($3) – An aviation specific ruler that has markings for nautical miles (NM) and statute miles (SM) to be used with navigation charts.

CFS ($16) – Canadian Flight Supplement has information on all the land airports in Canada. It expires every 56 days. The book also has the intercept orders at the back.

VNC/VTA ($17 each) – VFR Naviation Chart (VNC) and VFR Terminal Area (VTA). Since you’ll be flying into unfamiliar airspace and doing navigating planning, the VNC will be required. The VTA is suggested depending on where you’re flying. You might also need additional VNC/VTA of other areas if you do venture significantly beyond your home area.

Flight computer (E6B) ($20-250) – Either the old school analog version or a digital version.

AIM (free-$15) – The Aeronautical Information Manual is published by TC as a consolidated reference information. It’s available for purchase, but also FREE to download on their site. (This document isn’t required, but encouraged since the .pdf version is free.)

Exam prep book, study workbook, textbook, or similar ($30-250) – A written exam book that helps summarize information and/or provide practice written exam. Or a prep book for your flight test. Or a textbook providing more in-depth information on a specific topic. More specific examples are listed in the next section.

PPL and beyond (Night rating, Multi, IFR, CPL, ATPL) or maybe even during PPL:

There are a few companies publishing books on the same topic. They’re all good. The prices range from $20-500. They generally provide a summary of the knowledge of the section followed with a practice exam. Some are simply practice questions to help get you ready for the written exam. Others cover the knowledge and theory without any practice questions.

Some topics that the books focus on are:

– Weather
– CARs (Canadian Aviation Regulations)
– PPL written
– CPL written
– ATPL written
– PPL/CPL Flight Test book
– Multi Engine rating
– IFR rating
– Night rating
– Instructor rating

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