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What did you struggle with? Top causes of washouts?

Ventus

Weather Boy
I'd like to pose this question to Instructor Pilots or anyone in the know.

What are the top reasons for failures or washouts in flight school?
I know I shouldn't be "planning for failure" or anything like that. I'd just like to see if any of the reasons are things I can strengthen before I get there or prepare myself for mentally. Everyone always gives the generic answer "study hard" and I understand that, but it's not very specific or helpful.

In college, I wasn't the best student, had trouble studying, and had my priorities all janked up. However, after 5 years in Marine Corps aviation as a Meteorologist and serving as an NCO, I feel like most of my bad work/study habits have been ironed out. I did well and was extremely confident in my field. I'm extremely motivated about things that interest me and I look forward to flight school. I've also read that many washouts happen due to disciplinary or integrity violations. I'm not worried too much about that.

I've got a buddy in the Marine Corps that failed out of API and he says it's a three strikes and you're out sort of situation. Exactly what he failed on i'm not sure. I think he mentioned a check ride or something. However I've heard more and more rumors that Navy Flight school is getting more strict with their passing requirements and I'd like to try and do everything I can to prepare myself.
It's not so much a confidence thing for me as much as it is me worried i'm going to be overwhelmed. I've been trying to fly for the past 10 years and if i'm finally selected, will I even be able to make it through? Memorizing emergency procedures verbatim as well as aircraft limitations already seems like a lot of information to memorize. I've been doing it but on my free time, slowly chipping away at it. My concern is having to memorize huge amounts of information in an extremely short window. I assume the school itself is structured with this in mind to ease you into everything, but I don't expect hand holding or anything like that.

I'd also like to ask which areas of training you had the greatest difficulty in, what you did to overcome them, and things you wish you had done differently?

Thank you all in advance.
 

Hopeful Hoya

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
The biggest thing you can do to set yourself up for success in flight school is to worry about the things you can control. Show up prepared knowledge-wise, chairfly to give yourself extra reps, have a positive attitude and be receptive to instruction, and get practice sims as much as you can. If you do those things you will be known as a good stud, and more importantly a good dude, and IPs will go out of their way to help you if you are struggling with something in the plane.

There are things you can’t control, like airsickness, weather, selection slots, and the simple fact that some people aren’t built to fly high performance military aircraft no matter how much preparation they do. But there’s nothing you can do to change these things so don’t waste brain cells focusing on them.

Success in flight school can be summed up like this: study your ass off, ask questions/get gouge from dudes in front of you in the syllabus, help your classmates out/be a good dude, and go out and have fun on the weekends, but get back into the books on Sunday.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
Academics is one thing but if you get through API then you ought to be fine for the rest of flight school- you'll have figured out the formula for yourself how to prepare and perform in that style of testing.

Assuming you've got the work ethic down (and most students do), certain people simply have trouble in the cockpit and they don't figure out how to work through that. Everybody gets "checkride-itis" to some degree or another, it's just that some people get it really acutely, all the time, and to put it crudely an otherwise intelligent person turns into a spaz in the cockpit... can't think straight, can't regurgitate rote procedures either, and they don't figure out how to overcome that in themselves.

Lots of decent threads on studying in flight school- try a variety of keyword searches and you should be able to find a few pearls.

Hoya's advice, above, is pretty solid.
 

taxi1

Well-Known Member
pilot
Memorizing emergency procedures verbatim...
Just a small tip. There are two ways to memorize emergency procedures: (1) as a list of answers that you write down on paper on a test in a classroom, and (2) as a series of actions you do in the cockpit while you are on fire or otherwise distracted.

You want to learn them as (2) first and foremost, and then (1) second.
 

IRfly

Registered User
None
My gouge is DON'T STUDY ALONE!

Memorization will flow much more easily if you're listening to someone else say the same thing you're trying to learn. You'll motivate each other. You'll compete. You'll help each other stay focused. I would recommend no more than three, but one good study partner worked best for me.

There are mental and physical components to flying. Some things will be easy for you--some will be more difficult. Don't piss away any of the easy stuff so you can focus on your difficulties.
 

FormerRecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
To the OP, I’ve noticed you post a ton of “I was an enlisted marine, will I succeed as a naval officer?” posts.

Here’s a suggested blog post to check out.

 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
None
Contributor
I'd also like to ask which areas of training you had the greatest difficulty in, what you did to overcome them, and things you wish you had done differently?

Check out my post history (especially Januaryish of 2014). What I wish I did differently was advocate for myself when I mentally had no business being in an airplane, much less trying to figure out how to land one on a boat, at night.
 

Ventus

Weather Boy
To the OP, I’ve noticed you post a ton of “I was an enlisted marine, will I succeed as a naval officer?” posts.

Here’s a suggested blog post to check out.

I've read this blog before, but I thank you for bringing it up again. I feel like I needed to re-visit it. A lot of really good information and things to think about.
I'd like to think I don't have a big chip on my shoulder or anything like that and I'm aware of how that type of attitude can really hurt you and how to avoid feeling entitled. I've had a few pretty great mentors that made sure I had the right mindset before they wrote me any LOR's.

Usually when I preface my posts with my background, it's for context to give readers a general idea of my experience. What I understand through my limited time as opposed to nothing military at all. I'm proud of my prior service and the field I was in, but I don't pretend to know everything, and I sure as hell wasn't one of those NCO's that let all the E-3's and below field day while I sat back on my chair thinking I "paid my dues."


Also, thank you for all of the study tips so far. I appreciate the gouge.
 

Waveoff

Per Diem Mafia
None
Definitely don’t suffer in silence. API blows, and it was due to my study group meeting everyday after class (except for the day of an exam) to review the enabling objectives and nothing extraneous that I got through it. Always ask for help, the instructors want their students to pass. Also be prepared to smash the “I believe” button. If you get some “this is what you need to know for the test” information then just leave it at that. For your API tests you’ll get a few minutes before to fill out a blank cheat sheet with formulas, pneumonics, etc. Take time the day or two before the exam writing it all down and timing Yourself. You never want the day of evaluation to be the first time demonstrating knowledge, even if it’s reviewing or practicing to yourself. In a way that’s chair flying before you ever get in the cockpit.
 

sickboy

Well-Known Member
pilot
My gouge is DON'T STUDY ALONE!

Memorization will flow much more easily if you're listening to someone else say the same thing you're trying to learn. You'll motivate each other. You'll compete. You'll help each other stay focused. I would recommend no more than three, but one good study partner worked best for me.

There are mental and physical components to flying. Some things will be easy for you--some will be more difficult. Don't piss away any of the easy stuff so you can focus on your difficulties.
100% this. Of all the IPCs and attrites I counseled, studying alone was the number one commonality.

I’d also throw this out there. I you find yourself struggling with something, speak up. Especially if it’s related to human factors. It’s natural to want to thought things out, but it’s next to impossible to undue an unsat event (there might be a way, but I’ve brain dumped the 1500). Don’t be the guy or girl who brings up ongoing SAPR issues (true story) or a recent cancer diagnosis (true story) during a counseling session.
 
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