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18 PPL Flight Training Exercises

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

There are a number of flight briefings you will receive during your "ab initio" PPL (private pilot license) flight training.


The PPL flight training syllabus is divided up into 18 exercises that must be completed and mastered to the industry standard before you are allowed to test for your PPL (Private Pilots License).

Some of them will be combined together in a single lesson, others will be spread out over several lessons, and others will be built on over consecutive lessons.

Learning about flying, like cleaning a house, is a process... it never really ends.



Below is a list of the flight briefings and air exercises you will be doing:

Although you do not have to prepare for each lesson in advance, it can speed up your training, saving you time in the air, and thereby, money.

Exercise 5: Taxiing

Exercise 5E: Taxiing emergencies

Exercise 6: Straight and level

Exercise 7: Climbing

Exercise 8: Descending

Exercise 9: Turning

Exercise 10A: Slow flight

Exercise 10B: Stalling

Exercise 11: Spin avoidance

Ex 12 & 13 E: Circuit emergencies

Exercise 14: First Solo Flight

Exercise 15: Advanced turning

Exercise 16: Forced landing without power

Exercise 17: Precautionary Landing

Exercise 18A: Navigation Low Level

Exercise 18B: Navigation High Level

Exercise 18C: Navigation Instruments


Before every flight your instructor will brief you on the principles of flight relevant to the practical flight exercises you are about to do. Some instructors will ask you to prepare for each flight by reading up on the lessons the night before, but most won't.


The structure of your flight training lessons should be as follows for your ab initio flight training (that means your training leading up to your PPL from ZERO to PILOT):

  • Flight Briefings (up to an hour)

  • Practical Flight (about an hour)

  • Debriefing (10-30 mins)

The very first lesson I likely to be rather long, around four hours including only one hour of actual flying. The next few lessons should be roughly three hours each, including one hour actual flying for each session. Then it will drop down to two hour slots which includes, you got it, one hour flying! This is when you will be learning to land, in the circuit.

After that your longest sessions will be dedicated to your cross country flights and then finally, your PPL flight test.


When you have your PPL License in your hands, you will finally be able to take someone other than your instructor, on a flight with you. (Remember to sign the license in the two places indicated to validate it).


Did you know that there were less than 6,000 Private Pilots in South Africa in 2011?! There were only about 14,000 pilots including PPLs, Commercial, & ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) fixed wing and helicopter pilots from a population of around 40,000,000. That is less than 0.03% of the population. The numbers are growing, but not much. You will be joining a very small club of exceptional folk when you sign up to become a Pilot.


There is no better time.

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Circuit direction
Circuit checks
Normal take-off
Crosswind take-off
Shortfield take-off
Crosswind leg
Downwind leg
Base Leg
Final leg
Landing
Ballooning
Flaring high
Flaring low
Flapless landing
Shortfield landing
Glide approaches
Sideslip approach
Crab approach
Circuit radio
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