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The Private Pilot Flight Training Course 1

Updated on August 10, 2011

Introduction & Emergency Checklists

In previous articles we have looked the Private Pilot Licences available, the requirements needed to obtain a Licence and the PPL Flight Training Syllabus. We’ve also checked out some of the advanced add-on Ratings you can study for once you are a pilot. But for students about to embark on their flying course, or pilots looking for a refresher or in fact anyone who wants to know more about flying an aircraft, what they are really looking for is a step by step guide through the whole of the JAR PPL Flying Course.

And starting with this article, I will take you through the complete course, from the very basics like checking out an aircraft to navigation and cross-wind landing techniques. However, in keeping with any teaching guides, you must consult your particular aircraft Pilot’s Operating Manual or talk to your Instructor as to the exact requirements of your Flying Organisation.

So, where do we start? Let’s jump straight in and start with a pilot’s worst case scenario; aircraft emergencies. We’ll take them one by one and show you the steps you should take in each situation.

Engine Fire During Start-Up

If possible keep the engine turning over with the starter and move the Mixture Control to IDLE CUT-OFF. If there is a Fuel Selector, switch it to OFF. This will starve the engine of fuel and the fire should extinguish itself.

If not, then;-

Fuel: OFF

Switches: OFF

Brakes: ON

Then evacuate the aircraft taking the Fire Extinguisher with you.

Engine Fire in Flight

A probable cause for an engine fire in flight is either fuel or oil leaking under pressure. The procedure is;-

Throttle: CLOSED

Fuel Selector: OFF


Ignition Switches: OFF

Cabin Heat: OFF (this is done to avoid fumes coming into the cabin)

In cases as fire in the air, remember to fly the aircraft and maintain a safe flying speed. Then you should follow the procedure for a Forced Landing.

Electrical Fire

An electrical fire has a very distinct smell, so if you suspect one;-

Master Switch: OFF

All Other Switches (except Ignition): OFF

Cabin Heat: OFF

Cabin Vent: As Advised for your Aircraft

Fire Extinguisher: Use as Needed

On the Ground:

Shut down the engine and Evacuate the aircraft taking the Fire Extinguisher with you.

In the Air:

If possible, keep the engine running and make a landing as soon as possible. If you do have to shut the engine down, follow the Forced Landing procedure.

Cabin Fire

First identify where the fire is coming from and use the extinguisher as required.

On the Ground

Shut-Down the Engine

Fuel Selector: OFF


Switches: OFF

Brakes: ON

Evacuate the Aircraft

Use the Fire Extinguisher as required

In the Air

Use the Fire Extinguisher as required

Ventilate the cabin to avoid fumes

Remember to Fly the Aircraft

Decide whether a Forced Landing is necessary

Brake Failure

If a brake failure occurs whilst taxiing the aircraft;-

Throttle: CLOSED

(Shut-Down the Engine if required)

Keep Clear of Obstacles

If a collision is likely;-

Fuel Selector: OFF


Ignition: OFF

Master Switch: OFF

That concludes the basics of what to do in an emergency situation. These checklists should be memorised as time will not normally permit you to consult your checklist. But remember to check for any differences affecting your particular aircraft or the rules governing your Flying Organisation.

In the next article, we will learn to check out our aircraft on the ground.

The author, John Pullen has been a professional writer and producer of factual media programmes for over 25 years and a pilot for over 20 years.

The key to successful pilot training is preparation. Background reading of flight manuals is very important, but there is also another way. Flight Training DVDs are now available to take the aspiring pilot from their first lesson right through the Private Pilot’s Licence to the Commercial Instrument Rating. Each DVD follows the JAA syllabus completely. For further information on pilot training and details about how this series of flight training DVDs can help you to reach your dream of becoming a pilot, go to


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    • Flight Training profile image

      Flight Training 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Skymaster. You're right but as I say in the articles, these lists are generic and student pilots must always check with their Instructor as to their exact method for their particular aircraft. Your Socato incident sounds interesting (maybe you should write about it). It is impossible, as you will know to cover every emergency/incident we encounter in flying; last week I had an aborted take-off with "pitot fly" causing an ASI failure. All good experience in our great profession. Safe flying.

    • profile image

      skymaster 6 years ago

      Very interesting.

      Engine Fire During Start-Up drill

      Please add throttle full...It must be done in order to drain the fuel lines and the carburetor fast,and empty the barrels.

      You also might find useful to add the stuck starter drill. I failed once to execute it, with catastrophic results to the engine :( Poor Socata.