First post...question about setting goals


Well-Known Member
Hello everyone! I am a long time visitor of JC and I decided that I finally would join and be part of the family. I was curious if any of you accomplished pilots set goals along the way telling yourself when you would obtain each flight rating? Or did most of you just kind of go with the flow and get it done? I ask this because I have never really have set exact goals for flight training and I think it might be time to do so. Thanks a bunch.
I think goals are as important early in your training career as they are when you're actually flying for a living. If you're training at an FBO at your own pace, it's easy to fall into a slower pace knowing that there is no real deadline to finish. If you're at a 141 school the curiculum is generally more sylabus driven with specific deadlines to accomplish phase checks and chekrides.

As you progress through your career and enter training at a 135 or 121 operation, the training becomes very time compressed and VERY sylabus driven. Often you know the date of your oral and checkride on the very first day of training. This is when your goal-driven attitude early in your career as a student really pays off.

If you're not presently using a sylabus, sit down with your CFI and talk about using one. There are lots of "canned" sylabi available from Jeppesen, Cessna, ASA, et al. Or, you guys could make your own sylabus based on the goals and time frame that are important to you.

Another good idea is to schedule checkrides BEFORE you're ready. Your CFI will have a good idea of about when you should be ready for a checkride as you near the end of your training. There is no better motivator to hit the books or go flying than a checkride marked out on your calendar. Plus, this is the way it will be later in your career.

Hope this helps . . . Welcome to the industry . . . Good luck!
I went to a 61 school but used a syllabus. I was more of a go with the flow guy with no specific goals other than I wanted to be an airline pilot one day. Honestly, I never thought it possible due to my poor vision but figured I'd be happy at a lower level. Luckily, I got started at a young age, had some financial help, and never gave up. Actually, I tried to give up and be an air traffic controller for a short time, but that didn't work out.....lucky me. Anyhow....I mainly wanted to say I think you can be just as successful at a 61 school but using a syllabus is important.
Great topic. I was telling a friend today that my approach to my training througout has been:

"Plan your work and work your plan."

I actually "fired" a flight instructor who refused to sit down and go over his written plan with me on how we were going to finish my IR. (it was pretty well documented on these boards).

I try to set realistic goals and work hard towards them. Sometimes I fall short when I try to do things by a specific date, but I have yet to fail at taking my aviation goals to fruition thus far.

It's good to look ahead towards the future and what your ultimate goal is, but that is the peak of the mountain.

You will have a LOT of hills to climb along the way. Just keep your main focus on one "hill" at a time (i.e. PPL, Instrument, Multi-Engine, Commercial, CFI, etc.) and don't deviate.

Realize that you WILL experience setbacks, but don't let them stop you.

My plan is that I fly - on an average - of three times a week as wx permits. Sometimes it's less - sometimes it's more. Depends.

But I just keep my head down and bullrush the goal. I'll get there by following that plan until I get to where I want to go.

That's been my experience so far. Your mileage may vary.

Best of luck!!

During the course of my training, I was pretty much go with the flow. I studied for each checkride/written/oral, etc., and just did it to get it done with high success. My major goal was to be hired at my favorite regional airline... which is Chicago Express. I obtained that goal (earlier than expected), and have now set two more for myself: Successful upgrade to captain (already working on getting recommendations), and getting hired at a major airline within 5 years. To obtain those goals will take a lot of determination, and an equal amount of luck...

You have to set goals for yourself to get anywhere. Sort term and long term. With hard work and determination you can reach them. But also don't be afraid to change your goals if you feel a change of self. As I said in my perspectives article, I wanted to become a military pilot. After much consideration during college, I decided I would be much more suited for an airline career due to my hopes/goals/dreams outside of a career. So I changed my goals considerably during my freshman year of college, and even with the change still got where I hoped to be. You definitely can do the same thing, just have no fear!
FlyChicaga nailed it on the head! Goals are essential for success in flying. But be warned! Do not set unrealistic goals. Trying to rush into a checkride will almost certainly spell disaster. And nobody wants to have to tell a potential employer about how they busted a checkride over something stupid. So yes, set goals, but just make sure you can comfortably and safely attain them. You will enjoy it SO much more that way. Good luck!