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Article by the Jonathan Welsh originally appeared on the AOPA website on April 24, 2024 To view the original article Click Here.

Student pilots have a lot on their minds on checkride day.

King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila. Photo courtesy of King Schools.
King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila. Photo courtesy of King Schools.
Demonstrating knowledge of regulations, procedures, and techniques on the ground, under the examiner’s critical gaze, can be overwhelming. In some cases, by the time private pilot candidates get into the airplane for the flight test, they feel as if they have forgotten how to fly.

I have spoken with many pilots over the years who recall flubbing parts of the checkride even though they had been flying the same aircraft successfully through months of instruction. Basic maneuvers like soft-field takeoffs and turns around a point can seem impossibly difficult when you have not performed them in a while and are preoccupied with the pressure of having to impress the designated pilot examiner.John and Martha King and their King Schools associates understand how the maneuvers that truly make a pilot can fade into the background for busy students seeking their private certificates, and they recently introduced a course designed to help.

The course, Maneuvers for the Private Pilot, covers short and soft-field operations, forward slips, and other maneuvers that student pilots can expect to encounter during a typical checkride. Video demonstrations help students visualize the possible scenarios and prepare mentally in advance as well as in the cockpit during instruction. I cannot help thinking that such a resource would have kept me from botching the power-off stall during my checkride years ago. One never forgets.

“The Private Pilot Maneuvers course completes the suite of core King Schools Private Pilot courses. This new course ensures that student pilots show up prepared for each flight lesson… and showing up prepared means less time required in the airplane to master each maneuver, saving time and money,” said King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila.

The course uses new high-definition video, including footage from the pilot’s point of view, and animated graphics to show step-by-step procedures for setting up and executing each maneuver. The instruction also focuses on how to avoid or correct errors that students often make, and techniques that will impress your CFI as well as examiners.

King Schools has a way of making students feel like they are working with empathizers who truly understand the challenges they face. In keeping with that reputation, John and Martha King announced that Knuttila has received his helicopter private pilot certificate, a goal the longtime fixed-wing pilot and instructor has held for many years.

“They say you are only a beginner once, but in aviation you have the unique ability to start all over with a new category of aircraft,” Knuttila said. “Flying a helicopter is great fun but also presented a unique learning curve and new challenges specific to transitioning from airplanes. I was able to once again experience the thrill of a first solo, first cross-country, and the amazing sense of accomplishment that growing in competency brings.”


Jonathan Welsh Digital Media Content Producer

Jonathan Welsh 

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot, career journalist and lifelong aviation enthusiast who previously worked as a writer and editor with Flying Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

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