3 subjects that you need to study if you want to become a pilot
Some actually useful things that you will learn in highschool
One of the most common questions of young people regarding pilot studies is which of their school subjects they will need to learn in order to become a pilot.
Strictly speaking, there is no need for studying STEM in order to become a pilot, but there are always certain subjects that will be more helpful than the others whenever we decide to start our airline transport pilot course.
Needless to say, we are not going to post a full ATPL syllabus, but here you have a selection of the most useful high school subjects for pilots, in no particular order:
- English. The lingua franca of all things aircraft, lots of students already know that having a good English level is a must. Aeronautic English also demands quite good listening and comprehension skills, since most times you won’t be listening to a perfect Queen’s English, but rather to non-English speakers communicating with radios and comm systems with quite poor sound quality. Still, do not despair: nobody is ready for that level of English, not even native English speakers.
- Geography. For those who have not been paying attention, a pilot’s job consists in flying an aircraft from one point of the globe to the other. Yes, we do have a plethora of shiny modern instrumental flight systems in our cockpit, such as GPS, but pilots do not have the same references than ground-dwellers have when navigating. Finding your way when you are miles above the ground; works very differently, hence why studying maps and reading navigation charts are extremely useful skills to have.
- Geometric calculus. A big part of the pilot’s life consists of calculating things. Which things, you might ask? All kinds of things: mass and balance, fuel and range, navigation degrees… there are a lot of trigonometric calculations involved, which is vital for charting navigation courses. Needless to say, pilots do have flight computers to aid us in our calculus, but we do need to understand what we are doing, for a computer can be precise and powerful, but it will never think nor decide for us. We are, after all, the ones in command of the airplane.
All of that might sound a bit too overwhelming, but fret not: you are in a pilot school in order to learn. Nobody ever arrived at our school knowing everything beforehand. We exist precisely in order to teach you all those things that you won’t learn in school.
However, it will always come in handy when you know which subjects will help you the most when you decide to become a pilot.