Am I doing or not?

I am a 138 hours Private pilot and very close to IFR check-ride. Here is what I have:
Instrument exam is done with 90%.
41 Instrument Hours: Meets minimums for the check ride.
43 Cross Country: 7 hours to go.

Here is my own evaluation:
Flying: Good. I can keep heading and altitude very well. Intercept with courses and rest of the IFR skills good. Take-offs are good. Over all flying is smooth.

I am not still confident with communications. 80% is good but I still miss some communication and I have to make the controllers to repeat.

Landings: flare is good but using rudder to align with centerline comes and goes. Sometimes, cross wind corrections are not good. I don’t land on three wheels or slam the plane-- that part is smooth.

Determining location: I have to double think where I am. Like 10 miles South East inbound for landing. Am I really at south east? I doubt. Sometimes say North East instead.

I can’t confidently see an airport. I always doubt. I am so worried that I will make a mistake on an airport and that affects my communication especially in uncontrolled airports.

Landing checklist: I forget to use checklist all the time before landing. It is easy: full rich, fuel pump, landing lights. More than half of the time, I forget it.

My question is: Are the problems that I am having normal for a pilot at 138 hours? Or Am I just wasting my money to become an airline pilot?

Thank you in advance.


It’s very difficult to say. I don’t know you. I have never flown with you. You have provided us with your perspective. We can make a snap judgment based on the picture you just portrayed, but take it with a grain of salt.

Are you wasting your time? Hard to say.

Should you be more confident confirming your position? Yes. I would figure out why. Your instructor should be helping you with this. If they’re not, get a new instructor.

Should you be forgetting the checklist that often? No. Again, figure out why. Figure out a way to help remind yourself. Your instructor should be helping you with this. If not, get a new one.

Should you still be struggling to consistently maintain centerline alignment on landings? No. Should you be perfect? No. Should you do it correctly more often than not? Yes. Are your landings within check ride standards? If so, you’re fine.

Some questions I have for you is, what flight school are you attending? How many times a week are you flying? How long has it taken you to get this far? How many different instructors have you had? How do you feel about them? How do they treat you when you make a mistake? Are they supportive or do they get frustrated?



As Tory said, with just the info you provide it’s tough to say. Your instructor should have considerably more insight as they are the one that can actually see where you are up close. That said I have to say there’s nothing you describe that I’d consider a deal breaker or leads me to believe you can’t be successful. In fact virtually everything you list sounds much more like a lack of confidence (or even some fear) than anything else.

Landings are tough for many, I see professionals who still struggle. In most cases I find people over think it. An examiner friend once told me he sees it daily. People get all wrapped up in it. There’s the runway, put the plane where you want it. That may sound really simple but that’s really all there is to. If you can’t, the plane is flying you, you need to fly the plane.

Comms are another common program. Unless you have trouble speaking normally to others in daily conversation it’s purely a matter of confidence and familiarity.

Knowing your location you need to visualize it better. If the plane you’re flying has GPS that makes it easy. If not possibly drawing it out but it sounds to me like it goes back to nerves. You’re probably anxious about the upcoming radio call and it gets twisted in your head. You know it’s coming, you know the direction you’re flying and you know where the airport is. Have that already figured out long before you get there. If you’re flying North East to the field. Doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 50nm away you’re SouthWest. Think about it sooner.

Again it’s hard for us to give you a definitive answer but from what I’m hearing I wouldn’t quit just yet (unless you want to). You also don’t say how LONG you’ve been training? Were those hours build in 6mos or over 2 years? If it’s been spread out considerably you might want to consider flying more consistently to build you confidence and skills.


Thank you for the replies. My instructor is good. I don’t have complains about it. I have accumulated 138 hours within 9 months. In general, I don’t have people to compare myself. Are the most of the pilots have the similar problems that I have at this time and experience? I don’t know.

Maybe I just need stop thinking about them and just do it. “put the plane where you want it”.


At 138 hours, I would say that most people are past the issues that you are speaking of. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you are not capable of figuring it out.

I would recommend listening to to help with the communications. I would also recommend spending a few hours with another instructor as they might be able to explain things to you differently.