Real Answers from Real Pilots

First week jitters

Hello airline pilot life,

I started the program this past Monday and had my first flight on Wednesday, followed by flights Thursday and Friday. Thursday flight we introduced steep turns which made me a little sick but was manageable but on Friday we took off midday and winds were picking up and this was my first experience with updraft and it completely caught me off guard , so much In fact that I really lost touch with the airplane and started to forget everything ive learned. It was quite embarrassing but for some reason I couldn’t get my anxiety and nervousness under control. This created doubt in me if this is really something I can handle but my instructor informed me we all have bad days. What are some methods to keep calm in the cockpit to avoid these reactions in the future?

Thank you!


You got this! It’s perfectly normal to be nervous, but as long as you persevere and get over it (over-time) you’ll be fine!

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When I’m nervous I like to take deep breaths. Best of luck!

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Flying is an unnatural act and many of the sensations you’ll experience in the beginning can be very unfamiliar and even uncomfortable. It’s only been a few days. Hang in there and trust that your instructor will keep you safe until the time when you learn enough to reassure yourself.



I remember my first week at atp. it certainly did feel “weird” to me, since I’ve never ridden a roller coaster before or anything. But it only took a few lessons for the feeling to subside.

I used to “tighten up” when we’d hit updrafts and downdrafts when I first started flying small planes, even though I understood exactly why it was happening and that we were perfectly safe. After going through private and instrument I became completely adapted to all of it, and now find the experience soothing. :man_shrugging:t2:

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This is absolutely, perfectly normal. You started flight school six days ago, nobody expects you to be an ace in the airplane. Your instructor is correct, we all have bad days. I certainly still have days myself that I reflect on and wish I had performed better and I have been an airline pilot for fifteen years.

Just keep going on and learning, I really would not worry about this.