Pilot Modules

Pilot Modules
AOPAPilot
These modules and exercises will help explain and teach fundamental flight related skill sets for pilots. These exercises are best suited for middle school or early high school students.

Module 1: Language - How do pilots understand each other?

Learning objectives

  1. Students will explain how and why pilots use the phonetic alphabet
  2. Students utilize the aviation phonetic alphabet in both written and spoken form

Practical Uses
Pilots most frequently use the phonetic alphabet to identify specific airplanes. In the U.S. most aircraft are registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. They provide what is often referred to as the "N" number, since all U.S. airplane registrations start with that letter. An aircraft’s N-number is made up of some combination of letters and numbers painted or affixed to the airplane, similar to a car’s license plate, but large enough to be visible when the airplane is in flight.

Student Worksheet
Teacher Module

Module 2: Aircraft Basics - What are the parts of an airplane?

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will construct paper airplanes in preparation for control surface experiments
  2. Students will identify the parts of an airplane and be able to explain their role in the operation of the airplane

Practical Uses
Aircraft are constructed of parts that make it fly and help control direction of flight through longitudinal, vertical, and lateral axes. Small, single-engine airplanes and large jetliners have essentially the same basic parts. They just get bigger as the size of the airplane increases. 

Student Worksheet
Teacher Module

Module 3: Flight Controls - How does a pilot control the airplane?

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to observe, explain, and analyze the effects of an airplane’s control surfaces

Practical Uses
Flight controls of an aircraft are surprisingly simple. The systems may get more complex on larger aircraft, but the basic principles are the same for anything from a trainer aircraft to the largest of airliners. Ailerons, elevators, and rudders are the three basic control surfaces for aircraft.

Student Worksheet
Teacher Module

Module 6: Basic Flight Data - What do all those gauges do?

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to identify and explain the purpose of the six basic flight instruments
  2. Students will determine the flight condition of an airplane by interpreting indications on flight instruments

Practical Uses
Most airplanes have an array of gauges and indicators, known as flight instruments, in a panel similar to the dashboard of a car. The panel of flight instruments provides the pilot with critical information about his or her airplane while flying. You can use the basic gauges of an aircraft to introduce your students to the concepts of airspeed, altitude, attitude or position, as well as how to use a compass.

Student Worksheet
Teacher Module

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Information and image source: AOPA's "PATH to Aviation"