Taking Notes During Flight Training Makes You A Better Pilot

Taking notes during flight training makes you a better pilot, and it does so rapidly. So many times I've had students sit there during our ground briefing, slack jawed, while everything we discussed went into one ear and out the other. You're paying for the time, you need to get the most out of it! One easy thing to do is to write what we are learning about down in a way that increases your retention and memory recall. 

Here we try to give you our best recommendations, and what we've seen work the best for student pilots.

There are many ways to take notes, and the best method will depend on your personal preferences and learning style. Here are a few tips that may help you find the most effective way to take notes:

  • Determine your purpose: What do you want to achieve by taking notes? Are you trying to understand new material, review what you've learned, or prepare for an exam? 
  • Find a note-taking method that works for you: There are many different methods you can use to take notes, such as the Cornell Notes system, mind maps, or outline notes. 
  • Use abbreviations, symbols, and keywords: To help condense your notes, try using abbreviations, symbols, and keywords to represent longer phrases or concepts. 
  • Take notes actively: Instead of just copying down everything you hear or read, try to engage with the material by asking yourself questions, summarizing the main points, and adding your own thoughts and reflections
  • Review your notes regularly: To reinforce your learning and improve retention, it's important to review your notes regularly. This can be especially helpful if you're studying for an exam.

Remember, the most important thing is to find a note-taking method that works for you. Experiment with different approaches and see what works best.

We recommend the Cornell Notes system. This is a method of taking and organizing notes that was developed by Dr. Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University. It is based on the idea of actively engaging with the material being studied by taking detailed notes, summarizing the main points, and reflecting on what has been learned. The Cornell Notes system is often used in education settings to help students improve their comprehension, retention, and organization of material. It can also be useful for professionals looking to effectively summarize and review important information.

Here's how the Cornell Notes system works:

  • Divide a page into three sections: a narrow left-hand column, a wider right-hand column, and a small section at the bottom.
  • While listening to a lecture or reading a text, take detailed notes in the right-hand column. Use abbreviations, symbols, and keywords to help condense the information.
  • After finishing the material, review your notes and identify the main points. Summarize these main points in the left-hand column.
  • In the small section at the bottom of the page, write a few sentences reflecting on what you learned and how it relates to your previous knowledge or goals.
  • Review your notes regularly to reinforce your learning.

You can find a free template we provide for this method by clicking here.


Erick Teeters is a 4th generation pilot. He soloed a glider at age 14, an airplane at 16, and has been flying as a commercial pilot since age 18. He currently holds Commercial ASEL, AMEL, and GLIDER ratings. As well as CFI, CFII, MEI, and CFI-G Ratings. He has flown corporate for over 20 years and is rated in Citation 500 and 525 series aircraft.

He has five kids, four dogs, three employees, two airplanes, and one God.

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