Pilot resources from


Getting familiar with a new type of aircraft

Commercial pilots around the world are feeling the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aircraft operators are affected by the crisis and some are restructuring their operations, which can translate into fleet and pilot pool reductions. For some pilots, this may mean they’ll be assigned to another type of aircraft within the same company or will need to learn to fly a different type of aircraft with another employer. Here are some suggested steps for pilots starting fresh on an unfamiliar aircraft. 

1. Find an instructor familiar with the type of aircraft you are getting ready to fly

The best tips and advice will naturally come from pilots very familiar with the aircraft you will be flying. Instructors are very resourceful and will be able to point you in the direction of the right readings and tools to gain proficiency on your new aircraft. It’s their job to help and guide you through this process!

2. Get familiarized with the cockpit layout

Once you’ve met with an instructor, this should be your starting point. If you don’t have regular access to a simulator or the actual aircraft you’ll get to fly, use a cockpit diagram to help you locate its many elements.

Being familiar with the cockpit is the first step towards learning and reviewing systems, checklists and procedures. This step is not to be underestimated. For example, if you are transitioning from a round-dial to a glass cockpit, you might have to get familiarized with a new way to scan instruments. 

3. Read the Aircraft Flight Manual and/or the Pilot Operating Handbook

Get familiar with the various speeds, the aircraft’s limitations and performance data, normal and emergency procedures as well as various checklist items. Take notes of elements you might not fully understand and discuss them with pilots and instructions experienced on type.

It is essential to be self-aware and know how comfortable you are with a new aircraft before you take it up for a ride. If you don’t feel entirely confident, keep studying and, if able, jump in a simulator session or flight with a pilot that is experienced on type. Learning how an unfamiliar aircraft operates is challenging but very rewarding and worth the effort once everything starts flowing again.

📰 Related Articles

Interview with Andy Thornton and advice on technical interviews

Myth de-busting from the point of view of a business jet pilot

Interview: The power of positivity with Suzy the pilot

🧰 Tools

Resume Builder

Feed tile image

Here is How Air Force Student Pilots Train at 15 Wing Moose Jaw

Feed tile image

A Pilot’s Place isn’t Always in the Sky

Get tips to respond to the question “What do I do now?”, a question many pilots are asking themselves right now as they face the reality that they may not fly for a while. 

Feed tile image

Back to Basics: Captain Herman Mateboer’s take on CRM

Is CRM part of the pre-flight briefing? Do you talk about mistakes that happened during the flight in an open discussion? Captain Herman answers it all through his pilot eyes!

Feed tile image

A Brief History of the MD-11

The ins and outs of the MD-11 from pilot George de Waard aka @legendarycargopilot .

Feed tile image

Aircraft that Changed Aviation - Comet

The de Havilland DH 106 Comet 

Feed tile image

Staying proficient during the Covid-19 pandemic

Staying proficient during the COVID-19 pandemic can pay huge dividends. Here is how to do it away from the cockpit.

Your Email Address