Stop chasing the needles!

A very common problem with new pilots is over-controlling the airplane, or “chasing the needles.” For example, cruising at 5,000 feet, a new pilot might notice the altitude increases a little bit, so he abruptly pushes the yoke forward in an effort to correct the deviation. He pushes a little bit too much, and the aircraft, previously climbing, starts descending. What does our pilot do? He over corrects again, in the other direction, and the aircraft climbs again.

This cycle keeps repeating itself, resulting in altitude deviations, heavy workload and sick passengers.

Precision flying is much better.

You’ll fly more accurately when you make small corrections with the flight controls based on the feedback received from the flight instruments. Instead of chasing needles, you should make a small correction once, observing a change in the desired parameter (such as altitude, airspeed or heading). After making that little correction, monitor the performance of the aircraft. If the correction was not enough, increase it a little. If it was too much, decrease it somewhat. Then monitor the new performance. This constant control-feedback loop will help you fly the aircraft with a very high level of precision and prevent unwanted deviations.