Are strong math skills necessary to become a pilot?

FAQ » » Are strong math skills necessary to become a pilot?

No, average math skills will suffice using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Pilots perform most calculations on a calculator or with flight planning software. Training focuses on weather, airspace, managing radios, air traffic control airport markings, right of way rules, and emergency procedures. As you can see,  your instruction focuses on topics other than math skills. Focus on being a well-rounded student with good study habits, and this will give you the tools you need to succeed as a pilot!

What are the main math skills pilots need?

Pilot Math Skills

  1. First, you must know basic math. The most common math skills pilots use are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For example, you’ll need to add and subtract to calculate weight.
  2. Second, you should know basic geometry. This is so you can focus on shapes and spatial relationships between objects.
  3. Third, basic trigonometry helps you understand wind corrections and crosswind calculations. You will likely do this with a flight calculator app.
  4. Fourth, making educated estimates involves basic math and basic algebra since you are often solving for x. This is also known as interpolation.


Lastly, you will find that pilots also use a good deal of “mental math” to make quick calculations. Although most pilots use calculators and apps to do this, we encourage you to practice mental math for doing quick calculations.


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