Week 9 – FMS, EFIS, IRS

Another week complete and another step closer to the phase 1 EASA exams.

Meteorology lessonThis week has seemed much more relaxed than any other week we have had so far, which is strange considering we are now only a few weeks away from our school finals. I think this is mainly due to the fact we have had 11 hours of CBT this week and have finished at 15:15 on most days.  I am finding CBT much more helpful than i did at first, especially when it is supported with classroom teaching.

A lot of the subjects we covered this week were much more relevant to modern aviation than previous weeks. Most notably Instruments where we looked at the Auto Pilot and Flight Management System (FMS). In Airframes we looked at emergency equipment, such as life rafts and emergency slides. In Principles of Flight we looked at manoeuvre limits, which basically gives you the G limits you can place on the aircraft whilst manoeuvring. In engines we looked at the reverse thrust, ignition system and APU for a gas turbine engine. In Meteorology we looked at depressions and tropical storms, one of the few Met subjects that I actually found interesting. We have now finished the syllabus for Human Performance and Electrics so we are now moving into revision – which is great with 3 weeks to go!

CBT QuestionTuesday was our usual pizza night in Kidlington. This week most of the course joined us, which was nice to have a break from our usual classroom antics.
On Thursday I went out for dinner with a few of my course mates, again it was nice to have some time away from the books.

This weekend is mostly given to studying, even though it has been beautiful weather in London today. Tomorrow afternoon I am heading to Salisbury (on my way back to Oxford) as it is Amy’s Aunts 70th Birthday!


Week 8 – Ice, Ice & De-Icing

AP358 Casual

We are now 2 months into the APP course and more importantly just 6 weeks from our Phase 1 EASA’s.

PoF HomeworkDuring the week we started two new subjects; Auto Flight – which falls under the instrumentation exam and Communications – which is split into two exams. Comms is pretty straight forward but forms the backbone of all communication whilst in the air (and on the ground). Auto Flight is really interesting! It is all about auto pilot and the way a pilot can automate many actions during flight to reduce the workload. This forms a large section of the Instruments paper so is quite important!

This week there is not much to report on other subjects, in most cases we continued with the topics we had started in the previous week. The exceptions are Meteorology where we looked at the effects of icing on an aircraft and in Airframes we also looked the effects of airframe icing and how it can be prevented.
In most subjects I can now see the end approaching, which is a relief as we’re getting closer to Phoenix but it is also quite scary as I don’t feel ready for the approaching exams.

On Tuesday we had our usual pizza night, this time most of the class decided not to come due to the ever increasing work load and I must admit I was tempted to give it a miss however I just can’t face the Langford kitchens too many times a week! On Wednesday we had a football match against the CBR course. It was great fun, although it did get a bit competitive at times. It was great to spend some time with another course, especially a course that started at the same time as us!  This week we also had another course photo taken which has turned out much better than the previous one.

Ray-Ban CaseLast weekend I went into London to pick up my new Ray-Ban Aviators from the Ray-Ban shop in Covent Garden. These sunglasses were my birthday present from a few different people. Now that I have my Aviators I feel like the pilot uniform is almost complete (it will be complete once I have gold epaulettes).

This weekend I spent all of Saturday revising and then had a nice evening in front of the TV with a beer! It is amazing just how little TV I watch now I am spending almost every hour of every day studying. Today (Sunday) me and Amy met friends in Blackheath for a sunday roast. It was lovely to catch up and have some time, albeit brief, away from the books!

AP358 Final

Week 7 – Clouds, Gas Turbines & Air Conditioning

AP358 Course Photo 1

We are now firmly into the second half of phase 1 and becoming closer to the dreaded EASA exams. After last weeks exams  and a relatively relaxing weekend, this week returned to the usual high quantity of work in  a small amount of time. We also started 2 ‘new’ subjects this week; Gas Turbine Engines and AC Electrics.

CloudsGas turbines seem much more relevant to my career as these (jet engines) are found on most modern air transport aircraft. The engines are very similar to a turbine engine therefore, so far, quite a lot of the theory is transferable. AC Electrics is also pretty straight forward, although it appears aircraft use AC electricity much more than DC, so I am expecting it to be a bit more complex.
In Meteorology we moved on to look at Clouds, Precipitation and Thunder Storms. Again this seems much more relevant as these are all real dangers facing all airline pilots. In Airframes we looked at pressurisation and air conditioning. In Instruments we moved onto Gyro Navigational Instruments, which I actually found really interesting – I know, I’m a geek! In Human Performance we looked at sleep, which now justifies me having a lie in every weekend! Finally, in Principles of Flight we looked at flight mechanics.

Boing posterI decided to use my evenings this week to start going through questions in preparation for my EASA exams and therefore had little time to socialise outside of the classroom. I did manage to enjoy the improving weather on a few evenings, walking into Kidlington before settling down with my books for the evening. On Thursday we had our course photo taken, in the fog (see above). Unfortunately there are a few problems with the picture so we are hoping to have it retaken this week with better weather!

Dominating most conversations this week has been the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines, Boeing 777, flight MH370. I keep being asked for my opinion on what I think happened and every time I say the same thing. Until the aircraft has been found and the flight data analysed it is impossible to say what happened. Right now there are many theories and speculations circulating about what happened but currently they are nothing more than a theory. Hopefully in the coming weeks we will know more, however as with the Air France crash (447) it could take years before we truly know what happened.

30 Commercial Airline Pilots that Tweet from 30, 000 Feet | Travelstart’s Travel Blog

I have been listed (number 12) on the Travel Start website as one of 30 Commercial Airline Pilots that Tweet from 30,000 feet. This is a great article and I would strongly recommend checking out Karim Nafatni’s photo’s from his Emirates flight deck.

30 Commercial Airline Pilots that Tweet from 30, 000 Feet | Travelstart’s Travel Blog.

Week 6 – Test 1

It has been another straight forward week at COAA. This week we had our first progress exams, Test 1.

Late night revisionThe tests monitor our progress over the first 5 weeks to see if we are heading in the right direction. Overall I did OK in the exams with two not going so well! After debriefing each subject it is clear where I need to put in the extra work. All-in-all it is a positive process!
I have now registered for an online question bank which will help me with my revision and also get me used to the types of questions I will get in my EASA exams in May.

We all decided to go for a few drinks on Wednesday evening following our final exam. It was a great evening and a nice opportunity for the whole course to get together without having revision looming over us. On Thursday it was happy hour at school; an opportunity for us to welcome the new course and a celebration for the two courses that had just finished exams.

Birthday CardMonday was my birthday – a great week for a birthday! The class got me a card and a birthday cake. We didn’t eat the cake until Wednesday night once exams were over and we could truly enjoy it!

The work continues next week as we continue with the subjects we started before Test 1’s with the addition of AC Electrics and Gas Turbine Engines.