I have just finished the first week of Phase 2 and we are already 1/8 of the way through the syllabus – they warned us phase 2 was short!
We have started 7 new subjects which, on the whole, are much more practical than the phase 1 subjects. Also in a lot of cases they seem to be the practical application of the theory we studied in phase 1. The 7 subjects are;
- Air Law
- General Navigation
- Radio Navigation
- Mass & Balance
- Flight Planning
- Aircraft Performance
- Operational Procedures
I have made sure I have hit the ground running by taking lots of notes in class and then going over them in detail on an evening. As most of this phase is practical it seems to be really important to become confident with techniques so that you can apply them quickly in the exam. After talking to people who have finished phase 2 EASA’s it seems that the biggest problem is time; unlike phase 1 it seems you use all of the allocated time in the exams.
I am really enjoying the subjects so far, possibly because it all seems much more relevant to flying.
This week we covered calculating distances using magnetism and great circle tracks in Gen Nav. In Radio Nav we looked at the basic principles of radio waves (propagation, attenuation and frequencies) as well as the first radio navigation aid, Non-Directional Beacon (NDB). In Performance we looked at the basic theory of an aircraft taking off, which included calculating the optimum take off distance from a series of variables (temperature, density, wind etc…). In Mass & Balance we started looking at the centre of gravity location of an aircraft and how this can be calculated using moments (in simple terms you turn the airlift in to a giant see-saw). In Flight Planning we looked at calculating the fuel needed for a flight, which includes contingency and fuel required to fly to alternate airports en-route. In Air Law we began to look at the 18 Annexes that make up aviation law (its a pretty dull subject). Finally is Op’s we looked at the responsibilities of the airline and the different roles that are required to legally run an airline and carry paying passengers. We have also been introduced to several Civil Aviation Publications (CAP 696 , CAP 697 & CAP 698), which contain performance data for certain aircraft. This data is used in Flight Planning, Mass and Balance and Aircraft Performance to answer specific questions in the EASA exams.
On Tuesday I went to the Red Lion for pizza night – its been a few months since I was last there. My old course, AP358, had their school finals this week so were celebrating finishing ground school on Tuesday evening – with quite a few bottles of wine…
The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. As phase 2 is so short I really want to make sure I stay on top of the work and as maths isn’t my strongest area I think it will take quite a bit of extra work for me to be at the standard I need to be at for the exams.
This weekend will be mainly taken up by work again. Its my wedding anniversary next week so before the work load really piles up we are going to have a night away on Saturday (after a morning of work!).
After an intense few months this is the week I have been most excited about – a week off from my books! I had a week of leave after my EASA exams with AP358, however with the problems with my results it turned out to be anything but relaxing. This week was going to be much different!
Saturday was OAA’s 75th Anniversary and with it came a family day at Oxford Airport. This was a great opportunity for me to show Amy around the school – the more exciting parts like sims and aircraft rather than my stuffy classroom. It was a great day and the weather was beautiful. Its nice to see the school and students much more relaxed than I usually do day to day.
Sunday was a normal relaxing day, going for a walk and a nice dinner in the evening in Greenwich. The rest of the week I spent catching up with friends. Tuesday I was in Central London, again enjoying the sunshine in one of London’s (many) beer gardens. On Wednesday I continued catching up with friends with a trip to Regents Park – the trip even included a boat trip around the lake. On Thursday I drove up to Leeds for the day for a family visit. Its amazing how tiring 8 hours of driving can be in one day! On Thursday night I got back to London just in time for the incredible thunder storm that made front page news around the country. On Friday I picked Amy up from school and we headed down to Devon for Fred and Kat’s wedding.
Saturday was wedding day so after a relaxed morning we headed to Torre Abbey in Torquay. We were warned of severe thunderstorms all day but luckily we had sun, sun and even more sun! The whole day was lovely, the ceremony was held it the Abbey and the reception was next door in an old barn (which Kat had made look stunning with the help of the West End). On Sunday we left Devon early in order for me to get back to London pack up all of my stuff and head back to Oxford for the start of Phase 2!
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Here we go, the week my whole training has been building towards – Phase One EASA exams.
As this is the second time I had sat these exams I felt much more confident at the beginning of the week than I had for the previous exams. I already knew the process and what to expect when sitting the exams which relieved some of the fear of the ‘unknown’ (it didn’t relieve any of the pressure though!).
My schedule for the week was much nicer than the previous sitting as well:
Monday 7th July – Aircraft General Knowledge (Systems/Electrics/Engines)
Tuesday 8th July – Instrumentation
Wednesday 9th July – Principles of Flight
Thursday 10th July – Meteorology
Most of the exams were at either 11.30am or 1.30pm which gave me more than enough time to go through some last minute notes before I went in. All in all I found the exams much better than the last time I sat them which I think was from a mixture of sitting in more classes and generally being more confident with the subject matter.
After my last exam on Thursday I drove back to London for the long agonising wait for results. Results were due out on Friday (11th July) and true to form the CAA maintained the pressure all day by drip feeding the results one by one with over an hour between some results. By about 2.30pm I had my final result and I can happily say that i will be progressing into Phase 2 with an average score of 86%. It is such a relief to know that I don’t have look at any of these subjects over the next few months and I can now move on to do something completely different.
Saturday was Oxford’s family day to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the company. I went along with Amy to show her around the school. Now I am on leave for the next week – I am planning a relatively relaxed week catching up with as many family and friends as possible.
This post is coming a little late because its been a busy few days. I am currently in Week 15 and sitting my EASA exams. So far I have sat Aircraft General Knowledge (Systems/Electrics/Engines) and Instrumentation – so far its all going well. I won’t go into detail as I’ll ruin my post for next week!
Not much to say about the rest of week 14. I was on study leave so back in London studying 14 hours a day for 9 days. Having already sat my EASA’s once before it was much easier to structure my revision over the course of the week. With the new e-exam system the CAA give you a report with the areas you need to improve, having this was really useful for structuring my revision. I made sure to spend a large amount of time go over and over (and over) the areas in my report to make sure that I didn’t get tripped up my them again. By the end of the week I was sitting practice exams and scoring highly – hopefully this will continue into my EASA’s!
On Sunday I went back to Oxford earlier than usual (once I had watched an amazing Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer). Hopefully the extra 2 months of studying will have paid off and I can pass the exams second time round!