Week 1 – Great Circles, Propagation & Moments

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

PerformanceI 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.

Great CirlcesThis 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.

Climbing PerformanceOn 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!).


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