Not a massive amount to report on this week as it has been relatively uneventful.
The beginning of the week I was preparing for my EASA resit which was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 4pm, that left me with almost an entire week to make sure I was as prepared as I could be for it. I drove to Oxford early in morning and worked solidly in the quiet study room until it was time for my exam. The exam seemed to go well and I received my result early Friday morning – a pass! That means I have now passed all 14 of my EASA ATPL theory exams and can’t start the fun bit of training – the flying!
We already have a (rough) schedule for next week which includes pre-flight briefings and checks on Monday and then starting the flying on Tuesday.
“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” — Socrates
One part of the course at OAA that attracted me originally was the emphasis of training cadets to be a First Officer within a commercial airline environment. This week we started this training with the first of two weeks of First Officer Fundamentals (the second week happens after foundation flight training). The first week is based around flight safety, hence the week being renamed ‘Flight Safety Fundamentals’.
We started the week with an late start (13:00) with a general introduction to flight safety. This was followed by safety management systems and specifics of error reporting whilst flying at OAA. The system in place at Oxford is very much based around preventing accidents and learning from previous problems rather than assigning blame to a particular person or people. We finished the day looking at runway incursions which, surprisingly, seems to happen in aviation more often than we would like! The day finished at 15:30 giving me a whole evening to study for my Air Law re-sit.
Tuesday (and Wednesday morning) was our Bucks New University day, with lectures relating to our foundation degree. The foundation degree, in Air Transport Management and Operations, came from Bucks New University doing market research and finding airlines like pilots to have some industry awareness. Tuesday was a day of lectures finished off with a multiple choice test based on a paper about the EU-US Open Skies Policy. On Wednesday morning we were having a debate about whether a long haul low cost business model could work in the current economic climate. In order to prepare for this i met up with my group after school to do our research. On Wednesday morning we had our debate, which went very well – although I am not sure which side of the fence i fall on in regards to long haul low cost. The there half of the course had a debate on the proposed Heathrow expansion – I subject at the heart of British aviation at the moment.
After all of that fun we returned to flight safety in the afternoon looking at stabilised approaches (basically make sure the landing gear is down, you’re at the correct altitude and don’t fly too slow/fast!).
Thursday was our communication skills day lead by a SFO currently flying with British Airways. It was a day I was dreading as i usually find any kind of communication workshop can be quite cringe worthy… this was not.We looked at a major communication breakdown with an Air France crash at an airshow in the 1980’s – a great example of how not to plan a flight! We also discussed the role of a FO and what is expected of us as professional pilots (a lot of the talk was based around how to behave in Phoenix, although i think it applies to everyone). In the evening I packed up my room at Langford ready to move out on Friday – an exciting prospect after living there since January!
The week ended (on Friday) with a talk on the single pilot cockpit and a general overview of the training environment we are abut to enter. This was followed by collecting our study guides (another 2 text books), our headsets and logbooks. We finished around lunchtime so after handing over the key to my room at Langford I drove back to London for a few days of studies before my re-sit next week!
Throughout my training at OAA I have made weekly posts, however due to the work load over the last two weeks I didn’t get chance to post. Therefore this post is two weeks in one!
Week 11 was study leave for our phase 2 EASA exams. We finished school on Thursday of the previous week which gave me a full 10 days of studying ahead of the exams. I split my day into four sections to ensure that I covered every subject over the course of two days to make sure every subject stayed fresh in my mind. By the end of the week I felt confident with most subjects and ready to face a week of exams.
This is the week I have been gearing up for over the entire of phase 2. The exam schedule was pretty good with two exams a day over the course of four days in total. Monday was Mass and Balance and Flight Planning, both of which went smoothly. Tuesday was Performance and Operational Procedures, Performance was tricky and I wasn’t feeling too confident when I left the exam room. Wednesday was Air Law and General Navigation and we finished the week with Radio Navigation on Thursday. After the final exam we were called in to a meeting with OAA’s centre manager – i will explain more about this later.
That evening we all went in to Oxford with some of our instructors – it was great to see everyone relaxed having finished all of our ground school exams… now we just had to wait foe our results!
On Friday i didn’t have to wait long for my results as they started coming through at 8.30am. Unfortunately i didn’t pass all of the exams… I failed Air Law which was the hardest exam. I passed everything else with an average of 86%. I phoned OAA immediately to discuss my results and was given the opportunity to resit the exam during my week of leave and therefore it will not delay my flight training.
After our exams we had a meeting with OAA’s centre manager to discuss a few issues that had arisen with our flight training. Due to unforeseen circumstances the flight training centre in Phoenix is experiencing severe delays to flight training and in order to relieve some of the pressure OAA have asked for 14 volunteers from my course to complete all of the flighting training in Oxford. I have therefore decided to complete my training in Oxford!
Next week is the first step of our flight training with Flight Safety training.