Week 1: Oxford 47, Cleared for Take-Off

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.

— Mark Twain

When I started at OAA all I could think about was what it would be like to actually start flying…. this week I found out exactly how that felt. We have now started the next chapter of our ATPL training – Foundation Flight Training.
As I have previously posted I am going to be doing my foundation flight training in Oxford rather than Phoenix so my experiences will be very different to the normal OAA ATPL course.

G-MPLCWe started on Monday morning with a quick introduction to the course and an introduction to the instructors. As OAA don’t usually do foundation flight training in the UK we are being paired with the MPL instructors (usually assigned to the easyJet sponsored cadets). There are 5 instructors in total so we have been split into groups of three and each assigned an instructor. I am paired with Marcus and Lily and our instructor is called Jamie. Next we went through some basic pre-flight paperwork, which includes checking weather & NOTAM’s and filling in all relevant paperwork (including mass & balance, performance and booking forms). After lunch we collected our SOP’s and checklists for the Cessna 182 and went out to the aircraft to talk through how to perform an A-Check. The A-Check is the first check of the day and therefore is much more thorough than any other check carried out on the aircraft. The check includes oil, fuel and tire pressures as well as a detailed look at the entire outside of the aircraft including the control surfaces and lights.

Pilot PaulTuesday was an early start (7.30am) to make sure we could fit everything in that we needed to. We started the day with a briefing for AP1 (all flight lessons are number starting with AP1 and finishes with AP78), which is ‘Familiarisation and Effects of Controls 1’. We walked out to the aircraft (G-MPLC) just before 8.30 for an A-Check and we began our taxi at 8:50. Once airborne we looked at each flight control in sequence and how to hold the datum altitude. We landed back in Oxford at 10:05 and after a quick debrief we were ready for the next person to fly. I was in the backseat of the aircraft for the second flight of the day and then had the rest of the day to read up on my SOP’s.

Garmin 1000Wednesday was a bad weather day so we didn’t actually fly. We used the day to go over the Garmin 1000 on a simulator and talk over more paperwork and the local map. We finished the day with a brief of AP2 which was scheduled for Thursday.

The weather was still not great on Thursday morning so we had to delay our early flight until the afternoon. We used the morning to go over more paperwork and practicing our SOP’s in the Garmin sim. I ended up taxiing at 14:40 for AP2 – ‘Effects of Controls 2’. This lesson we looked at the effects of changing power and configuration on the aircraft attitude and how to hold the datum whilst making these changes.

Week 1 LogbookFriday I flew AP3 – ‘Straight and Level 1’ in G-MPLC. This lesson was all about using the altimeter alongside the datum to keep the aircraft straight and flying at a constant altitude. By the end of the week I was also performing all preflight checks, taxiing the aircraft to the active runway and starting (with difficultly) to make the radio calls to air traffic control.

I have this weekend off so I am looking forward to having some time to myself without having to worry about doing work! Next week I am scheduled for AP4 on Monday afternoon!

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