June; First Officer Fundamentals, Cross Country & Last Single Engine Flight

FullSizeRenderJune has been another productive month with me completing my Cross Country Qualifying flight, my final single engine progress test, my final solo flight and my last flight on the Cessna 182.

FullSizeRender-3My Cross Country Qualifying (CCQ) flight was pretty exciting and I had perfect weather for the flight. In the weeks leading up to the flight i had flown dual to quite a few airports which were all options for my flight. On the day of the flight we decided I should use Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green and Exeter’s my two land away airports. I also structured the flight to make sure that it was over 300nm – which is one of the criteria of the flight. IMG_2266The week previous to the flight I had flown to Exeter with my instructor, however we did the instrument approach whereas for my CCQ it would be a visual approach.
I departed Oxford to the west towards the Malvern Hills, then turned north towards Wolverhampton. This leg only took 20 mins so i didn’t stop for too long once I had landed. I needed to get my paperwork signed off so i did pay a quick visit to the tower. FullSizeRender-2After departing Wolverhampton I headed south towards Weymouth and then followed the coast to Exeter. I stopped in Exeter for lunch and again managed to fit in a visit to the tower. After a longer stop I took off from Exeter – just behind a Flybe Dash 8, and headed towards the east. This route took my over Glastonbury, alongside Bristol and finally over Newbury.

IMG_2229After my CCQ my flights were used to prepare for my PT4 which is an instrument flight. I took my PT4 last week and once again passed first time! As the flight was an instrument flight I didn’t get to look out of the window for any of it! We started with a standard instrument departure from Oxford and then a flew a small route tracking and intercepting NDB’s. We then did some partial panel flying (when I am only able to use the standby instruments), unusual attitude recoveries and stalling. We then returned to Oxford for the NDB 099 procedure for landing. This has probably been the most enjoyable progress test I have flown at Oxford and a very good introduction to what I will cover during the Instrument Rating. PT4 was also my last flight on the Cessna 182 and in the coming weeks I will be flying IMG_2331the Piper Seneca for the final 10 lessons before my CPL skills test.

Inbetween my CCQ and my PT4 I also had my last solo flight not only on the 182 or at Oxford but possibly ever! The flight needed to be 2 hours long and I wanted it to be a memorable flight so I chose my favourite route – down to the south coast. I few out over Abingdon and Newbury before flying over Goodwood (where I had my first ever flight). From Goodwood I few down to Brighton then along the coast to Hastings before returning to Oxford. It was a great flight and I will miss my solo adventures – although I don’t think my instructors will!

Over the past few weeks we have also been back in the classroom for First Officer Fundamentals – a course written by OAA to prepare us for the role of First Officer and getting that all important first job! FOF week normally takes place when everyone has a CPL and have just got back from Phoenix. Our course have now returned from the states so they decided to keep us together as a group.IMG_2277 The first week was Bucks week for our foundation degree and was based around the logistics of day to day operation which includes the role of a dispatcher. This was also the week we researched and presented our Air Crash Investigation report. My group were assigned the Eastern 212 crash, where a DC-9 crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina. The investigation concluded the crash was due to the pilots lack of altitude awareness and poor cockpit discipline.

IMG_2326The second week of FOF was all about the role of a First Officer and tips for applying and interviewing for jobs. This section of FOF happened over three days and each day was run by a different industry ‘expert’, two were First Officers for British Airways and the third was former cabin crew for Monarch – all three now conduct interviews for many airlines through OAA. I really enjoyed these three days and I look forward to putting it all onto practice towards the end of the year when the job hunt starts!

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Flight Safety Fundamentals

OAAOne 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.

IMG_1424Tuesday (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!).

IMG_1431Thursday 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!