“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!
Week 12 was our final week of Phase 1, which means next week (week 13) is our school finals.
When I was with AP358, week 12 was study leave to prepare for our school finals, however the school have now changed this so that class takes place all the way up until the end of week 12. Also, as the recent bank holidays fell during class time for AP360 we have been slightly further behind in the syllabus.
The school gave us Friday off as independent study which was really useful, if not a little stressful!
The rest of the week was finishing off the remaining subjects; Principles of Flight, Engines and Electrics. The rest of the time was spent doing revision. Revision sessions vary depending on the instructor. Some instructors ask you to bring questions to the class and they talk you through them. Other instructors start from the beginning of the subject and talk through the whole thing.
Personally I prefer the former….. certain areas are simple and don’t really need extra explanation, however i am incredibly grateful to have any revision session no matter what form it takes.
I drove back to London after class on Thursday, just on time to see England lose to Uruguay 2-1 and subesquently get knocked out of the World Cup after only 2 matches played!
The rest of the weekend (including Friday) has been given to revision. I have pretty much spent the whole time focusing on the Oxford question bank, which is much smaller than the Aviation Exam bank that I use to prepare for my EASA exams. The exam schedule for next week is pretty tough with 3 exams in a row on Monday (Instruments, AGK and Meteorology). The final exam, Principles of Flight, is on Tuesday on its own. I then have a day of debriefs on Wednesday before I head back to London for 11 days of study leave before my first EASA on July 7th. Lets hope the sun continues to shine!
This is the week we have been building unto for 3 months, School Finals!
The week began with with the final few days of study leave. Amy and I drove back from Devon on Sunday night (with me doing more studying in the car). Monday and Tuesday were both more of the same – studying! I needed to be back in Oxford on Wednesday to register with the CAA for my e-exams. I left London at 06.30 hoping to get through central London before the start of the congestion charge. The actual registration was very straight forward and only took half an hour. Following registration ‘I went back to Langford for some last minute revision.
Thursday was the first exam day. We had Instrumentation, Airframe Systems and Meteorology. The first two exams went really well, however i didn’t feel very confident with Meteorology. That night I did some final prep for Fridays exams. After Meteorology I wasn’t feeling very confident with the last few exams, which made Thursday evening go very slowly.
On Friday we had Human Performance, Principles of Flight and Comms (VFR & IFR). I left Principles of Flight feeling unconfident again. We have heard from other courses that Met and PoF are the two hardest exams so its no surprise I didn’t feel too confident.
After a short wait we were given our results:
- Airframe Systems – 81%
- Meteorology – 75%
- Instruments – 95%
- Human Performance – 82%
- Principles of Flight – 70%
- VFR Comms – 75%
- IFR Comms – 88%
This gave me an average of 82%. I am really happy with these grades and I now know exactly where to focus for my EASA exams in week 15. I am now on study leave again for the next week.
We are now firmly into the second half of phase 1 and becoming closer to the dreaded EASA exams. After last weeks exams and a relatively relaxing weekend, this week returned to the usual high quantity of work in a small amount of time. We also started 2 ‘new’ subjects this week; Gas Turbine Engines and AC Electrics.
Gas turbines seem much more relevant to my career as these (jet engines) are found on most modern air transport aircraft. The engines are very similar to a turbine engine therefore, so far, quite a lot of the theory is transferable. AC Electrics is also pretty straight forward, although it appears aircraft use AC electricity much more than DC, so I am expecting it to be a bit more complex.
In Meteorology we moved on to look at Clouds, Precipitation and Thunder Storms. Again this seems much more relevant as these are all real dangers facing all airline pilots. In Airframes we looked at pressurisation and air conditioning. In Instruments we moved onto Gyro Navigational Instruments, which I actually found really interesting – I know, I’m a geek! In Human Performance we looked at sleep, which now justifies me having a lie in every weekend! Finally, in Principles of Flight we looked at flight mechanics.
I decided to use my evenings this week to start going through questions in preparation for my EASA exams and therefore had little time to socialise outside of the classroom. I did manage to enjoy the improving weather on a few evenings, walking into Kidlington before settling down with my books for the evening. On Thursday we had our course photo taken, in the fog (see above). Unfortunately there are a few problems with the picture so we are hoping to have it retaken this week with better weather!
Dominating most conversations this week has been the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines, Boeing 777, flight MH370. I keep being asked for my opinion on what I think happened and every time I say the same thing. Until the aircraft has been found and the flight data analysed it is impossible to say what happened. Right now there are many theories and speculations circulating about what happened but currently they are nothing more than a theory. Hopefully in the coming weeks we will know more, however as with the Air France crash (447) it could take years before we truly know what happened.