Week 8: Point of Equal Time, Point of Safe Return & Elbow

Met AltimetryAnother week done and another step closer to exams! This week has been pretty intense as we charge towards the end of phase 2. Over the week we finished all but one subject with only revision left before we sit our school finals. Once again the workload stepped up a notch this week and I have started to feel more and more tired as the week progressed – looking forward to a week off in 5 weeks time!

This week in Performance we finished looking at the specific performance aspects of the medium range jet, focusing on the descent and landing stages. In Gen Nav we have mainly been doing revision with a practice exam paper thrown in on Thursday. The content of the Gen Nav exam is pretty straight forward (as long as you know the techniques), the difficulty is in answering all of the questions in the allocated time! In Radio Nav we studied GPS, which was the final segment of the syllabus.
ELO1In Law we did 5 practice papers, which is really useful as you get to see which questions appear regularly. In Flight Planning we finished the flight plan and also looked at point of equal time and point of safe return. Both PET and PSR seem difficult at first but with a bit of practice are actually straight forward. In Mass and Balance we looked at the load sheet which is probably the most relevant part of the subject and the piece of paperwork ill be using everyday of my flying career. As we have finished everything (except for a few hours of Mass and Balance) we were hoping for some study leave next week, however the school have scheduled us for a full week – 7 hours a day!

Elbow iTunes FestivalOn Friday night I won tickets to go and see Elbow perform at the Camden Roundhouse as part of the iTunes festival. They were incredible! The band were supported by Nick Mulvey, who I wasn’t as familiar with, but he was also brilliant. The whole evening was a great way to keep my mind off of the looming exams and have a well deserved evening off!

Elbow iTunes FestivalThe rest of the weekend is revolving around work… today (Saturday) I have concentrated on Performance, Gen Nav and Law and tomorrow ill be working on Radio Nav and a bit more Gen Nav. Only one week of teaching to go!photo 2

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Week 7: Time, Cargo & Flight Plan

MRJT PerfAnother week of living the dream is complete! I have reached a point in the training where I have well and truly ‘hit the wall’ and I have to remind myself why I am putting myself through the ground school training. When I think of how many people (me included) have a childhood dream of becoming a pilot and then think of the pain we are going through at the moment, studying over 12 hours a day and constantly having new material thrown at us, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Although it is difficult the light is starting to appear…. with only 2 weeks left of ground school teaching, 4 weeks until our EASA exams and only 7 weeks until we fly to Phoenix to start the exciting parts of the training!

MAN ApproachDuring the week we also finished a few subjects, which is quite scary because it means we are close to exams! We finished Air Law and started to look at a few past exam papers… putting the whole syllabus in perspective. In Gen Nav we finished looking at time and time zone calculations, which was the final chapter of the syllabus! In Ops we finished looking at special procedures which includes bird strikes, security and ditching – again this brought us to the end of the syllabus. In flight planning we finished the charts section of the Jeppesen, which now only leaves us with flight plans and a few little bits before we finish. In Performance we continued looking at the specifics of the jet transport aircraft, in particular the take-off and climb segments of flight. In mass and balance we looked at cargo loading and how this can affect the aerodynamics of the aircraft.

Ground School LessonOutside of class the workload has ramped up again and I have created myself a revision schedule to focus my attention each evening and make sure each subject is given the time it needs.

Next week is the penultimate week of classroom studies before things are going to get a bit more exciting!

Week 6 – Visa, Grid & Muchen

ED6 HighlightThis week was probably the shortest week I have had whilst studying at OAA, Monday was a bank holiday and Friday was our Visa trip to London. I would have thought with only 3 days in school the week would seem a little less intense, but I was very wrong! The school didn’t schedule us for Air Law, Ops or Mass and Balance which are the easier subjects and therefore we ended up having the 4 difficult subjects (Radio Nav, Gen Nav, Performance and Flight Planning) every day. We Also covered a massive amount in each of the subjects in a very short time.

ELO1In Gen Nav we finished looking at the polar charts and moved on to grid navigation. Grid is the final part of the ‘charts’ section of the syllabus which feels like a massive chunk of the course. We also started looking at time, which for a pilot flying round the world is quite important. In Radio Nav we finished the work on radar and moved onto DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) which is a radio aid that uses the same principles as radar. We also moved onto the FMS (Flight Management System) which we have already studied in Instruments during Phase 1. In Flight Planning we began to work our way through the Jeppesen, starting with charts. Ultimately this is very simple, however in an exam situation I can imagine finding locations on a massive map will be time consuming. Finally in Performance we finished working our way through the MEP (Multi-Engine Piston) sections of the CAP, which now leaves us with the MRJT (Medium Range Jet Transport Aeroplane).

US Embassy LondonFriday was my visa interview so I drove back to London on Thursday night. My appointment was at 9.30am so a nice easy start to the day with a typical London commute on the tube. The interview was pretty straight forward – I was only asked one question then told my application had been accepted and I will receive the visa next week. I then headed back home and decided to go shopping! The rest of the weekend was centred around studying, with the exception of going in to London on Sunday afternoon for a friends engagement drinks – you know you’re getting older when you have lots of weddings/engagement drinks happening regularly! Next week is looking pretty intense with full 7 hour days most of the week… Only 3 weeks of ground school left!

London Skyline

Week 4 – Mercator, Landing & More Law

PoF HomeworkWe are only 4 weeks into Phase 2 and the exams have started! This week we had Test 2’s (progress tests) in both Radio Nav and Law. Although it is important to perform well in these test they are actually used as an indicator of what you need to focus on going forward. Also, for certain exams, it give you a good indication of how the questions and presented in the EASA exams and how accurate you need to be with calculations and the (many) graphs. Both exams went smoothly and I am performing exactly how I want to be in both subjects but with room for improvement.

Radio Navigation VORThe rest of the week was either continuing the syllabus or going over what we have covered so far in revision sessions. In Gen Nav we looked at the Mercator Chart, which is one of four charts we look at. This includes looking at how the chart is constructed, its scale and basic navigation techniques. In Performance we finished the general principles section of the course, looking specifically at landing. This included looking at factors that effect the lading such as weather, runway surface and runway contamination (i.e. water!). In Mass and Balance we looked at the legal side of the subject, which includes the laws on how much luggage you can take on board and how you determine the weight of passengers. In Flight Planning we finished the MRJT section of the CAP, looking at non-standard flying, including with an engine inoperative or with the landing gear in place.We didn’t cover anything new in Law or Radio Nav due the exam and the debrief that follows.

Jazz FestivalThis week I was a little bit more sociable then i have been over previous weeks; on Wednesday I went up to Upper Heyford for a game of Tennis and on Thursday I went to Newbury to see Fred and Kat fresh from honeymoon!
The weekend was full of revision, however i did manage to take Saturday evening off and me and Amy went to the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival and had a nice dinner out.

Next week I have another 4 test 2’s including Gen Nav, Flight Planning, Ops and Mass and Balance…. the fun doesn’t stop at OAA!

Week 3 – Convergence, MRJT & MLS

CRP-5 Wind CalculationAnother week down and we are now a 3rd of the way through phase 2 and only 2 months away from our next round of EASA exams.

I must also apologise for how late this post is coming…. As I’ve pointed out (quite a few times) Phase 2 is incredibly intense and I have found myself running out of time most evenings.

This week was an intense as the last two weeks  with us starting something new in almost every lesson. It is also starting to become evident just how much extra work needs to be done outside of normal lessons to stay on top of the material – its more than for Phase 1!

CBTIn Gen Nav we looked at convergence, convergency angles and departure – all three of these topics would be much easier if the world was flat! In Air Law we started revision for our Test 2 which will follow next week. In Radio Nav we finished looking at ILS and moved on to MLS before squeezing in a few revision lessons. In Performance we continued to look at the basic principles, focusing on the en-route section of flight as well as the approach and landing. In Flight Planning we continued to use our CAP but now with reference to the MRJT (medium range jet transport aircraft – based on the Boeing 737), which is very similar to the work we have done previously with a lot more variables. In Ops we continued to look at the rules for the general day to day running of an airline.

Name badgeOutside of my classroom teaching this week was very uneventful. With Test 2’s around the corner I have been focused on studying rather than having fun – the fun is on hold until November in Phoenix! Next week we will be having our first two tests, Radio Nav and Air Law so fingers crossed they will be ok!