Week 10: The End of Ground School


RevisionAfter exactly 8 months of sitting in a classroom for 7 hours a day we have finally reached the end of phase 2 and more importantly the end of ground school! All that is left now is our week of EASA exams followed by a week of flight safety training then we are ready to fly out to Phoenix and actually start flying!

Although this week has been short (hence writing this on a Thursday) it has been quite intense. We have had our school finals, which are pretty much mock exams, which you have to pass to be submitted for the EASAs next month. The timetable was much more intense than it is in the EASA exams as we did all 7 subjects over 2 days instead of 4.
IMG_1386All in all the exams went smoothly and more than anything it was useful to see just how little time you have in some of the more involved exams like Gen Nav and Flight Planning. We received our results early Tuesday evening and I was pleasantly surprised to see I had passed them all with an 86% average! Knowing I had passed them all and wouldn’t need to re-sit meant I would enjoy our course night out much more.
That night we went into Kidlington for Tuesday night pizza and a ‘few’ drinks. After a few hours we thought it would be a good idea to go on a night out in Oxford – you don’t get to do that often during ground school! After a great night I got back to Langford Hall at 3am worrying about how fragile I would be for our final day on Wednesday.

BigglesIts tradition at OAA to dress up for your final day of ground school which, as you can see from the photo above, we all did pretty well! I was dressed as Biggles, a fictional pilot from the 1930’s. The costume came complete with hat, goggles and a scarf that actually flew when I stood outside in the wind.

We made sure that we really took the opportunity to thank all of the instructors that we have had teach us over the entire course. During lunch all 26 of us piled into the instructors office to give them cards and wine – I gave mine to Paul Hardie, the deputy chief ground instructor who taught us for parts of Flight Planning and Gen Nav and also really helped me out with the re-sits at the end of Phase 1.
AP360 - instructorsAll of the instructors really seemed to be touched by the gifts and I can imagine they had a great party once we left!

Today (Thursday) I am still in Oxford as I have to renew my medical later this afternoon then I’ll be heading back to London to start my 10 days of study leave!


AP360 Jump


Week 16 (2) – Leave

OAAAfter an intense few months this is the week I have been most excited about – a week off from my books! I had a week of leave after my EASA exams with AP358, however with the problems with my results it turned out to be anything but relaxing. This week was going to be much different!

Saturday was OAA’s 75th Anniversary and with it came a family day at Oxford Airport. This was a great opportunity for me to show Amy around the school – the more exciting parts like sims and aircraft rather than my stuffy classroom. It was a great day and the weather was beautiful. Its nice to see the school and students much more relaxed than I usually do day to day.

HomeSunday was a normal relaxing day, going for a walk and a nice dinner in the evening in Greenwich. The rest of the week I spent catching up with friends. Tuesday I was in Central London, again enjoying the sunshine in one of London’s (many) beer gardens. On Wednesday I continued catching up with friends with a trip to Regents Park – the trip even included a boat trip around the lake. On Thursday I drove up to Leeds for the day for a family visit. Its amazing how tiring 8 hours of driving can be in one day! On Thursday night I got back to London just in time for the incredible thunder storm that made front page news around the country. On Friday I picked Amy up from school and we headed down to Devon for Fred and Kat’s wedding.

A & P WeddingSaturday was wedding day so after a relaxed morning we headed to Torre Abbey in Torquay. We were warned of severe thunderstorms all day but luckily we had sun, sun and even more sun! The whole day was lovely, the ceremony was held it the Abbey and the reception was next door in an old barn (which Kat had made look stunning with the help of the West End). On Sunday we left Devon early in order for me to get back to London pack up all of my stuff and head back to Oxford for the start of Phase 2!

Week 14 (2) – Study Leave

Met AltimetryThis 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!

LondonOn 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!


London Skyline

Week 13 (2) – Phase 1 School Finals

This week was a big one, School Finals!

CloudsWhen I sat school finals with AP358 my results were good, which made the stakes even higher for these exams. I really wanted to make sure the results were at least similar to last time if not better.
The week went pretty smoothly, on Monday I had Instruments in the morning followed by Aircraft General Knowledge (Systems, Electrics and Engines) and in the afternoon I had Meteorology. On Tuesday I only had one exam, Principles of Flight. I found my confidence was much higher this time in all of the exams (except Met). Also all of the exams seemed much more like EASA standard than they did previously. Following our final exam our results were published and I achieved higher than my previous school finals in every subject (the finalised grades are still to be released as the school are looking at a few queries). Its a relief to have the exams done so that I now have 10 days to completely focus on my EASA exam prep ready for the first exam on July 7th.

Tonight (Friday) I am having a relaxing night – dinner and cinema, after a a whole day of Meteorology (including 3 hours of Altimetry!).


Week 14 – Study Leave 2

This week has been pretty dull in terms of writing a blog post so I’ll keep this one brief.

Me and AmyAfter last weeks school finals we were back on study leave this week preparing for our phase 1 EASA exams in week 15.  The weekend was nice and relaxed! On Saturday I spent the day with Amy trying not to think about studying before I returned to my books for a ‘light’ study session on Sunday. We went for a lovely walk through Oxleys woods to see the newly growing bluebells. In the evening we went for a nice dinner at the O2 in North Greenwich.


Bluebells I went back to Oxford late on Sunday night as we were timetabled for a day of debriefs on Monday. The debriefs were pretty straight forward and were useful to see the areas I need to concentrate on for the next set of exams (and my study leave). The rest of the week was similar to my last study leave; up at 7.30am and studying from 8.30am until 9.30pm. There is a lot more material to get through for the EASA exams so this week has been pretty intense. I have also gone through stages of feeling happy and confident with the exams and feeling like I am going to fail – I guess most people feel the same this close to such important exams. Fingers crossed for a successful week and then I can look forward to my well deserved week of leave!

Week 12 – Study Leave 1

Helicopter at OXFThis week has been very different to any week so far as I have spent most of it on study leave preparing for my school finals.

On Monday we still had four hours of Meteorology to complete so I went back to Oxford on Sunday night as usual, however this time Amy came with me! Th final few hours of Met was really useful. We had a different instructor also as our usual instructor was away on holiday. Having completed the subject and having a different way of explaining things really helped to firm up my knowledge. At the end of the four hours I felt like I was ready for study leave.
As we finished at lunch most of the course got together to go out for lunch. Amy joined us too which was lovely!

M4 SunsetThe rest of the week has been a very strict regime – Up at 7.30, go for a quick walk after breakfast, work from 09.00 – 21.00. This is the most motivated i have ever been whilst studying so hopefully it will pay off next week! As this weekend is a bank holiday Amy wanted to go to Devon to visit her parents so we left London late Thursday. It has been nice to have a change of scenery for a few days (although I am still studying most of the day so i get to see a different desk!). We will be heading back to London tomorrow (Sunday) evening so that i can have a few days (studying) at home before I go back to Oxford for my school finals!

The end of Phase 1 is in sight!