Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Phase 2 is going way too fast!

In week 4 of phase 2 (much sooner than with phase 1 and we had 2 weeks off at Christmas) we began our Test 2s! I'm now about to start week 6 and still have Ops to do but so far I've passed all of them and have an 86% average. My worst mark was in Flight Planning (79%) but I felt it was more because of the length and time of the exam as oppose to my actual ability. Flight Planning is a subject where there are a lot of different sections and calculations to do, as well as using the graphs in the CAP. During the 2 hours exam going over and over different graphs was rather tedious and a few of the mistakes I made were silly ones. Oh well, that’s what de-briefs are for, I find them really helpful and now I'm just hoping I can improve a little between now and school finals.

The mark I was most disappointed with was Radio Nav, I got 83% but expected higher as I thought the test went really well and that I knew most of it. Again it seemed to be silly mistakes and not reading the question properly. The instructors here have a saying they constantly remind us of: “RTFQ!” it stands for ‘Read The Full Question’ and it is so true. So many times do I think I know the answer without properly understanding what the question is asking for.

For G.Nav I needed to go out and get these special pens for use on the CRP-5. They’re the only ones which show up on the back AND are easily removed. I’d definitely recommend them, absolutely essential for working out crosswinds and drift.

(For those who are interested the CRP-5 is currently displaying a TAS (true airspeed) of 590kts and that with a heading of 360 degrees there is 5 degrees Right drift and a ground speed of 650kts. Swizzle the inner circle round so the little cross moves down to the 180 position and you are given wind direction of 224 degrees at 80 knots).

Another essential item I had to pick up would be those extendable pencils with the really thin lead. My normal HB pencil just wasn’t cutting it. Most of the graphs in the CAP have a really small scale but it’s important to get the numbers right so even the thickness of your lead can affect your answer.

We also started using the Jeppesen Manual that we were given way back on the first day. It contains loads of charts and maps and looks pretty cool. So far it doesn’t seem to be as complicated as it was at first glance; we’re using it in Flight Planning for finding aerodromes. Everyone recommended borrowing someone else’s to highlight the useful information which will save time looking for it in exams, it’s a really good idea. I just don’t particularly want to mark it as it looks so pristine at the moment.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Happy new year!

After the EASA phase 1s we had only the weekend off before starting straight back at the academy and into phase 2. Having only just done exams and it being just two weeks until Christmas we were less than enthusiastic about starting work again. It was also kind of sad how we have some new teachers, don’t get me wrong they’re all fantastic but we were used to our old phase 1 instructors and new instructors and new subjects took a little getting used to. Our System’s instructor covered one of the lessons and we cheered him back into the classroom again. Ground school is hard work but it has a pretty great atmosphere!

Here’s all of the phase 2 subjects

  • Air Law – Past students have warned me about this one, it’s a massive book and apparently quite tedious with loads of dates, facts and figures to remember. Gulp.
  • Flight Planning – I’m imagining this to be quite a tricky one. We use booklets called ‘CAPS’ containing tonnes of graphs and figures.
  • General Navigation – I taught Basic Nav. As a C.I. at Air Cadets, this is definitely a lot more advanced and there’s already too much maths and trigonometry involved. We also do a lot of work on the CRP-5 which is very clever once you learn how to use it.
  • Mass & Balance – By far the smallest book, so far it’s been fairly straight forward calculations for weight, CG position and moments.
  • Operational procedures – The human performance of Phase 2, there’s a lot of random bits of information to remember and very few pictures in the book L But on the plus side we have our class mentor as our instructor!
  • Performance – Principles of Flight part 2, I’m finding I actually understand most of it and we still have our PoF instructor.
  • Radio Navigation – Completely new to me, this is concerned with frequencies, ranges and navigation aids such as VOR & ILS. I’m finding it pretty difficult at the moment; it’s most similar to Instruments from phase 1. I think this is already my least favourite….

We’ve also had to start doing CBTs again however there was only two weeks of phase 2 before we broke up for two weeks off during the Christmas period. It was lovely being home, seeing friends and family and going to my cadet dining in night once more. We got a fair amount of snow (I live in Sheffield) though it only came on Boxing Day and not on Christmas. I also went to see the new Hobbit film in Imax which was incredible!

I took all of my books home and definitely intended on studying more than I did. However I found I needed a break and everyday just seemed to get filled up very quickly. This is dangerous as I can’t afford to forget weeks 1 and 2 when there’s talk of Test 2s in week 4!

AND, I got some awesome Ray-Ban aviators for Christmas though, I’m a real pilot now!