Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Phase 2

I can’t believe we’ve already been back for a week and a half, and what is worse is that we are already counting down to the next set of exams! This phase is much shorter, as has been demonstrated by the pace at which we having been going from the start. Although it

Map picture
was great to get back to classes after a couple of weeks of rest, the novelty soon wore off and I am reminded of the hard work that is involved in getting through Ground School.

The subjects range from the actually quite interesting, such as Flight Planning and Operational Procedures, to the tediously boring, such as Aircraft Performance and Air Law. Performance actually just feels like an extension of Principles of Flight, which was probably my least favourite subject from Phase 1, so it’s a bit frustrating to be seeing it all over again! Most subjects are a lot more practical, and we have been able to get our heads out of text Ba289_taxibooks an in to maps, charts and performance graphs etc. We already seem to be making healthy progress through the books, and will be half way through when we sit our Test 2s on the 19th and 20th of April.

Time seems to be flying, and it also feels like we can start to count down to Phoenix a bit more now. Our plane tickets have been booked  on BA289 for the 21st June, and we have started our Visa applications. We have to make a formal visit to the US Embassy next month for them to be processed. All of which are good signs that the date is getting closer, however I must try my best to keep my eyes firmly fixed on Ground School for now!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Upper Heyford

DSC00023Here it is, the place I’ve been living since November! My flat is on the  second floor and is the one on the end on the left. Doesn’t look too bad in the sunlight, though it’s a bit more gloomy in the middle of winter!

Also, here’s a photo of the old ‘Skyking’ cinema from the US military days. It’s just one of the many DSC00021old buildings that give Upper Heyford it’s unique charm! There’s a memorial website with a lot of information and many more photos at this address http://www.raf-upper-heyford.org/.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Back to Oxford

After an enjoyable couple of weeks away from text books and online question banks, I arrived back at Upper Heyford today to prepare myself for Phase 2 of Ground School! It feels strange saying that I will be going in to Phase 2 when it only feels like yesterday that I got here, though it is in reality 4 months ago. Another new class starts tomorrow, they will be the fourth to have started since we arrived. It’s a great feeling as the next big milestone for us is Arizona now, and I’m already counting down the days, 95 by my reckoning!

I also popped in to the school today to collect my results for our Phase 1 JAAs, and here they are:

  • Principles of Flight – 95%
  • Airframes/Systems/Powerplant – 93%
  • Instruments/Electronics – 94%
  • Meteorology – 97%
  • Human Performance & Limitations – 97%
  • VFR Communications – 100%
  • IFR Communications – 91%

That means I have an average of 95% for Phase 1 which I’m very pleased with. My only slight disappointment would be IFR Comms, as it was a relatively easy exam and I was aiming for 100%, but at the same time 97% in Met is a surprise, and so I guess these things just balance each other out. Anyway, the overall result is a good one; the task now is to keep the momentum going into Phase 2 and keep that average where it is.

We pick up seven new subjects going in to Phase 2 which are as follows:

  • Mass & Balance
  • Performance
  • Operational Procedures
  • Flight Planning & Monitoring
  • General Navigation
  • Radio Navigation
  • Air Law & ATC Procedures

IMG00122-20100318-2043It looks like there’s going to be a lot more maths involved with some of these subjects as they tend to revolve around flight planning, and performance calculations. However, everything should be a lot more practical and relevant to what we’re going to be doing in the cockpit so fingers crossed it may be a bit more interesting! I’ve attached a couple of photos of the books that we’re going to be using, including a close up of some charts from the Jeppesen  Student Pilot Airway Manual. Can’t wait to decipher those!

IMG00124-20100318-2046Finally, it has been really nice to have a break from the hard work of Ground School. Most of my time has been spent relaxing with the simple pleasures of the TV or even my XBox which has been in storage since I moved to Oxford. I also got down to Swansea last weekend and saw a few friends which was great, and then got back on Monday which was my birthday. Although I spent most of the day driving, we went for a nice family meal in the evening, and it was nice to see everyone, especially people I haven’t seen for a long while.

Monday, 8 March 2010

London, Carrow Road & Duxford

It’s been a busy few days since we finished our exams, though for once it’s been because I’m having fun rather than doing work. Thursday night was party night as a few of the boys headed off to London for a night of celebrations. Thomas and I caught the megabus which was about an hour and a half’s journey, but was cheap and took us straight to thIMG00030-20100304-2252e centre of town. Without saying too much, we visited a few bars and a few clubs and a great night was had by all! Although I did completely forget  the tubes stop running at midnight so me and Thomas had to walk to Victoria (going past a deserted Buckingham Palace). We managed to just about find the bus and run for it, and arrived back in Heyford at around 4 in the morning. Out of bed then at 8 for the journey back home, and a nice dinner at my sister’s in Norwich.

I then made my first trip in a good few years to Carrow Road on Saturday to watch Norwich take on Yeovil, and absolutely hammer them on the pitch! Honestly, I’ve never seen such a one sided game of  football, our keeper only had one shot to save the whole game and we managed toIMG00057-20100306-1506 stroll to a 3-0 victory. Not only that, but Dee, my sister’s fiancĂ©e, bumped straight in to Delia Smith and her husband as soon as we entered the ground! It was a great day altogether, finished off with a meal at Chiquito and a Sunday of Playstation 3 at Holly and Dee’s house.

Then today, me and a few of the guys from AP308 headed out to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford to have a look at the huge selection of historic aircraft they have on display. As well as sights of the de Havilland Comet, the Vulcan, the Viscount, the Shackleton and the flying Fortress, we were able to climb on board Concorde 101. It was amazing to see such an important and captivating piece of aviation history, and having a looIMG00089-20100308-1218k around inside was something I never thought I would be able to do. We also got a  great view of the cockpit. It was a great day, and we were even able to relate some of our newly discovered aviation knowledge to what we saw!

Perhaps a few quiet days now before I head off to Swansea on Friday for a week of fun!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

One Step Closer…

…to Arizona! As of 1 o’clock this afternoon I’m a free man for two whole weeks! The last of our exams were today which means we have completed 7 of the 14 required, assuming that we pass of course. It’s a nervous wait for our results now which we won’t get for a couple of weeks, but I am feeling pretty confident about everything so I won’t worry myself too much. It would be great to score in the 90s like I did for my school exams, but I know I made mistakes here and there, so we’ll just have to see. Anyway, there’s nothing I can do about it now! It’s a very strange feeling not to have any work to do as it’s all I’ve known for the last few months, and it’ll be hard at first to shake off that feeling of guilt when I think I should be doing work!

The best feeling is knowing that when we come back to Oxford on 22nd March we will be students in Phase 2, and from that date it’s almost exactly 3 months until we are on a plane off to the States. In fact, it’s pretty much 3 months from today that we’ll be finishing our second lot of JAAs! I really hope these next couple of weeks go quickly as I’m already eager to get started on our next subjects!

To celebrate the end of our exams a few of us are off out to London tonight, which will be great fun although I will be catching the bus back to Oxford at about 3 o’clock in the morning so I expect to be a zombie for most of tomorrow! I have plenty of time to recover though, and I really am going to make the most of these two weeks of freedom!