Friday, 25 June 2010

Phoenix at Last!

We have arrived in the glorious sunshine of Arizona! It was a long 10 and a half hour flight on Monday, followed by immigration and a bit of a drive from the airport but we made it in the end. The first thing you notice is the incredible heat, it was up to 45 degrees today which is DSC00226pretty unreal. It really takes your breath away every time you step outside, and I can only imagine that inside the planes is going to be very hot indeed! However, we are still yet to find out as unfortunately we  started in earnest on Tuesday morning with another week of Ground School! Just when we thought it was all over!

We have had quite a few briefings on procedures at the airport and the local area, and have just started moving on to dealing with the flying side of things. We are due to have our first lesson on Tuesday, though the schedules are not published yet so we will have to wait and see. We also had a big trip out to WalMart to pick up supplies, there are a number of barbecues on site so that is what we are living from at the moment. We also have a couple of swimming pools which we have madeDSC00233 great use of so far! And this evening we are heading out on our own to find a restaurant for dinner. We have a couple of cars for the course and it looks like I will be driving so we will see how that goes!

At the moment we are all pretty tired and suffering from jet lag so hopefully the weekend will sort us out and we can be full of energy ready to hit the ground running next week!

Also, nearly forgot to mention, our exam results came in:

  • Air Law – 97%
  • Mass & Balance – 100%
  • Performance – 97%
  • Flight Planning – 94%
  • General Navigation – 100%
  • Radio Navigation – 98%
  • Operational Procedures – 96%

Well, I did even better this time around and my overall average for the JAA exams was 96.3%. If somebody had told me that would be my score at the start of the course I never would have believed them! My hope now is that my flying lives up to that score!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Packing for America

Indeed, although we are still waiting for our results we have all been informed that everybody passed everything, therefore we will all be getting on that plane on Monday afternoon! After 7 long months of non-stop revision, it is time to pack those text books away (for now) and DSC00174 start getting my flight bag together. Gone are the pencil cases and calculators to be replaced by headsets and kneeboards.

It has been quite a busy week, half because of preparation though the other half has been fun. A few of us from the course went to Alton Towers on Monday which was great fun, and I got to experience the new ride Thirteen which was brilliant. That was followed up by a visit to London on Tuesday with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and a trip to see the Lion King. We also visited the London Dungeons on Wednesday morning which was an experience…

The rest of the week has been spent shopping for new clothes for the desert and getting a few of my documents together. Packing begins tomorrow and last minute preparations on Sunday. Then the whole family is coming to see me off on Monday. We fly on BA289 from Terminal 5 at Heathrow. It is due to leave at 1435 and arrive at Phoenix

Map picture
Sky Harbor at 1710 local time. That’s a 10 and a half hour flight! When we arrive it is an hour’s drive across town to Goodyear airport where we will be living and flying. I think we are treated to meal when we arrive and hopefully and early night, ready for a busy week!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ground School Defeated!

32047_10150187208645061_717080060_12828686_321663_nWow, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but… Ground School is over! After a long six months of hard work on top of more hard work I can finally put my books in the cupboard and regain some normality in my life. We celebrated in style yesterday with a big barbecue for our course and loads more, and then a night out in Oxford. And what have I done with my first day of freedom? Well, I spent most of it on the balcony outside my flat enjoying the sunshine with some of the guys from AP309 and 310. Really feeling the burn now though, I have a lot of sleep to catch up on and think some TV and an early night are in order for tonight!

As for the exams, I am pretty sure they all went well. We have to pass everything to be able to go out to Arizona; if any are failed then we are re-coursed. I don’t think I have failed anything, though I shall still be holding my breath until I get that phone call in about 10 days saying what the results are. In the mean time, we still have a few days left at school tying a few things up before we head home. We started Friday afternoon with a brief introduction to RT (radio-telecommunications) in 32047_10150187208780061_717080060_12828696_640570_nAmerica and some instructions on how to fill in our logbooks and check our scheduling. We also collected our standard issue headsets, though I won’t be taking mine to Arizona as I already have my own. However, it was a great symbol of our achievement and proof that we really are going to be heading out soon. Next week we have a few more odds and ends, plus a few days of lectures. As well as studying for our ATPL we are also studying for a Foundation Degree in Air Transport Management with Bucks New University. Ground School at Oxford makes up a large part of the credits for that, though we do have essays and presentations to do as well, and all this stuff starts to kick off next week as well.

We leave OAA at Oxford for the last time on Wednesday – then it’s back to Heyford to pack and on Thursday morning I’ll be heading home for a week and a half before we fly out on the 21st. I have a few things planned for my time off, but most of all I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my new found freedom! 

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Final Hurdle

That’s right, after a long week and a half of pure revision, our final set of JAA exams start this afternoon. I have been practically glued to my desk for the last 10 days or so, which has been a bit of a nightmare really. I am actually looking forward to these exams really, as it will be nice to get in to school and see everyone, and also I have done all the preparation I can, it’s time to get them out of the way. They really are the last hurdle on our path to Arizona, and as of Friday this week I will be one seriously chilled out person once again! Ground School has been fun but I wouldn’t do it again for any money!

Arizona is now only 3 weeks away…