Wow, even just typing that title makes we think about how far I have come in just a couple of years! It was in November 2009 that I started at Oxford, and now I have gone from not knowing my HSI from my VSI to sitting in a classroom doing my A320 theoretical knowledge test! And that’s what I did today, or at least 6 out of the 8 sections. We have a few lessons of performance and mass & balance bits to sit through tomorrow before we are tested on those in the afternoon, then ground school is complete! It has been the most intense experience, the whole learning process is crammed in to an 8 day period, and the days have been very long indeed. We have often been staying at school until late in to the evening just to get the work done.
The system has been very good though. Most work is done by following computer based training (CBT) modules, backed up by self study and revision sessions with the excellent instructors here at Gatwick. The problem is the sheer volume of knowledge you have to process in this time, though today’s exams were a big success and all of us passed without a problem. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same story, and we can all start flying the sims at the end of the week. After a few days at home I am off to Heathrow with my flying partner to do the simulator phase, beginning with a late night/early hours session on Sunday. Having briefly visited one of the sims this week I am now hugely excited to make a start on what is an absolutely incredible aircraft.
Also a bit of good news with regards to a base; it seems I will be based at Gatwick! Most of the company’s training captains seem to be here so that is where a lot of people seem to be ending up. I still have quite a way to go though before I’ll be sitting on that flight deck, but it is becoming more a reality every day!
Finally, it was our Oxford graduation ceremony a couple of weekends ago which was absolutely fantastic. There were 5 or 6 courses sharing it so it was a huge event, set in a giant marquee at the front of Langford Halls. Our guest speaker was the Chief of Flight Operations (or something) at British Airways, and he presented all our course certificates and the awards. It was brilliant to see everyone again, and was nice to bring my life at Oxford to a nice conclusion just before I began this new adventure.