Class 1, Class 2 or LAPL Medical

CAA Gatwick
UK CAA Building, unfortunately they no longer provide medicals.

When it comes to flight training in the UK at least there are 3 types of medicals that you can which are a Class 1, Class 2 or LAPL Medical.
The medical you need to choose depends on what your goals are with your flying. In this post I will go through all the medicals to make sure that you pick the correct medical for the type of flying that you wish to do.

Class 1 Medical

  • Needed to train for a CPL or ATPL
  • Done at an AeMC (Aeromedical Centre).
  • Also provides a class 2 medical.
  • Valid for 12 months unless you are over 40 and carry out single pilot operations or if you are over 60 in both cases it would be valid for 6 months
  • You can read about my initial class 1 medical at CAA Gatwick.

 

Class 2 Medical

  • Needed to train for a PPL
  • Done with an AME (Aeromedical Examiner) rather than at a medical centre.
  • Less strict than your Class 1 medical
  • Valid for 60 months if you are under 40 years old, 24 months if you are 40-49 years old and 12 months if you are 50 or over.

 

LAPL Medical

  • Needed to train for the LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot Licence)
  • Done by your GP or an AME
  • Valid for 60 months if you are under 40 and 24 months if you are over 40

 

So you have three medicals to choose from for your flight training. I see a few people get their class 2 medical because they are doing their PPL but they have plans to fly commercially so they should really get their class 1.
The reason for this is because your class 1 also provides you with a class 2 medical, and more importantly if you cannot obtain a class 1 medical then you cannot fly commercially. So if your only goal is to fly for the airlines, you will never be able to achieve it until you can hold a class 1 medical. I hope this has helped you pick which medical you need to achieve your goal.



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Tips for getting your PPL licence

Now that I have finished my PPL training I thought I would put together some tips for getting your PPL licence.
G-BMVB 030516
I remember clearly the first day I turned up to the airfield excited about what I was about to embark on. However throughout my time I picked up some tips that will help you when you are doing your licence.

  1. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing – I found that when I was at the school, I was looking at everyone else’s progress and then judging myself by it. “Oh that guy has gone solo in 12 hours I’m at 14, I must not be doing as good”
    Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, worry about what you are doing! If you go solo in 10, 15, 20, or 25 hours it really doesn’t matter. Everybody learns at a different rate and you will hit your milestones when you are ready.
    Furthermore you do not know everything about that person, they may have a background in aviation, be flying more often than you etc.
    Just take your time and focus on what you need to do.
  2. If you don’t like your instructor / school then change them / it! – I am lucky that my school and instructor(s) were all great! However if you are not getting on with where you are, then go somewhere else. This is your training and you have to be fully happy!
  3. Fly as often as you can – You will learn faster and pick things up if you are flying consistently, I would say you should fly at a minimum 2 times a week and ideally more if you can afford it.
  4. Get your medical early – After your first few lessons once you have decided it is something you want to do get your medical sorted out! Make sure you get a class 1 if you have any intentions of going commercial just so you know that you can get it.
  5. Hit the books – You need your air law exam done before you can fly solo so that is the first thing you should be studying. I personally think as soon as you sign up you should be studying for your exams, you will need them all done to send of for your licence.
  6. Make notes – Make sure that when you are told something you make notes, this will be good when you need to reference it later in your training.
  7. Chair fly / practice There is nothing wrong with practising at home in a chair as if you are in a plane. On top of this use any resources you can find online such as blogs (hint: this one), forums & YouTube.
  8. Don’t pay up front – Never, ever, ever, ever pay for an entire course up front. If you choose to ignore this advice then make sure you pay on a credit card.
  9. Don’t be afraid to speak up – If you are not happy with something or have forgotten, tell your instructor so he can go back over it with you. If you do not understand something then ask! I guarantee he would rather you ask then pretend you understand.
  10. Commit – I was working full-time and spent EVERY weekend at the airfield. It was a full on 7 months but I feel it helped to consolidate my learning.
  11. A cancelled lesson doesn’t mean a day off – Use the time wisely, study, go over manoeuvres, prepare for the next lesson.
  12. Network – Speak to the other students, they are going through the same thing as you and can understand more than anyone else your issues.
  13. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need – I am not a fan of the starter kits you get, especially if you are planning to go commercial. For instance why buy a kit with a CRP 1 when for your ATPL’s you need a CRP 5?
    Why buy a fuel tester and measure when you are renting the plane? Furthermore look for bargains, eBay and Amazon Marketplace saved me quite a few quid.

I hope this has helped and that you find these tips for getting your PPL licence useful!

Sacrifices during flight training

There will be a lot of sacrifices during flight training. This is a huge commitment that will stretch most people’s finances like they have never been stretched before. The sacrifices that need to be made are not just financial but will also stretch across your social life.

Coming into land

  1. Social Life – Your social life will take a hit and a lot of time will be spent at the airfield or with your head in books studying. You will have to pass on social events with friends and family and / or make sacrifices when you do go. For instance, I can count the amount of times I have gone out at the weekend with friends in 2016 on one hand. One of the reasons is as I work Monday-Friday, I fly Saturday and Sunday’s.
    Obviously you cannot drink and fly and alcohol effects performance so having a drink during my PPL was basically a no go, I would have had to take a weekend off which I do not want to do. On top of this I don’t really want to drink as flying is more important to me.
    On top of this there is a LOT of study you will have to do. In the PPL (private pilots licence) you need to study and pass 9 written exams and in the ATPL (Air Transport Pilot Licence) you must study and pass 14 which are even more difficult! They say the ATPL’s are an estimated 650 hours of study. On top of this there is a LOT of information to take in, so you really want to be on top of your game for this.
  2. Finances – Unless you are well off, your finances will be stretched to the limit. Even modular flight training will cost you the best part of £35,000+ so other things need to be put on the back burner. Things like new cars, holidays, expensive gadgets & even new clothes become a lot less important during this time.
    My advice is do not start on a whim, if you are going modular then make sure you have enough money to at least complete your PPL before you even start training.
  3. Time – Finding the time to study and fly is hard. Lunch breaks, before work, after work, your commute and especially your weekend all becomes study time.

If you commit to pilot training, be prepared to commit fully. It is not something that you can go into lightly, if you are not willing to make the sacrifices and are not willing to give it your all you will not succeed. This will take at least 18 months of your life as a bare minimum and could even take a few years. However in my opinion the sacrifices during flight training are well worth it as you get a sense of achievement when you tick off each stage of your training.

On a sad note, an Egypt Air A320 has gone missing this morning, my prayers for all on board.

Les Brown – It’s not over until you win

I am a big fan of motivational speeches and I find they really help and resonate deeply with me when I am working towards a goal in my life.
Today I wanted to share Les Brown – It’s not over until you win.
Les Brown is an American motivation speaker and in this speech he goes over some key points that really strike a chord with me .

  1. Someone’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become a reality – I like this message as it says that no matter what people want to label you as, doesn’t mean it is true. That is THEIR opinion of you which they are entitled to of course, but it doesn’t make it true.
  2. Someone who believes in you, can change your life – In Les’s case it was a high school teacher who had the belief in him and in term made him believe in himself. You come across people in your life who will inspire you and motivate you to do better.
  3. It ain’t over until you win – Les is telling you not to give up, keep working towards your goal.
  4. You are already doing something most people are not – Just by chasing your goal and working towards it you are already doing something that a lot of people do not do. How many people do you know who are unhappy with their job, or want to do something, but are doing nothing to work towards it?
  5. Don’t stop running towards your dream – You WILL get there eventually, you will overcome the issues you are facing, hard times are not here to stay and things will get better if you just keep working.

I hope you enjoy this speech as much as I do.

Whatever your goal is, keep working, you will get there.

The true cost of a PPL in the UK

There are a lot of variables that come into PPL training and a lot of things that you need to take into consideration before you decide to take the plunge. In this post I will go through the true cost of a PPL in the UK.
the true cost of ppl

So as you can see the total cost of my PPL was £10,067.23. Now this was a PPL taken with the intention of going commercial. So I did things such as get my class 1 medical and purchased a CRP 5 over a CRP 1, however these didn’t add a massive amount more onto the cost, maybe £250. You could also say my camera isn’t needed but that will only save you another £90.
My advise to you is to save the FULL cost of your PPL before starting (if you can), there are a few reasons for this.

  1. You learn faster is you can fly consistently. Once my class 1 was issued I was flying every weekend between 2 and 5 hours at a time. I could only fly at weekends due to work commitments midweek.
  2. Should you lose your job or something similar, you don’t want to stop training. By the time you go back to it you will be going over things you have already learned trying to remember how to do it.

As I mentioned before I got my class 1 medical before starting training. If you have any plans to go commercial I suggest you do this before parting with all this cash. If you cannot get your class 1 medical then you have no chance of being able to fly for an airline. The medical rules for a class 2 are less stringent so you may be able to be issued a class 2 which will allow you to get your PPL.
The second thing I say is to make savings where you can, for instance, don’t buy a CRP 1 because once you get to your ATPL’s you will need a CRP 5, so just buy the CRP 5 in the first place. Also try not to pay full price if you don’t have to, eBay and Amazon marketplace are great sources of both new and used products at a lower price than you will find them in the shop.
To sum it up, look at the TOTAL cost of your PPL before signing up, it is no good just looking at the cost of lessons when there are so many other things you have to consider. When I was training at my ATC controlled airport the cost of a lesson was £170 but all fees were included. Make sure you do not have to pay for circuits or landings as if you do, the lower fee could rise dramatically as you spend quite a long time in the circuit. The only landing fees I had were on my practice cross-country qualifier and then on the real thing.
Once you have your budget and your medical then commit to it and most importantly enjoy it!

ATPL Ground School – Bristol vs CATS

I am now choosing my ATPL Ground School – Bristol vs CATS. This is a real big step in my training as the ATPL’s are 14 exams covering everything that a pilot needs to know and they are a huge undertaking with an estimated 650 hours of self study. This will take anywhere from 9 – 18 months on top of my day job.
Navigation planning
As I need to keep working the only real choice for me is distance learning and I have picked these two for reasons I will explain below. There are of course others, but these are the two that work best for me.
First things first I need to do a pros and con for the two schools.

 

Bristol Ground School Pros

 

  1. Wings Alliance member – Bristol Ground School is a member of the newly formed Wings Alliance which is a modular alliance of schools that have come together with a goal of placing students with airlines. Getting your first job is very hard so this is a very promising thing for me.
  2. Excellent reviews – I haven’t heard a single person have a bad word to say about Bristol, in fact every single person I have spoken to has had nothing but good things to say about them and have actively recommended I choose them.
  3. Question bank – While anybody can subscribe to the question bank, the course comes with a one year subscription.
  4. Helpful – I emailed them a few months back and the lady who replied was informative and prompt, she answered all of my questions without any delay.
  5. Accelerator days – The course comes with accelerator days which allows you to get the help you need on any subjects that you are struggling with.
  6. Regular revision weeks – Bristol seem to run at least one brush up course for each module every month. This doesn’t leave you rushing to make a revision week if you do not feel ready yet. Also as I would need to book time of work to attend, having the flexibility is a huge plus.
  7. Offline Apps – There is an offline PC / OSX app as well as iPad apps available. You also get the licence to use it on two computers and one iPad.

 

Bristol Ground School Cons

 

  1. Distance – I live in Luton (the home of CATS) so Bristol is quite a distance from here.
  2. Additional costs – To attend the brush up weeks I have to drive to Bristol and get a hotel as well as pay for food. At CATS I could just stay at home.
  3. Price – The course at Bristol is more expensive than the standard course at CATS.

 

CATS Ground School Pros

 

  1. Distance – I live around 5 minutes from CATS by car, this is a huge plus.
  2. Price – The basic course at CATS is around £900 cheaper than Bristol Ground School.

 

CATS Ground School Cons

 

  1. Mixed reviews – I have spoken to a few former students and the feedback I have gotten is mixed. Some say it’s good, others were not as positive.
  2. Response – I sent them an email a few months ago, to this day I still have not gotten a reply, this is a major red flag for me. What if I am stuck and need urgent help?
  3. Not a wings alliance member – CATS are not a member of the newly formed Wings Alliance, this is another route to employment.
  4. Big Gaps between brush up weeks – The brush up seems to be structured for every 4 months providing you can start at a point that makes sense for this. Say I started my stage 1 next month and I made the November stage 1 brush up, should I not be ready for the next stage two in May, but say I was in June, I would then have to wait until August before the revision week is next run, that’s a lot of waiting.
  5. Online only PC app – This is all well and good when you are near an internet connection however what about when you are on a plane or a train? The only way to see it offline is on an Ipad. While I do have an iPad I don’t know how good the app is, I also have an iPad mini so not the biggest screen around.

So as you can see there are a lot of considerations to take into effect. The location of CATS is amazing for me and that will minimise any travel time and reduce any additional costs. The price is also excellent with the course without printed materials being just £1499.
Bristol have the great reviews as well as the staff being very helpful so far. I like that they are a member of the Wings Alliance as the school I plan to do my CPL / ME / IR are also a member of the alliance so that makes sense for me. I like the idea of the accelerator weeks so that if I get stuck, the help is there. I also like that they run the revision courses monthly.
On the negative side Bristol is on the other side of the country from me, the cost of the course is also more expensive than the CATS offering.
So, I have made my mind up, taking everything into consideration and looking at the bigger picture I have decided to choose Bristol Ground School.
My main reasons are the frequency of the revision weeks, how helpful the staff was via email (thanks Laura) and the accelerator weekends. Also I feel the Wings Alliance could be a really good route to employment by the time I finish.
So as soon as I get my license back from the CAA I will be signing up 🙂 ….now just the small matter of those 14 exams!

Interview with Tarik Merryface, Qualified Modular Pilot

Today we have an interview with Tarik Merryface, qualified modular pilot, but you may know him better as the man behind the YouTube channel Merryface Aviation.
Tarik has recently completed his CPL / ME / IR at Diamond flight academy in Sweden, so we took the time to catch up with him.

 

merryface aviation


What made you first take up flight training?
I used to play around with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 when I was a young teenager, so flying had always been in the back of my mind. One summer I got the opportunity to go do a week long glider holiday camp. I went to St Girons, a tiny airfield at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. I was sitting in the glider during my very first flight whilst the instructor flew round and round in circles, making the most of a thermal he’d found next to the airfield.
“Are you getting motion sick?” He asked me.
“Nope.” How could I be? I was having the time of my life.
“Well, maybe you should become a pilot!”
So I thought, why the hell not? In retrospect I’m pretty sure it was a light hearted joke, but that joke made me dream and today I’m completely hooked to aviation.

 

What route did you take for your training and can you explain your route?
I decided to go modular for my training. I did my PPL in France while I was at school. At the time I wanted to go down the integrated route, but my parents really wanted for me to go to university first. I’m glad that I did. For a good three years I was checking forums and flight school websites every day, scoping out the market. It gave me a much deeper understanding of flight training, the ongoing job situation, and how flight schools work.
I realised that the integrated route was actually a huge financial risk, despite some of its advantages at the time. I also saw the difference in cost, and the flexibility that the modular route allowed. I was able to do my ATPL ground-school while I was still at university thanks to Bristol’s distance learning. I then did my CPL MEIR, that’s the commercial, instrument and multi engine, at Diamond Flight Academy in Sweden. It was pretty awesome as we were flying the Da42, a fantastic aircraft that bridges the technologies of airline flight decks and the techniques used in general aviation. I then did the MCC and JOC at Simtech in Dublin. This was done in a generic 737 simulator and it was a heck of a lot of fun.

 

What part of your training did you find most challenging?
I think everyone else who has done it would agree that the toughest part when you’re a modular student is the ATPL theory, especially when you do it via distance learning. For me this was especially true because I did the ATPL theory when I was studying at University. Imagine trying to do all your university work whilst studying to pass 14 exams!  I had to study for two and a half years nonstop without any proper holidays. I’d wake up early every morning to do an hour or two of studying for the ATPL before continuing with my university life. And then when my university exams were over I didn’t get a holiday like my classmates, I’d have to start studying full time for the ATPL throughout the summer, before taking the exams at the end of the summer holidays. After I finished with those exams I’d have about three days before starting the next university year. There was no respite. It was mentally exhausting and it pushed me to my limits. It was tough and in a way I wish I had gone about it differently but I’m still glad for the experience. Although it was hard, I absolutely loved studying the ATPL stuff. With every new fact that I learned I felt more and more like a professional pilot. It kept me motivated when I was in university in any case.

 

What part did you find the most rewarding?
That’s a difficult one, because so much of flight training is achieving things you’ve never done before and getting that feeling of accomplishment. I think many people talk about their first solo, so I’ll go with something else. That would have to be the day I passed my MEIR skills test. I had completed the CPL skills test the day before and so I knew that the bulk of my training had finally paid off. It’s exhilarating, especially when you do intensive training like the one I did in Sweden. In the space of two months I went from being a VFR single engine pilot to flying a state of the art multiengine aircraft on instruments. I had also messed up on my very first hold as well, so I had been nervous throughout the entire flight. I recovered though and that’s what examiners want to see. We’re not immune to errors and the examiners don’t look for perfection, they look for corrective action whenever a mistake has been made. It was such an intense emotion it actually took me a couple of days to get a grasp on what I was feeling. I even made a video because of it, where I ramble on for a while. It was surprisingly well received for a poorly planned video.

 

What advice would you give to any one who is starting down this route?
That’s another tough one, because there are so many things I’d like to share with people starting their training. It’s one of the main purposes for my channel! I’ll only give a few general tips. First off, be patient. It’s a really complex world with several different regulations that contradict each other and are inconveniently vague or limiting. Take your time doing things and take a deep breath when dealing with the bureaucracy involved in aviation. It’s maddening. I for instance, have been waiting for over two months to convert my medical from one EASA country to another, despite being assured that it would only take two weeks to do. Things will get done, just don’t get angry and be proactive.
My second piece of advice is to do your research. Don’t jump at the first opportunity you get to start flight training. Flight schools, especially integrated flight schools, have mastered the art of marketing and to some extent, manipulation. They entrance you in ways that few other industries can. I’ve never seen anything like it. I did a selection for one of the major integrated flight schools, knowing that I wouldn’t be training with them, just for the experience. I can tell you that despite my research, my confidence in what I wanted to do for my own training, they were able to put me in a trance. They make everything sound so easy and perfect. It doesn’t mean that these schools are bad, it just means they’re businesses, and that’s how they make money. And they’re bloody good at it.
Two more pieces of advice. Be humble. Employers don’t care if you have a masters in aeronautical engineering from the university of Cambridge and a letter of recommendation from Bob Hoover if you’re cocky. If your attitude is wrong, you’re out. That’s especially true for low hour pilots. Understand that aviation is like medicine, it’s a lifelong learning process. If you don’t like learning, aviation isn’t for you. Always have the mentality of the student. Be confident in what you know, but also be willing to learn more and to accept that some of your fundamental beliefs might be wrong. Otherwise you’ll make a dangerous pilot, and nobody wants that.
My final piece of advice is to thoroughly investigate schools associated with the name Sheldon England. I’ll just leave it at that.

 

What is your favourite aircraft?
It all depends for what. In terms of nice and easy VFR flying and going out for a local flight, I’d have to go with the Piper Cub. It’s a beautifully simple aircraft to fly, yet devilishly tricky to fly well. It barely needs a checklist it’s so easy to fly, it’s slow, and you can open the door in flight, giving you excellent views. It epitomises the adventurous spirit of the old aviators. For flying more complex operations, I fell in love with the Da42. Again, it’s simple to fly, yet it has such an incredible range of functions. It feels right. It’s basically a giant glider with two engines attached to its wings and with state of the art avionics in the cockpit. I’m so glad I got to train in it.
My dream aircraft though would have to be the Cessna Caravan. It’s the beast that can land anywhere. Its powerful turboprop engine can take it to the most incredible places and it can land in most extreme airfields. It’s also very versatile. It can be used for passenger transport, medical flights, skydiving and bush flying. It can really go anywhere.

 

If you could do anything differently, what would that be?
If I could do anything differently it would be the way I took my ATPL exams. You get a maximum of 6 exam period sittings. So I don’t understand why my ground school strongly encouraged us to do all 14 exams in two sittings. For someone like me, who was studying almost every day for two and a half years straight, it was too much pressure and it resulted in unnecessary resits. My recommendation is to do the exams in four sittings. That way they’re well spread out, but you still have two more sittings in case you fail anything. 

 

I see you want to be a flight instructor, what are your reasons for this?
I love teaching and I love learning. The fact is, the best way to learn something is to teach it. I said this once in one of my videos and someone responded by saying that I was wrong, that students made mistakes all the time and that I would pick up their habits. I can tell you, as someone who taught Krav Maga for a while, that that commenter couldn’t be further from the truth. Students ask questions that you never even considered before. A lot of the times you genuinely don’t know the answer. In these cases you get an excellent opportunity for the both of you to learn. You show the student how to look up answers to their questions, by going through the process of finding the answer for them, together. A good instructor must be able to say “I don’t know.” By teaching the student how to look for answers, an instructor is also teaching them a valuable piloting lesson that no textbook could ever teach. This sort of thing is for me, what makes the prospect of flight instructing so intriguing. I want to be a better pilot, and I want to help others become better pilots. Becoming a flight instructor is a major step in order to do this.

 

Tell me about your YouTube channel and what you get from that?
I started my Youtube Channel, Merryface Aviation, to do a series called Mayday Talk. This was simply a series where I looked at aviation accidents and incidents and talked about them. My Youtube channel is and always will be a place for learning about aviation and sharing aviation. As I started making videos though I came up with more and more video ideas for the channel. To me every video is special, no matter how many views, likes or dislikes they get. It has given me a whole lot to think about. My most viewed video for instance, is the least popular one. I oversimplified things in it and said something that was actually pretty off. Today, with the training and experience I have, it’s actually quite embarrassing, but I decided to keep it online. It’s a risk, as future employers might see it and believe that’s how I think today, but to me, it shows me that I have evolved, that I’m still evolving. Learning, practising and becoming aviation is all about a dynamic movement of knowledge, skills and beliefs. The only thing that should never change is the attitude of wanting to improve and learn at all times.
The channel has also given me the chance to meet loads of people in aviation. It’s also cool to get recognised during my training courses. It’s happened to me a few times now and each time I got a positive feedback, which is flattering. One time, a fellow student, and now good friend, came up to me and said, “you saved my gen nav exam! I owe you a beer!” He was referring to my CRP videos. That was definitely one of those moments where I thought, yup, it’s worth it.

 

Anything else you would like to add?
Keep the passion alive. Aviation needs more pilots, both in the private and professional sectors. It may look intimidating from the outside, but it’s an amazing community. Just thinking about the fact that I am a pilot, that I have that privilege, fills me with joy. I want aviation to become more accessible, and that starts with more people speaking up and saying that they want access to aviation. Happy flying!

 

We would like to thank Tarik for taking the time to talk to us, if you don’t follow him, make sure that visit his YouTube channel and make sure that you subscribe! After watching a few videos you will see his raw passion for flying and I am sure he will be successful in everything he does. If you would like to share your story, then please contact me!

Skills refresh

So after passing the PPL skills test yesterday, I went back up the to the flying school today for a skills refresh. This will be a quick post as there isn’t really that much to say and it is just a way to closing out the PPL section of my training.
piper pa 28

There wasn’t much to do today we were just going to go over the stalls and forced landings. It was pretty hazy which meant the visibility was pretty poor, maybe just 3km. We took of on runway 03 and climbed to 3500ft. Once we got up here we went through the steep turns before doing all the stalls which are final, base configuration and the standard stall.
After this we did a few practice forced landings before heading back to the airfield for a high glide which again was perfectly fine. We then had to land as the visibility was getting worse and the ATC was closing the circuit.
That’s it, the PPL has come to an end and next week I should be able to send of for my licence and when I get that back I will be able to sign up to an ATPL distance learning course.

PPL Skills Test

Wow, the day that I have been building up to for so long arrived, the PPL skills test.
Coming into land

To say I was a bag of nerves was an understatement and that reared its head in my flying.
I only found out the test was defiantly on around 1.5 hours before I was due to take it. I arrived at the school and was given the route to plan and to also do the mass and balance calculations, so far so good.
The route was Olney -> Oakington -> Oundle. I took of and departed on runway 03 and climbed to Olney where I levelled off at my cruising altitude of 2500ft and started my stopwatch. I then flew the route and ticked off the points I should see, Bedford, St Neots, Oakington. En route I changed from Cranfield to Cambridge before reaching my destination of Oakington.
I then headed north-west towards Oundle and also changed to Conington radio. I realised I was slightly off  track at Alconbury and did the standard closing angle however I went back to my original track rather than correcting, however I made it to my destination on time.
When I arrived here I was asked to divert to Podington. Diversions are one of the things I have no issue with, so I did the diversion worked out my time and headed in the direction of Podington. Luckily I had been here before so I knew what I was looking out for and we arrived pretty much on time.
Once we got here I was asked to fly for a bit then I had “entered cloud”, my examiner forgot the foggles so he blocked my windscreen with the map. I did a rate 1 turn and did a 180 and got out of there, phew.
Next I was asked to locate where we were. I used the DTY and BPK VOR’s to work out that I was just by Bedford disused, which he seemed happy with. To be fair this part is pretty easy, just make sure you know how to use the VOR’s. My plane did not have a DME but if you did it would be even easier as that would also tell you how far you was.
I then was asked to do some steep turns, this is where things started to get interesting. I didn’t do an excellent job, at all, “damn” I thought to myself, but anyway more of the test to go. They were not terrible, I had just done better ones in training.
I was then asked to do a normal stall which I did and a base configuration stall which I also did. I was then asked to do a final stall which for some reason I pulled the nose up a little bit to high on.
Next it was PFL’s, the engine was cut, I trimmed for 65 kts and identified a field and tried to head for it. I made it but looking back, I could have done a better job and picked a better field.
After this he took control and we headed back to the airfield. We approached the VRP (Visual Reporting Point) and I was handed control again. I then headed back to Cranfield and just my luck I couldn’t see the runway! By the time I saw it I was rushed to set myself back up for the join, eventually I went on and did a standard landing.
Straight back up for a flapless and BAM, the examiner cut the power. Time to pick a field and go for it, I identified one and pitched for it when he said it’s time to go around. .
Next we set up for a flapless landing, I came in a bit too high and this affected the picture I was expecting to see and my speed was not as constant as it could be. However I adjusted and made it down onto the runway in good time.
Next up was a high glide, I cut the engine myself but I landed around a third down the runway, not ideal but perfectly valid.
Lastly was a low level circuit, I had only done one of these but I gave it my best. I was told to stay at 500ft which I did however on approach I was a bit too high, but I made it down to land.
It was getting late so my examiner taxied us back. As we both sat there before he got out I thought, I am not sure which way this is going to go. The navigation was good but some of the manoeuvres were not my finest.
I was told what I knew, some of the manoeuvres need practice, but I can get a pass.
I will do one more hour with my instructor to master these. I must admit flying with an examiner was a bit nerve racking compared to flying with my instructor but this is something I will have to get used to.
We went back inside for a debreif and really, I knew the areas I had to work on before he even started talking, it was basically everything I thought.
This is the longest flight I have done at two hours long and I must admit I was getting a bit tired by the end.
I am back up at the school tomorrow  to work on what he told me I need to with my instructor(s).
Anyways, it could be a lot worse! Now to start thinking about which ground school to choose!

PPL Lesson 41: Pre test bush up

Just a quick post from me today as I had PPL Lesson 41: Pre test bush up. I just went over a few things today that I wanted to go through before going for my test.
G-BOYB and instructors
I had a list of things that I wanted to work through one last time before going for my test which were as follows.

  1. Base configuration stalling
  2. Practice forced landings
  3. Low level circuits (for the first time)
  4. Steep turns.
  5. Mass and Balance calculation

We headed into the local area and went through each item on the list before coming back and doing a low level circuit.
Then back in the school we looked at when I can take my test, it may be as early as tomorrow! They are going to speak to the examiner (who is also the chief flying instructor of the school) and let me know. If not we have a weekend examiner who will most likely do it!
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, I am. However this is what I have been building up for the last 7 or so months so I also am keen to take it.
Positive mental attitude from here on out!