UK ATPL pass rates for 16/17 and 17/18

So someone had the genius idea of submitting a freedom of information request for the UK ATPL pass rates for 16/17 and 17/18 from the UK CAA.
The UK CAA doesn’t publish this information so it is probably the first time this information has been shared, well at least publically anyways.
I thought I would share it here incase anyone has an interest in seeing it.

Navigation planning

SUBJECT // PASS RATE 17-18 // (PASS RATE 16-17)
Air Law – 83% (87%)
Airframe/Systems/Power Plant/Electrics – 87% (89%)
Aircraft General Knowledge – Instrumentation – 83% (81%)
Mass & Balance – 81% (82%)
Performance – 78% (72%)
Flight Planning – 76% (81%)
Human Performance and Limitations – 85% (84%)
Meteorology – 79% (77%)
General Navigation – 86% (82%)
Radio Navigation – 85% (90%)
Operational Procedures – 83% (91%)
Principles of Flight – 76% (73%)
VFR Communications – 95% (96%)
IFR Communications – 97% (98%)

So looking at the stats Flight Planning, Principles of Flight, Perfomance and Meteorology seem to be the exams with the lowest pass rates over the two years.
It would be interesting to see how this compares to other CAA’s.

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ATPL Theory Month 24: POF

Just a quick update from ATPL theory month 24: POF

There really isn’t much to say about it really. I have been going all out on what is my last exam trying to get my head around it all.
If I am being honest I think POF got a little neglected, as first time Mass and Balance and Performance took more of my attention and last time Gnav and Flight planning did.
I must admit I am finding it easier to study for just one exam at a time, why we are forced to learn multiple exams at once I don’t really know. This issue is compounded even more when you are working full-time also.
I am making good progress and I feel my knowledge in the subject is increasing and hopefully all will be fine by the time the exam comes round.
It is mad how fast time goes, I am already down to 4.5 weeks till the exam which I plan to sit at the start of July.  Fingers crossed all will be fine and I can put this chapter behind me.
I haven’t really been flying at all as the weather has been a bit hit and miss. I did have most of this week of to get some hours done but the plane now has to go into the shop for it’s 50 hour check and a few other bits, so that’s the end of that one.
Hopefully this month will be more productive as I still have 39 hours I need to build.


Jet2 pilot apprentice open day at Virtual Aviation

With an eye on the future today I went to the Jet2 pilot apprentice open day at Virtual Aviation.

en route gamston

So the day started with us registering and then going into a room so that we could mingle with the other students. Most students seemed to be at CPL ME IR stage or has recently completed their training.
Being the small world that it is, I actually met someone who actually trained at Cranfield Flying school also, so that was nice.

We then went down to a room for a presentation from Jet2. I must say, Jet2 seems to be a really good company to work for and they heavily emphasised that they prefer to promote from within and develop people.
Obviously the pilot apprentice with its bonded type rating is one of the premier schemes in the industry.
The main takeaways I got from this in regards to what Jet2 like to see is the following. They did however say this is all considered on a case by case basis.

  • Strong ATPL results.
  • Recent flying – They want to see you flying with a decent amount of consistency.
  • Jet2 are Independent – Jet2 do not prioritise any schools or training organisations and they said it is best to do your MCC / JOC wherever is best for you.

Talk with captains and pilot apprentices.
We then went up into a room to speak to some current captains and two guys who were on the pilot apprentice scheme. This was a good opportunity to ask about the job and if they could offer any advice.
We were probably in here for 20 mins or so.
The pilots were very passionate about how good Jet2 were to work for and how they seem different from other airlines they have worked for.

Sim Visit
We then went to have a look at Virtual Aviation’s new Boeing 737 sim. I must say, the sim is very impressive.
We had a quick go at handling it which was nice but quite rushed as obviously they had a lot of people to get through.

APS MCC talk
Lastly we had a talk from a very nice Easyjet captain about the APS MCC. I must say the course seems very well designed and quite intense.
The guy leading the course seemed to be very passionate about teaching and really helping you get the best you can from it.
The course is designed to last around 20 days and I believe it costs about £6500.
This is much more than the £2650 that CRM Europe are charging for their MCC / JOC course which is not an APS course or on a Boeing 737 sim.
Ryanair are saying that the APS course is preferred but Jet2 stated to do which course you feel is best for you, so there is a decision to be had there.

All in all it was a good day and I was glad I heard both from Jet2 about the pilot apprentice and from Virtual Aviation about the APS MCC.


ATPL Theory Month 23: Sitting 5 Results

Last month was a bit hectic so I didn’t get a chance to do this update. On top of this I sat exams all this week, so here are the ATPL theory month 23: sitting 5 results.

G-ASYP Milton Keynes

GNAV – 78% – I am so relieved to have passed this exam, I dunno why but I have found it very hard and having failed it first time round it is a relief to have it over with.
My brain just doesn’t seem to care for convergency or departure etc but seems I got it together just enough to pass this exam.

Flight Planning – 77% – There was two fuel penalty questions in this exam that I have never seen before and quite frankly were impossible for me to solve due to having no practice. I don’t see anything in the material about them either, apparently it is a new question type. To top this off they were each worth 3 marks each, so not ideal.
Aside from this the exam was pretty fair, with PSR, PET, GAMMA, RCF, 1.3 Trip etc questions.

POF – 70% – Gutted. To get 70% AGAIN on my 5th sitting is not ideal. In fact it sucks! This is now my last exam and I have until July to pass it. For this reason I am not going to rush. I am going to sit it at the start of July, which gives me two months to focus on only POF. I am going to learn this subject inside out!
There were 2 questions which made no sense whatsoever (they seemed to be translated) but I am not going to waste my time (or money) on an appeal.
I dunno what is going on with POF but I know 2 guys who have failed 3 times and one who has failed 2 like me. I guess I’m not the only one who’s struggling. However to be so close really, really sucks. It’s like two questions away.

So yeah 1 exam left, 1 sitting left. I am pretty down at the moment but it could be a lot worse. I just need to become the master of POF in the next two months. I have some accelerator days left at Bristol so I might use one up if I’m struggling.
Hopefully, it will be easier to grasp without the heavy work load of other subjects. I also had a lot going on with work which I think affected me a bit but that’s no real excuse.
Fingers crossed, because there is no possible way I could do all 14 exams again. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.

Hour Building: Tatenhill & Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green

Wow what a glorious week of weather! I took the opportunity to do some hour building: Tatenhill & Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green.
En route to Wolverhampton
I’ve been pretty quiet as I have been working on the ATPL exams and havent done much flying worthy of a post on it’s own. However, when I saw that we were going to have a good week of weather I had to get up and get some hours built, as flying just 1.5 hours at a time wasn’t really cutting it.
I have also done a few other flights over the last few weeks but they were just trips around say 50 miles of the field that I doubt you really want to hear about.
I have recently subscribed to Flyer Magazine for nothing more than their free landings. I have no idea why I haven’t done this earlier as if you use just one it pays for itself.
This month it was Tatenhill, Halfpenny Green and Goodwood that took my interest.

19th April 2018 – Tatenhill

Firstly it was hot! Wearing jeans was most definatley the wrong idea.
I took of from Runway 20 at Henlow and routed “the long way round” which was towards Cambridge, over past Cranfield then up towards Tatenhill while getting a LARS service from East Midlands.
Well I say a LARS service but you only get a basic service outside of controlled airspace with East Midlands.
There was nobody on the radio at Tatenhill so I just addressed Tatenhill Traffic with my intentions.
I joined downwind and landed without incident.
I must say it is a pretty nice airfield and we was met with a warm welcome. I did uplift fuel, as I do try to make sure to take some if I am getting a free landing.
I was with a friend and we got some food before setting back off and heading back to Henlow on the reverse route.
It was a short visit but worth it as I built some good time.

Flying Time – 2.9 hours.

20th April 2018 – Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green 

G-asyp at Halfpenny Green

Second up in the free landing tour was HalfPenny Green in Wolverhampton.
This time it was a departure from 26R which is the small runway at Henlow. Well I say small, it’s more thing than it is small.
I chose to go a more direct route and departed south of Cranfield, up towards Wellesbourne and then into Halfpenny Green for a standard overhead join.
Wellesbourne seemed to be really busy, and I have heard good things about it so I need to visit at some point.
It got a bit choppy up closer to the airfield but nothing major to worry about.
I need to just say that the guys on the radio up there are excellent, some of the best I have encountered and both were really helpful.
Again I uplifted some fuel before parking and presenting the free landing voucher that was accepted without any issues.
The same friend was with me and we got some food before departing back to Henlow.
With the airfield closing at 6pm, I managed to make it back on the ground about 5:45, just in time.
Again another great day and some good time built.

Flying time  – 2.8 hours

I am now up to 107.1 hours and 61.2 PIC time.

Now I best get back to studying for the ATPL exams. I have just 1 slot booked next week which is next friday where if the weather is nice enough I am planning to get down to Goodwood, but time will tell on that one.


ATPL Theory Month 22: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning

22 months? Wow what a slog. Heres a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 22: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning.

Well there isn’t really that much to say. I have been trying to get up to speed in  Flight Planning, General Navigation and Principals of Flight but after 22 months I am really struggling now. I am just so tired and worn out that after a day of work I don’t really want to study any more.
Some days I feel good and like I could sit the exam but then a few days later I seem to have forgotten a load of the formula!
I saw that there was a sitting just 3 weeks after the one I was going to sit in so I am now sitting the exams between the 1st and 3rd of May for what I hope will be my final exams.
The scores are going up (slowly) across the 3 so hopefully with one more month I hope I will be in a position to pass all 3.
I haven’t done much flying recently either as the weather has been shocking. I think I have managed a grand total of 2.8 hours this month which when you have about 50 hours to build doesn’t cut it at all. I figured I could get a good 5 hours at least this weekend but of course being a bank holiday the weather is crap.
If this weather doesn’t change in the next month or so I am going to seriously have to consider going abroad to somewhere with better weather (so basically anywhere else).
However first things first I need to pass these remaining exams and actually have something that resembles a life.

The passenger who landed a plane

While this isn’t new, it is one of the most incredible stories that I have ever seen. I must have watched it about 4 times over the years but every time I am still in shock.
The story is about a The passenger who landed a plane.
The passenger (John Wildey) is on a flight back from Skegness with his friend (a pilot) when sadly the pilot becomes unwell and unfortunately passes away.
This is where the story gets really remarkable. John has no flying experience, none whatsoever and is also sitting in the P2 seat.
ATC manage to get hold of a flying instructor and search and rescue to assist John, but of course he is the only person in the aircraft (Cessna 172).
John manages to fly the plane to an international airport, make an approach to the airport and then execute a go around.
Now it is night time (keep in mind a night rating is 5 hours) and on top of this John doesn’t have any backlight on the plane as he doesn’t know where the switch is.
John is now facing landing a Cessna 172, at night, from the right hand seat, cannot see his instruments and with no flight training whatsoever. Oh yeah, and his friend is dead in the seat next to him!
Next he makes an approach on the lit runway at Humberside but has to do two more go arounds before finally coming in again for his final attempt.
He manages to come in (I guess technically a flapless approach), bounced a bit then comes of the runway. He landed with all this going on, absolutely incredible!
It’s just an amazing job by John, the RAF search and rescue, ATC, the flying instructor and the fire and medics on the ground.
The video is here and well worth a watch.

What an absolute legend John is and he even has got back into light aircraft again.

ATPL Theory Month 21: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning

Just a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 21: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning.
C150 in flight

After plodding along these exams for what is now the 21st month, I must admit I am losing all enthusiasm for them. However at the same time I am so close to finishing them, that I am doing my best to work hard before what I hope is the final sitting in April.
So far my scores seem to be going up across the 3 subjects and even the dreaded Gnav is starting to make some sense.
The weather across the next week or two is supposed to be awful which means that I can spend more time on the exams and hopefully get the scores where they need to be before April.
Two of the subjects are maths based so they are taking me a bit longer than normal to get up to speed on them but hopefully I will crack them when the time comes. The formula is starting to stick so that’s a promising sign.
I have some accelerator days left with Bristol but to be honest I don’t think I will use them. If necessary I will use them if I have to do another siting but I really hope that it doesn’t come to that.
The exam week is the 2nd week of April so that leaves me with another 6 weeks of hard study left.
Fingers crossed and all that.

CPL Cross Country Qualifier

Yesterday I ticked of a big part of my training as I completed the CPL cross country qualifier.
cpl qualifier g-csbm
The CPL cross country qualifier requires you fly at least 300nm with full stop landings at two aerodromes.
As this would be a full day of flying I had to set of nice and early so I decided I needed to be airborne by no later than 9.30am.
I had decided my route would be Blackbushe -> Shobdon -> Gamston -> Blackbushe. This is 305 NM as the crow flies but in reality it was quite a bit more with the dog legs etc.

Blackbushe -> Shobdon


Ice Ice Baby. As it was an early start the plane was iced over, luckily there was some de-icing fluid available so after 30 mins or so I was ready to go.
The winds were easterly today so after fuelling up I took of from runway 07 before climbing into the overhead and departing to the north-west. I switched to Farnborough who then suggested I switched to Oxford (really I should have went straight to Brize) and not long after I switched to Brize.
The weather wasn’t amazing with some haze but it was good enough.
As I approached Brize I asked for a zone transit. I had never done this before but turns out it’s really straight forward. They cleared me across at 2000 ft and I continued to flow north past Gloucester and towards the west.
I tried to tell Brize that I was going to Shobdon but I think it went past 12 and they had given up for the day.
Anyways I then routed in towards Shobdon before joining downwind on runway 08.
Shobdon is a great airfield with very welcoming staff and people. The area it is set in is also beautiful and I would have no hesitation in recommending that people visit.
Time taken 1.6 hours.

Shobdon to Gamston

CPL En route Gamston

After fueling up and grabbing a little food we then departed for Gamston. It seems that we choose rush hour as from start up to take of was 17 mins.
There is a lot of high ground around Shobdon so I departed and just tried to get as much height as I could as fast as possible.
I then departed towards the north-east before switching to East Midlands Lars. It was a little rocky on this leg but nothing to bad, by now the little cloud had gone but it was still a bit hazy.
East Midlands only seem to offer a basic service if you are not entering controlled airspace so as I was planning to stay under their CTA that is all I got.
I made sure to keep a good look out even more so than usual due to the haze.
Gamston is under the Doncaster CTA so you have to make sure you are under 2000ft when approaching.
I ended up doing a straight in approach and joined on long finals on runway 03.
The guys at Gamston are always friendly and they helped me on my last attempt at the cross country qualifier when the radio failed. Thankfully the plane now had a new Trig unit so I didn’t have these problems.
Time taken 1.8 hours.

Gamston to Blackbushe

CPL Milton Keynes

Time was getting on I got away from Gamston at 3pm. Sunset at Blackbushe was 17:36 and while I have a night rating I was trying to get back before the sun went down.
The good thing about this leg is that it is basically a straight line south back to Blackbushe. I flew down past Leicester, Northampton, Milton Keynes before heading under the London TMA.
I spoke to East Midlands Lars and Sywell before switching to Farnborough and getting a traffic service because it was pretty hazy still down south.
I did a standard overhead join but there was someone in a Bonanza who to be honest I had NO idea what sort of join they was doing. They seemed to cross the runway they wanted to land on, basically flew right at me,  before doing a 180 and then joining the downwind. Then rather than exiting the runway they decided to taxi to the end meaning I (and the guy behind me) had to go around and do it all again. Not what you want after a 2 hour leg but these things happen.
Finally I came back into land and that was the CPL cross country qualifier all done!
Leg time was 2 hours.

That was a long day of flying, I don’t think 5.4 hours in a C150 does any good for your back but I am glad it is all done 🙂
The winds were showing anywhere from 20-30kts but it didn’t feel that bad at all.
I also managed to get 1.3 hours done the day before yesterday so 6.7 hours done in 2 days is not bad at all.
I did think about flying again today but I should really do some ATPL study! The weather next week is looking pretty shocking so that’s not looking promising.
On another note my time flying at Blackbushe is most likely done. It is a nice airfield but just too far away and I now have a share in a C150 at Henlow which is just down the road from me.

Hour Building: Local flights from Blackbushe

The weather this weekend has been pretty good so I managed to go flying both Friday and yesterday and managed to do some Hour Building: Local flights from Blackbushe.
C150 in flight
There is not much to say about these at all. My main goal was to build time and just brush up on my general handling. I was down at Blackbushe using up some of the hours I had left there and managed to fly 2.7 hours over the two days which aint bad at all.
Oh yeah, the plane not only has a new radio but it now also has two USB ports for charging things. Seems it’s getting all it’s upgrades as I’m winding down my flying there!
The issue when I go to Blackbushe is that I spend more time driving down there and back (2-3 hours depending on traffic) than I do in the air.
I am not sure what to do with the remaining 3.3 hours down there I may use them to attempt a CPL qualifier to Shobdon and then Gamston. However I have now been informed that the Shareoplane at Henlow is back so obviously it is easier to get to.
I need to fly a lot more regularly as even after this weekend I still have 61 hours left to build which may not sound that much but can be difficult when you are mainly flying at weekends. I think I am going to have to book some half days at work and go fly at Henlow which aint too far away and I should be able to do at least 1.5-2 hours on those days which should help reduce the hours quite quickly.
It also felt good to get up just on my own and enjoy some true solo flight.  It looks like the weather is a bit crap early next week but might improve towards the weekend, lets see.