Module 3 revision week at Bristol Ground School

So I have just returned from my module 3 revision week at Bristol Ground School.
Bristol Ground School
Being a good 5.5-6 hour round trip I must say I am glad the this is the 3rd and final revision week that I have to attend.
Normally when I have attended modules 1,2 & 3 have been run at the same time, however this time we were the only ones in the school.
First thing I want to say is that there was a guy who was 51 on this course. I point this out as I get a lot of mail from people asking if they are too old, some are only in their mid 20’s!
This course was a 5 day assault on the brain, with non stop facts, figures and graphs being presented in Priciples of Flight, Performance and Mass and Balance.
There is no revision of communications done on this course, which I find weird as I tried to book VFR communications as part of my mod 2 exams but was told to move it till after this revision week, where we did nothing on it?
We had a good mix of people with military, PPL’s and conversion. 1 of the guys converting was flying the A320 in Brazil and another had worked for Boeing for years and was now the technical pilot for an airline.
Day 1 was all Operational Procedures, then day 2 was Mass and Balance and performance. Day 3 was all performance, day 4 was all Principles of Flight and day 5 was Principles of Flight and Mass and Balance.
My the end of the week my brain was bogged down.
My exams are booked for the first week of September and I have Mass and Balance on Monday, POF on Tuesday, Perf on weds and VFR communications on Thurs.
These exams will be the last ones on the currently multiple choice system as at the end of September they will be moving to the quadrant system.
This weekend will be spent doing Mass and Balance as it’s gotten neglected this week. Going forward till the exams I will get up at 5am to do Mass and Balance and then alternate Performance and Principles of Flight daily up until the exams. I will do 1-2 VFR communications practice tests a day as they don’t take too much time.
If this weather ever changes, I might actually get to build some hours too!


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ATPL Theory Month 14: Mass & Balance, Performance, POF and VFR Comms

Another month down so this post is just a quick recap of ATPL theory month 14: Mass & Balance, Performance, POF and VFR Comms.
atp digital complete

As you can see I have completed the theory requirements in the app, however I still have 8 exams to sit 🙁
This month I finished the material in the ATP digital app which is a prerequisite of attending the brush up courses at Bristol. I am actually heading down to Bristol tomorrow as the mod 3 course starts on Monday.
This month has been full of question practice and googling things trying to get my head around some concepts.
Maths  is not my strong point so mass and balance is taking a lot of my time but thankfully my exams are not until early September so I still have over a month to get my head around what I need to.
In regards to POF and Performance I am getting better and it just seems to be a case of keep working on questions, looking things up and googling till the concept comes into my head.
VFR communications is going well so far, I am still making the odd silly mistake but this would be the exam I am feeling the most confident about at the moment.
I have more time than usual to study this month due to the poor weather. Hour building is proving to be a real slow process in the UK this year. As I sit looking out the window it’s grey skies, overcast and raining, useless for VFR flight.
I am hoping the school has some tips and tricks to share with me next week to make processing this easier, time will tell.

ATPL Theory Month 13

After sitting my last set of exams early in June I got cracking with ATPL theory month 13.

mod 3 progress

I had originally intended to sit this next set of exams in October, however due to the fact the CAA decided to make a load of changes to the exams I have moved these forward to September and will now be going to the module three revision week at the end of July.
I am now working hard to get through the material in the software before the course as it is a pre requirement to attend the revision week. I have also departed from my usual material first then question bank method and I am now doing the question banks at the same time as the material due to having less time before I need to sit the exams.
The exams I will be sitting next are Mass and Balance, Performance, Principles of flight and VFR communications.
I am not find it too bad so far apart from Mass and Balance where it seems every time I learn a new formula I see to forget the previous one I learnt. I still have 2 months before the exams, so I hope this will be resolved by then.
I will basically do the same throughout July and put in lots of practice to do my best to get up to scratch. It would be nice if EASA and the CAA could stop moving the goal posts while I am doing the exams, but that is unlikely to happen.
Also on an unrelated note, this weather this year sucks. It is July and I am looking out the window at low grey clouds, this makes hour building impossible and if things don’t change soon I may have to look into going abroad as I still have 80 hours to build.

More changes to the ATPL exams

Well it looks like there will be even more changes to the ATPL exams as apparently 1500 new questions and 2000 reviewed questions a year wasnt enough, they have decided to change the exams from multiple choice to now having four different types of questions.

Navigation planning

  1. Multiple-choice – This is the style we have at the moment.
  2. Multi-select – Where you have to select options from a list to correctly answer the question.
  3. Inline – In this one you have to complete sentences using a drop down menu containing words, numbers, or a combination of both.
  4. Text – In these questions you will have to type in answers or numbers, so an input field.

The dates that the changes will come in for each exam is detailed below. Quite frankly from my time doing these ATPL’s, I have no interest in being a guinea pig for any of their changes, so I will now try to move my ATPL exams from the start of October to September. The reason for this is October would be the first week for Mass & Balance and POF changes and in September the only exam affected should be VFR communications.

Subject Date
010 AIR LAW 14-Aug-17
091 VFR COMMUNICATIONS 21-Aug-17
092 IFR COMMUNICATIONS 21-Aug-17
040 HUMAN PERFORMANCE AND LIMITATIONS 28-Aug-17
061 GENERAL NAVIGATION 04-Sep-17
062 RADIO NAVIGATION 04-Sep-17
050 METEOROLOGY 11-Sep-17
071 OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES 11-Sep-17
021 AIRFRAME AND SYSTEMS, ELECTRICS, POWERPLANT, EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT 18-Sep-17
022 AIRCRAFT GENERAL KNOWLEDGE – INSTRUMENTATION 18-Sep-17
031 MASS AND BALANCE – AEROPLANE & HELICOPTERS 02-Oct-17
081 PRINCIPLES OF FLIGHT – AEROPLANE 02-Oct-17
082 PRINCIPLES OF FLIGHT – HELICOPTER 02-Oct-17
032 PERFORMANCE – AEROPLANES 09-Oct-17
033 FLIGHT PLANNING AND FLIGHT MONITORING 16-Oct-17
034 PERFORMANCE – HELICOPTERS 23-Oct-17

ATPL Module 2 Results

In what feels like a whirlwind week with my eyes and brain taking a pounding, I have finally got my ATPL Module 2 results back from the CAA.

en route to kemble

As you may know, I sat my module 1 exams back in January and passed the 3 I took. This time round I took another 3 at CATS in Luton which were Air Law, AGK and Rnav. It has been a long slog with these exams with many hours put in at evenings and weekends to try to get above the 75% pass mark that is required for these exams.
Before sitting the exams my scores were between 80 and 90% in the question banks. Anyways these are my results for mod 2!

Air Law – 88%
No real surprises in this exam. There were a few new and reworded questions but nothing that threw me or that I wasn’t expecting. No nasty surprises to be had here but remember you can get hit with new questions at any time…. as I found out in AGK.

Rnav – 80%
I would say that Rnav was on the whole what I was expecting. However there were quite a few reworded or new questions in it. One question that I do remember from the bank was something along the lines of “What is Kalman filtering used in?” and the answer given in the bank was “Navigation display”. I got this question however Navigation display was no longer and answer and seems to have been replaced with Electronic Flight Information System.
Now if you didn’t know that the navigation display was part of the EFIS you would have been in some difficulty. This is why you need to do your best to try to learn more than just the question bank.

AGK – 77%
Brutal, absolutely brutal. Lots of new questions and lots of reworded questions. I remember on my first pass through thinking a more colourful version of “Good heavens, this is quite a difficult exam”. However on second pass I did my best to really think about the question and do my best to solve them. I remember changing quite a few answers on this second pass through and it looks like it just did the trick.
Another guy who sat the exam said the same thing about it, it’s my opinion that a lot of questions have been released for this exam. Some did seem like they were translated from elsewhere as they didn’t read properly. I came out of this exam unsure as to which way it would go. Needless to say when I got that email this morning I was relieved! This sums up my reaction –

Anyways no re sits which I’m ecstatic about! Next up it’s Mass and Balance, Principles of Flight, Performance & VFR Communications.

ATPL Theory Month 12

Wow, it’s been a year already as this was now ATPL theory month 12.
atpl month 9
I can’t believe a year has passed since I started the ATPL journey and with sitting 3 more exams next week if I pass them I will be around the half way ish point with 6 exams done and 8 to go.
I had my revision week a couple of a months back so that is done and dusted and I did pick up a few bits of information on the course that I found useful.
I will be sitting my exams at CATS Luton as this is the closest exam center to my house. This is very convenient as a lot of people have to travel quite long distances to sit their exams where as it is literally a 5 min drive for me.
In this sitting I will be doing Air Law, Aircraft General Knowledge and Radio Navigation. I have pushed flight planning to my “module 4” so that will be sat early next year.
I haven’t found the exams that bad so far but maths subjects have always been more difficult for me than the pure theory type subjects. Radio Navigation seems to bring in some maths and the subjects I am sitting in module 3 are heavy with the maths so that should be interesting.
It has mainly been a month of using the question bank, Google and YouTube to try to fill in the gaps in my knowledge before sitting the exams. I would say the exam that is giving me the most worries at the moment is radio navigation but we will see what happens next week, hopefully all will be fine.
I have already booked my revision week for module 3 in September and I will be aiming to sit the exams in November of this year if things are going well with sitting the final set around April of next year.
With the course at Bartolini being booked for August 2018 I have a hard goal of when I need to pass these exams which is the end of July 2018 (the official date from the CAA) but if things go to track I hope to pass them all a few months before that.

ATPL Theory Month 11

Another month down, so this is my recap of ATPL Theory month 11.
Navigation planning

So this month two things happened really. First I went to the module two revision week down in Bristol and secondly I pushed my exams from the start of May to the start of June. I got quite lucky as my local test centre (Luton) doesn’t have much availability but someone must have cancelled as randomly one day I was able to transfer my exams.
I have Air Law on the Monday, Radio Navigation on the Wednesday and AGK on the Thursday. I have moved Flight Planning to my “Mod 4”. I did try to book a communications exams for this mod but apparently I am not allowed until I have sat the module 3 brush up which is a bit frustrating but it is what it is.
I have spent the majority of this month just going through the question banks and trying to get my head around the areas that I am still struggling with. My scores are going up slowly which is a good and I hope by the time the exams come round that I will be ready for them.
We were told that from August some subjects are going to be going to an input field rather than multiple choice so I will be affected by that (asif there isn’t enough changes at the moment).
So far I think I am doing well, I still need some more work in Radio Navigation hence why I pushed the exams back a bit but I think I will get there.
There is not really a lot more to say apart from that as from now till the exams it will be similar in terms of what I am doing.
Oh yeah, I have booked my CPL ME IR for next year but I will talk about that in an upcoming post.
I also turned 32 yesterday, getting old!

Module 2 revision week at Bristol Ground School

So I have just got back from Module 2 revision week at Bristol Ground School.

Bristol Ground School

This course started on a Sunday due to Easter which is great as I only had to take 4 days of work.
There were actually a few people on the course I talk online so it was nice to meet them in person.
I was actually sitting next to a guy I met at my exams in Jan and it seems our schedules are lining up in regards to exams at mod 3, which is nice.
It seems crazy to me that he lives in Newcastle and has to come all the way down south to sit his exams. I think the CAA really need to open more centres in the UK. I am quite lucky that there is a centre right here in Luton.
Pro tip – Book your exams as soon as you start your module even if its 4-6 months away. You will be surprised how quickly some of these exams can fill up.
Oh, I put my exams back to June, I was looking and saw some availability so I decided that I would take the extra month as it can’t hurt can it?
The days at the school are long and I would describe it as a fast paced recap of the ATPL material you have previously read. The real benefit of the course for me is that if you are stuck on something you have a teacher you can ask who will try to answer for you.
Also another benefit of the revision weeks is the interaction with other students. You can get a lot of tips and advice and also just gauge how you are getting on.
We had John for Air law / Radio Nav, Chris and Mac for AGK and JJ for Flight Planning.
My real frustration is the lack of flexibility with the ATPL exams. Even if you read the material for a subject you cannot sit it “early” until you have sat the brush up week.
As you know I have decided to move Flight Planning to Mod 4, so I figured hey ill do the material and sit VFR comms now and get it out the way. Well no, for some reason I am not allowed to do that. I can’t sit the exam until I have sat mod 3 brush up where they basically do no covering of comms.
I don’t blame Bristol for this as no doubt this rule comes from the CAA or EASA and their mandated classroom time.
I have now moved both comms exams to “mod 4” as I really want to get Mass and Balance, Performance, Ops and Principles of Flight done in mod 3. Leaving me 2 “hard” and 2 “easier” exams for mod 4 in General Navigation and Flight planning.
Oh, we was told that from August some exams will be going from multiple choice to an input field. I remember it would include Performance, Flight planning, Mass and Balance and I can’t recall the forth one. It was supposed to be next year however the CAA decided that 1500 new questions a year wasn’t enough, so lets hit this group of students with even more changes. The fact we are going through more changes than anyone in ATPL history clearly isn’t enough.
While I was down there I also paid for and picked up my mod 3 material so I am ready to go straight on to it (and saved £13.50 in shipping costs). Every little helps and all that.
I have booked onto mod 3 which will be at the end of September and I am looking to sit the mod 3 exams in either November or December depending on my progress.
I had planned to do some flying weather permitting over the long weekend however the plane has gone tech so looks like it’s revision for me.

ATPL Theory Month 10

The never ending slog of the ATPL exams continues with ATPL theory month 10.
grafam water
I am going to be perfectly honest I was approaching the point where I had enough. Pretty much every night I get in from a long day of work and have to study these exams to the point that it was taking over my life. I made a decision that I am going to make some “me” time every night. If this is watching a movie for 2 hours, or a few games of Fifa, I am no longer going to let the ATPL theory study take over my life.
I have split my study over four modules leaving 2 for any retakes that are needed.
With that being said of course I still have to make sure I put in the work, so I have been studying towards my next set of exams which are in May. I decided that studying 4 exams at the same time around work is way too much, so in my next sitting I will be taking 3. Air Law, Radio Nav and Aircraft General Knowledge. In my opinion this is more than enough to be studying simultanionusly. I have said before I don’t understand the benefit of forcing people to sit multiple exams at the same time rather than one by one so they can get a good understanding of the subject.
I am going through the question bank and looking back at the material to try to fill in gaps in my knowledge.
I am scheduled to do my revision week in Bristol in the middle of April and I will make a decision 1 week before the exams if I am ready to sit them or if I need to push them back a month. I hope I will be ready to sit them as the 18 month clock is already ticking down and quite frankly I want these exams out of my life.
I think I am doing better in AGK and Air Law where as I need to put some more work in Radio Nav.
Hopefully the week down in Bristol next month will be helpful for me and help to fill in what gaps I have in my knowledge.
I also think that the lack of flying this year is not helping me. I have only managed 1.5 hours all in the circuit due to the poor weather. I tried to go to Kemble the weekend just gone but due to 30kts gusting wind en route and 20+ at the airport I decided to scrap that. Hopefully the weather will change soon and I can plan some nice land aways.
For this reason I think it’s a good idea to set my sim back up. I have FSX but as it is so old and with Xplane 11 coming out I think it might be time to make the change.
Anyways, back to my study 🙂

How I will sit my ATPL exams

As I am sure anyone who reads this blog knows, I am currently doing my ATPL theory with Bristol Ground School. This post is just a quick update on how I will sit my ATPL exams.
atpl month 9
The default course from Bristol is 14 exams in 3 sittings. I tried to stick with this but I am finding this too much around a full-time job in IT and life in general. Even though Bristol suggest 3 sittings, you actually have 6 sittings and 18 months to pass all 14 exams. For this reason I have decided to try to complete the exams in 4 sittings which leaves 2 spare for resists if needed. I wouldn’t suggest trying to do your exams in any more than 4 sittings, as should you fail any exams I personally would want at least 2 more attempts at them.
I have spoken to someone who actually split it into 6 sittings and failed an exam in his final sitting, this is not a position you want to be in as he was left with no choice but to sit them all again!
I have spoken to many different trainees in the last month or two and it would seem that quite a few of us are struggling with some of these exams, with some people unfortunately just missing the 75% min score and others just about scraping over the line. Hopefully this will take of some added pressure and allow me to spend more time per exam.
My new ATPL theory course looks like this.

Mod 1 – January 2017

  • Instrumentation
  • Meteorology
  • Human Performance and Limitations

Mod 2 – June 2017

  • Radio Navigation
  • Aircraft General Knowledge and Electrics
  • Air Law

Mod 3 – September 2017

  • VFR Communications
  • Principle of flight
  • Mass and Balance
  • Performance

Mod 4 – December 2017

  • General Navigation
  • Flight Planning
  • Operational Procedures
  • IFR Communication

As you can see it is a bit more spaced out and also I can spend more time on the mod 4 subjects as hopefully I will have at least 6 months to pass them.
I sat my first exams in January 2017, so I have until July 2018 to pass the rest. It is still a long way to go but hopefully this will make it just a bit easier.