A Zero Hour January

January 2017 – Well this entire month is going to be easy to deal with in one blog posting. I didn’t manage to get a single hour flying in January, and although you have to pretty much expect that, it was still frustrating for me. I was on 45 hours and just had my Cross Country and Skills Test to do to finish off, plus some revision flights as well of course.

However, due to my remembering what had happened during the winter of 2015 (no flying at all) I’d already planned to use this time to get on with my exams. And so it was to be. 11th and 12th of January I had my Navigation and Flight planning training and exams.

I felt fairly confident on both subjects, they were both pretty interesting for me. Navigation includes such topics as Charts, the Earth’s Magnetism, General and Radio Navigation and Calculation. So how to track a VOR, what a Q code is, different map projections, crosswind components.

Here’s a typical question: When taking off from a runway 22 you are given a wind reading of 240/20, what is the approximate crosswind component? I’m sure you can do that one in your head.

The Navigation exam proved to be tricker than I thought it would be. In fact I would say it was the hardest one so far. However I’d studied hard for it and I managed to get 100%.

Flight planning is especially important for when you’ve qualified. Covering such subjects as Weight & Balance, Flight Plans, Performance etc. it’s the subject that when you’re a student you rely on your instructor to know for you, but when you’re P1 you need to be making the decisions. Weight and Balance is especially important I always feel. So many accidents are caused by overloaded aircraft the correct calculation is vital.

Here’s a question for you: When doing the weight and balance calculations for an aircraft, Mass x Arm = ???

Again I’d studied hard and got 100%, and it was certainly easier than the navigation exam, although there is some crossover in the subjects.

Two weeks later on the 25th January I was back for my Principles of Flight training and exam. I was really not feeling very well this day, I had a heavy cold and felt quite achy and tired. However this was my last exam and I was keen to get it over with.

Principles of Flight could be described as “How do aircraft fly?”. Covering Lift, Drag, Stalling, Stability etc. you’ll find out such things as what does the shape of the wing effect, planes of movement and variable pitch propellors. A lot of it is theoretical stuff but the knowledge you gain will have a practical benefit.

Last question of this blog: With a clockwise rotating propellor on the take off roll the slipstream effect would cause the nose to yaw in which direction? You’ll learn that pretty quickly in your flight training!

Anyway I managed 100% again so I’d crossed the ninth exam off my to do list! all I had left was a few more hours flying and my RT test.

So January had come and gone, and despite the lack of flying hours, I’d completed all nine of my exams, and felt that much closer to getting my licence. Let’s hope February would turn out better for flying.

If you want to know more, the podcast, as always, contains an expanded version of the above.

Author: oldmannewpilot

An old man, becoming a new pilot