School Finals

Well that’s it.  Ground school is done.  No more classroom hours to go.  We had our last exam debriefs today and now we’re back on study leave to prepare for the final set of Joint Aviation Regulation exams.  I’d like to say some more about ground school but I’m not going to spend time on it now.  Maybe I will when it’s all over and then I can look back on it from a different point of view.

Too much ground school is bad for anyone, this is the kind of stuff that begins to happen:

GPS & Cache #1

Today in ground school we studied GPS, a most fantastic and useful system.  Fortunately we haven’t gone into too much detail yet otherwise I’ll just lose interest!  It reminds me of the time I studied ‘Of Mice and Men’ in school; when we read the book, it was great and the same when we watched the movie.  When we started to analyse the whole thing and pick the story to pieces, I just lost interest.  I hope the same doesn’t happen with GPS.  I just think it was cool to study GPS today and use it for the first time for something completely random.

In the simplest terms possible, geocaching is a worldwide game of hide and seek.  There are caches hidden all over the world (1.2 million of them) that contain a log book and a pencil and an array of other things.  The first one that I ever found had a toy car in it.  You are supposed to locate these caches using a GPS set, write in the book and log it on  There is a whole range of difficulty levels and puzzle solving to do as well.  I don’t know exactly how all this works yet but it seems pretty fun.

The cache I found today, GC1QY29, was quite well hidden but not so much that it was too frustrating for my first attempt.  I’m going to enjoy looking for others when I have the time!

Little America

It’s been far too long since I last updated. I’m now in the second phase of ground school with a bit of spare time during lunch so I thought I’d write a little about what is happening. I passed six out of seven of my phase one exams which overall I’m really pleased with. The re-sit is an inconvenience, nothing much more.

Phase two covers general navigation, radio navigation, aircraft performance, mass and balance, air law and operational procedures.  So far it has got off to a good start, things are as intense as ever and I still find myself studying around the clock.  The school finals and JAR exams are approaching all to fast already.

Today the whole of the course, AP313, made a trip down to London to the US embassy to sort out our student visas.  The earlier you get there the better so we had appointments for 8am.  That meant we had to leave at 4am.  I woke up at 3:20am only two hours after I went to sleep.  For some reason when I know I have to get up exceptionally early I always find it difficult to get to sleep.  It really is a pain.  We drove down to Kidlington, pick up a couple of the other lads and then headed for Oxford station.  The train ride there was uneventful except for the twenty-minute delay but that still left us plenty of time to beat the queues at the embassy.  The whole operation couldn’t have gone any more smoothly.  Apart from the fact that I forgot to get the passenger discount code for the car park.  We were in, approved and out within the hour.

After that we hiked back up to Paddington station to collect our phones etc, all the stuff the embassy wouldn’t let us take in.  Not even electronic car keys are allowed.  We then hiked across Hyde Park towards South Kensington to visit the science museum.  The rest of the day was spent there before the group split.  Some stayed and some left.  I left along with a couple of others to get the 15:20 train home because the other one we had booked wasn’t until 19:00 and I would have had trouble maintaining consciousness by that point.  The journey back was great as soon as we discovered we were on the wrong tube line, switched and ended up back at Paddington, right where we wanted to be.  So that’s that.  All visad up.  Back to work.

Large Jet Turbine Engine