First Few Days

I can’t believe how fast the past few days have gone by.  Two weeks ago I was in Gunlock, Utah; one week ago I was in Paris, France; and this week I’m in Oxford, England.  On Thursday I arrived here at Eynsham Hall, a fantastic place out by North Leigh – about six miles from the airport.  There is another guy here on my course and a good bunch from other courses both pre- and post-Goodyear (foundation flight training phase).

Friday was a nice easy day, we had a couple of presentations and then came the hardest part of the day – getting our uniforms and making sure they fit.  Everything went according to plan except my jacket.  I ordered the medium and it was a bit too medium so I swapped it for a large.  It’s a smart uniform, I think most uniforms are supposed to be smart!  I’ve since ironed all the shirts and don’t want to do that again any time soon.  After lunch we had an induction at the gym and then we were free to go.  Oh yeah, we also got our flight cases.  They contain all sorts of stuff that we don’t need until the flying stage like the fuel tester and high-vis jacket.  The also contain stuff that we will need during ground school – calculator, some kind of navigation computer (like a super cool slide rule) and some other basic instruments.

That’s not exactly where I’m staying, that’s the main building.
I’m in one of the outer buildings, Eynsham Court, which is still
excellent.

Monday was another steady day.  We had another couple of presentations, they went over in greater detail the contents of the course so we could get an idea of the schedule and what was expected of us exam-wise.  Another job for the day was collecting the fourteen ground school books (picture coming soon).  I’m sure you can imagine what fourteen books look like anyway.  Ground school started too, the instructors were kind enough to give us a gentle intro.  For our first lesson on piston engines we spent the first ten minutes in the classroom and then went out to one of the hangars for a look at some of the aircraft in maintenance.

P1070793Trainee pilot?  I don’t feel like a pilot yet.  I’m sure
as ground school progresses and I learn some things
that pilots need to know – things will change.

We had a full day of ground school today.  We had two lessons on piston engines, two on human performance, one on DC electrics and one on flight instruments.  I have used piston engines for years without fully appreciating the amount of work that has gone into them.  I am amazed to see how many things had to be taken into consideration.  I’d love to go onto detail but there just isn’t time.  It’s well worth looking up.  I was similarly amazed in the flight instrumentation lesson when we were learning about considerations required to be taken into account when designing a temperature gauge.

I wonder how long it took them to design and refine this.  It is designed so it can take an accurate reading in almost any situation – it has anti-icing, it removes moisture from the air and can take an accurate reading using a method I’m not sure how to describe in a few words on a blog.  It suffices to say that I’m amazed.  Along with the engine and the temperature sensor, I was amazed when we looked at the human circulatory system in the human performance lesson.  The detail of the system and all the various situations it can compensate for leave no doubt in my mind that it had an incredible Designer.

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