We've all had a crazy childhood dream and mine was becoming an airline pilot. Many young people who aspire a flying career are unaware of the content of flight training and the preparations which are needed. On November 23rd, 2015 I started my ATPL(A) training. Time to realize my childhood dream. I'd like to take you along on an adventure and I'll happily answer all your questions on the way. Let's do this!
March 21, 2016 - Four months ago I started my training to become an airline pilot together with 17 other students. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, but it was all worth it in the end! Hard work pays off so now I can only say: off to phase 2!
In the previous blog post you read more about the School Finals, the internal exams we have to pass before going to the official ones for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Not everyone passed on first try, but in the end, we all received a 'Go for EASA'.
EASA Phase 1
We had already studied our books thoroughly for the School Finals, but EASA requires us to do something extra. AviationExam, an online database filled with thousands of questions, is a great preparation for the exams. It allows you to test your knowledge and if you're lucky you might see some of those questions appear on your actual exam. A win-win situation!
Our promotion was split into two groups for the exams, but I'm not sure why to be honest. This is what my planning looked like:
- Tuesday: Aircraft General Knowledge – 9:00 to 11:00 / Human Performance – 13:30 to 14:30
- Wednesday: Instrumentation – 9:00 to 10:30
- Thursday: Principles of Flight – 11:30 to 12:30 / Meteorology – 15:00 to 17:00
- Friday: VFR Communications – 10:00 to 10:30 / IFR Communications – 11:00 to 11:30
An EASA employee came all the way from Gatwick to our school in Brussels to take our exams and keep an eye on us. Every morning would start with the same speech concerning all the rules and regulations in order to prevent any misunderstandings.
“You are now in exam conditions and silence must be observed at all times.”
After she said that sentence you'd usually hear some big sighs. Now things were getting very real. Filling in the exam would be a race against the clock, but we were well-prepared. It was just a matter of staying calm and concentrated.
Finding the right balance between studying and sleeping wasn't too easy either. Should I go over those difficult chapters again or should I go to sleep to have a fresh mind in the morning? All in all the exams went just fine, but the results still had to come...
After finishing our last exam on Friday morning we were told that we would get the results later that day. After waiting a couple of hours we realized that we wouldn't see any results until after the weekend. On Monday morning I was at Brussels Airport for an event when one of my colleagues texted me to say the results had arrived, exciting!
I was quite nervous for some of my results, but then I saw that I passed every exam. What a way to start the day! With a big smile on my face, I went home to tell my parents the good news!
Now it's time for some days off and next Tuesday we'll be starting phase 2.
The online database we used, Aviation Exam, exists of a little over 13.000 questions. There are somewhere around 8.000 questions to practice for the Phase 1 exams. Now you're probably wondering why someone would be crazy enough to do all of them, but the answer is rather simple: EASA.
Aviation Exam is a database which is made by students. You can place comments on questions you don't understand and it usually doesn't take long until you get an answer. On top of that, you can create your own tests and exams which is a great feature if you ask me. You're able to work at your own speed and that's also a great advantage of this database.
There are many other databases available online, but let me tell you this: you need them. They're perfect for studying and teach you how to solve multiple choice questions. In my opinion, it is an essential studying platform if you want to pass the exams.
I can't say too much about the second phase yet, but here's a list of the books we'll be studying very soon.
- Mass and Balance
- Flight Performance and Planning
- Operational Procedures
- Air Law
- Radio Navigation
- General Navigation
Phase 2 should be more practical and that's something I look forward to. Once I've had every new course I will make a short overview of what to expect and what I think about them.
If you have any further questions about my training, feel free to leave a comment below. See you next week!
You can find the other articles in this series on this page
Cover picture: Elias Hadjari