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!
November 4th, 2016 - On July 29th I went up in the Piper Archer for the first time. After 96 days, 74 flights, 207 landings and almost 130 flight hours it was time to say goodbye. PT4 has passed which means it's now time for a new airplane!
The fourth and last test with the Piper Archer is mostly about holdings and approaches. We'll learn all about these things in Oxford during the Instrument Rating, but the basics are taught in Arizona.
As usual, we started with a theoretical test. This time we discussed the approach plate and how to decode it. No surprises and a good start of the last test!
Throughout the bigger part of the test, we have to wear a hood. This prevents us from looking outside and forces us to trust our instruments. The examiner takes care of the communication and makes sure to look outside at all times. Safety first!
The picture above is an example of an approach plate. Here we can find all the information we need for us to successfully fly an approach. It also shows us the hold, but what's that exactly?
A holding can be seen as a race circuit in the air. These are normally used to keep airplanes in a certain airspace. This allows air traffic controllers to guide the airplanes more easily in a busy environment.
As long as you follow the procedures and do what the examiner asks there isn't much that can go wrong during PT4. Most students say it's the easiest test and I can agree with that.
The last part of the test is about stalls and unusual attitudes. The stalls were the same as those for PT3, but this time we couldn't look outside. Seems like we can't always enjoy the good weather!
During the unusual attitudes, I was asked to look down while the instructor put the aircraft in well... an unusual attitude. This is usually a high or low nose attitude. After hearing "You have controls" it's time to look up, quickly assess the situation and bring the airplane back to straight and level flight.
Once all the maneuvers had been done we returned to Falcon Field. In the briefing room, I received those holy words again. "Good job today. I will consider this flight a full pass."
Goodbye Archer, hello Seminole!
The last part of my training in Arizona has begun. I will now be flying the Piper Seminole, a twin-engine aircraft with 180hp on each side. CPL, here I come!
We don't always have to study and together with a few friends I drove to the Grand Canyon! The perfect place to realize how small you are. A beautiful place I'll never forget!
If you have any further questions about my training, feel free to leave a comment below. See you next week!
Story series: Road to the Right Seat
Follow student pilot Bob's journey to the right seat of an airliner!