Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Emerald Isle - week 1

Having arrived home last week and enjoyed a few days in the UK it was time to head out for the next stage of the training - the Instrument Rating.

The Instrument Rating (IR) is designed to train pilots how to fly solely by the use of instruments they have in front of them using navigational aids along their route of flight. As we in the north west of Europe are so lucky to live in such a climate where clouds are predicted almost daily it was only right that the training would be conducted in this region.

Waterford, Ireland. A small city on the south east coast and the home of The Pilot Training College. I headed out on a flight from Birmingham on Sunday afternoon. It was great to see and experience the aircraft I'll hopefully be flying in only a few months. It was the first time I have been on the plane and it looked like a fun piece of kit!

The journey over was short and I was soon in windy Waterford. The housing here is far better than we experienced in the US and the PTC facilities this week have been fantastic.

The week began on Monday with an induction day. We were shown the building, the simulator we would be working in over the coming weeks, what is expected of us and we finished the day with a one hundred question hand written paper.

It certainly opened my eyes as to the level of knowledge expected and I must say scraping the back of the mind for a few of the topics that I hadn't seen in months was a bit of a challenge! The idea of this is for PTC to see at what standard of knowledge the students coming over from Florida currently retain and for we as students to understand where our knowledge level should be at. A very useful exercise and I would advise anyone coming over from the US in the near future to do a bit of study before arriving!

Tuesday through Friday we revisited a number of subjects studied during our ATPLs and developed further on flying 'under the hood' as it is known. 

This was mainly focused on starting to read and understand 'plates.' A plate is in simple terms a detailed diagram listing everything you could possibly need to know about flying a certain departure or approach into an airport. Everything from the route to the highest obstacle will be within an A5 sized document. These are extremely useful (and pretty much a necessity!) to pilots when conducting their flights.

This weekend will involve quite a bit of study in coming to terms and revising previously understood material as well as a lot of new concepts.

Thoroughly looking forward to getting in to the simulator later this coming week and I'll be sure to keep you updated as to how it goes!



  1. Nice blog!
    How did you find the ATPL subjects? how hard were they? you obviously did great from what I've seen getting above 90% in all of the subjects I believe? but I know a couple of guys who really are struggling (one of them failed). I think the pressure is intense. so many subjects in a little time! I still didn't start, but I'm really worried about that. how did you keep up? study everyday? thanks congrats on passing them mate.

  2. Hey,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I found the ATPL subjects manageable, studying everyday is a necessity and in the weeks up to the final exams a significant number of hours every day is needed.

    They are quite intense but are very manageable, just be sure to study hard.

    Hope that helps!