14 ATPL Passes – New Zealand here we come!!

Hello…. I’m back!

Apologies for being quite quiet for a couple of months, but once again Ground School demanded my full attention and I haven’t really had a chance to update you on what has been happening. After finishing our last week of Ground School lessons in early December, we had a few days before sitting our final seven mock exams just before Christmas. In module two, I found General Navigation and Performance the most challenging as they contain a lot of practical questions and include some pretty complex theory when compared with Module 1. Performance (A.K.A Principles of Flight V2) involved use of the CAP graphs and tables, which provide a graphical means of working out things such as landing distances, take off distances, accelerate stop distances (the list goes on)! There are two more CAP manuals for Mass and Balance and Flight Planning, with the latter also requiring the use of our Jeppesen manuals, which include SID/STARS (standard instrument departures and arrival routes) and low and high area maps and charts (which you can see in the pictures below).

A weekend of Flight Planning
Jeppesen SID

Our final exams started on January 6th, which meant that we had the Christmas/New Year period to contend with. Christmas can prove to be a big distraction, but with New Zealand so close we all knuckled down and focussed on the task in hand. I was home for just three days over Christmas, and spent my time seeing family and friends (and the odd test on ATPLonline, of course) before returning to Southampton for ten days of solid revision before the start of exams. The revision period came and went very quickly, with even New Years Eve spent at our desks working through exam questions. ATPL Ground School really does demand a lot of work, and so we rarely spent time out or away from our desks. Pretty soon, it was time for the real thing, and the exam timetable was split in a very similar fashion to our Module 1 exams. On the Monday, we had Performance and Mass & Balance followed by Flight Planning and Operational Procedures on Tuesday, General Navigation and Radio Navigation on Wednesday, and Human Performance on the Thursday to finish on. For me, the exams were a mixed bag; a couple were just as I had expected, but a few (in particular on the first day) were pretty challenging, with a number of new question styles and some tough theory areas covered. Thankfully, the week passed as quickly as it had arrived and we were then treated to something you rarely experience in Ground School: free time!

Goodbye Ground School!
Goodbye Ground School!

After a well earned night out in Southampton on the Thursday and a relaxing weekend off, we had our second Airline Preparation Day on the Monday. The day was delivered by a former British Airways pilot, and followed on from APD1 (which you complete prior to starting Ground School) by teaching us more of the ‘soft skills’ and CRM methods required in the airline industry. We also had a talk with two cadets who had recently returned from New Zealand, which gave us a fantastic insight into what awaits us when we begin the flying phase in just a few weeks time. The following day was to be our last day at Nursling (until August that is), where we had the first of our modules delivered by EasyJet themselves. The session lasted for about four hours, and gave us an introduction to the airline, a brief look at some of the operating procedures used in day to day operations, as well as the answers to any questions we had about the course or simply the job itself. It was a really enjoyable couple of days, that got our heads out of exam mode and into airline pilot mode! After that, those of us who hadn’t yet moved out had the evening to finish packing up our things and prepare for the move back home.

Goodbye Elmside!
Goodbye Elmside!

I have now been back at home for two weeks, relaxing after the intensity of the exam period by catching up with friends and family. It has, however, been pretty tense waiting for results, but today I was thrilled to find out that I have passed all of my module two exams meaning I finish ground school with fourteen first time ATPL exam passes! I’m absolutely ecstatic!! We now have just under two weeks before we jet off to New Zealand, so it’s time to get out the suitcase and begin packing.

Once again, I sit here in amazement at just how quickly the past six months have passed. I’ll make no secret of the fact that Ground School is challenging; the workload is huge, and the pace of the course is pretty relentless. It’s six months of hard work, stress and long nights, but you find that the your course mates make the whole thing a lot easier to cope with, and the rare nights and days out are really good fun!

Thank you all for the continued interest in my blog, which has now received over 11,000 views (and counting)! Thankfully, I will now have a lot more to post about, with the flying phase starting when we touch down in New Zealand. As I’ve mentioned before, we will be flying the Cessna 172 (G1000 equipped) for our VFR flight training, as well as some flight time in the FNPT II simulator, before returning to the UK where we will spend a couple of weeks at Bournemouth flying the DA42. We then transfer onto the 737 simulator for asymmetric flight and some more upset recovery, before heading onto the A320 simulators. All being well, we will be transferred over to EasyJet next January! Exciting times!

That’s about all from me, my next update will be in a couple of weeks time. Speak soon,


CTC Cessna 172

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