Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Let's have no false modesty

I got 93% on my 1st RT exam. Delighted, of course.

To celebrate, am thinking of treating myself to half an hour of helicopter flying at Conington, which is where I am doing the exams and have been doing ground school with Richard Naish.

Afterwards we did several hours' groundschool, including a dry run of the practical exam, which is both harrowing and exhilarating. You "fly" an aeroplane (well, set it on a heading with tiny mouse-corrections, which can be a bit tricky) on a computer simulation of a route, while following a plan on a chart, and have to make all the correct calls to the various types of Air Traffic Controllers along the route.

The simulator has a compass (and heading controls), a Transponder, an altimeter and a radio and you wear a headset and talk to the examiner who is sitting in front of another display in another room. The route is flown in real-time (though you can speed it up- but not slow it down!). Along the route you have to do a Pan-Pan call in response to something flagged-up and you have to do a Mayday, request frequency changes, make an RDF call, do a Matz penetration and fly in Class A controlled airspace, report positions and divert to another airfield when your destination is unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances. The exam starts when you climb into the plane and request engine start and ends when you switch off at the other end!

No wonder it is meant to be the trickiest flying-related exam there is!

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