ATPL Theory is done

Finally the EASA ATPL theoretical course is done and I got a certificate of completion. I can take exams in the CAA with this document.

The course was really tough. 4 months is definitely not enough without any prior knowledge, but even with some preparation it’s challenging. I took tests every day except Mondays, and I was studying about 7-8 hours per day. It was a nightmare.

From the other hand, I completed everything in less than 5 months: 4 months of online studies and 2 weeks in class. But, again, I already had some prior knowledge.

I was making some notes (actually I am still doing that), sort of condensed knowledge for each subject. Basically it’s some numbers and facts for a quick checkup before the exams. I have no more than 3-4 A4 pages for each subject, so it’s not a big deal to go through them in some minutes. I am adding some info to this website too, but I don’t have enough time for that.

ATPL Theory

It’s been a while I did not make an update, but I am still on the way to my first pilot job.

From January 2019 I am studying EASA ATPL theory subjects in a Polish flight school. Actually the online part is already finished (in April 2019), and it was very tough: you really need to study for about 7-8 hours per day to make it happen. I still did not quit my main job, so it was even worse for me. I was sleeping for about 6 hours per day on weekdays.

I had a test every day except Monday and an exam every 2 days. They are very similar, but the exam covers more topics than a test. They are all multiple choice questions.

I had a sort of day-off on Monday (the only day in a week without tests), but actually I used it to study.

Each test contains 30 questions, and the time limit is 50 minutes. It’s barely enough for General Navigation and Performance, but for other subjects it’s OK. Sometimes I needed only about 10 minutes (for example, most of Air Law questions require only knowledge).

Sometimes I submitted my result literally within the last minute (fortunately only a few times). Bu finally I made it! I made it all, and I succeeded! I can’t believe it!

Now the offline part is going on. That part lasts 2 weeks (70 hours). Every day I have offline classes in Poland.

EASA theory exams can be taken in any EASA member state. With some preparations it’s true for practical exams as well. I have 2 obvious options: Poland and Czech Republic. I prefer Czech Republic – there is less bureaucracy there, and it’s just better to fly. There are much more schools and instructors, more aerodromes, more English-speaking ATS, more aircrafts available. Czech aeronautical online services are also much better than Polish ones.

What’s next? I am going to obtain the EASA IR and CPL. And now I need to obtain a medical, renew my SEP (Single Engine Piston) rating and pass theoretical ATPL exams. Then probably MCC (Multi-Crew Cooperation) and JOC (Jet Orientation Course) – they are required for airlines. If I have some free time and money, it would be fun to get an EASA SES (Single Engine Sea).

As a result I will have standalone FAA and EASA commercial licenses. Hopefully it increase my value as a potential candidate.

And what’s now? I am going to fly, of course! It’s the greatest part of all this stuff!

ATPL – Operational Procedures

As I already mentioned, I enrolled into the online EASA ATPL theory course from a Polish flight school (Ventum Air). The course duration is 4 months, and the schedule is very tough since I have to learn 14 subjects. I have some prior knowledge – not sure whether it is even possible without it.

After Air Law and Meteorology I switched to Operational Procedures. Did I say that Air Law or Meteorology is rather complicated and require a lot of memorizing? I withdraw my statement. They are very cool and logical compared to Operational Procedures.

Basically the subject is a compilation of other EASA subjects and various ICAO documents. You should memorize tons of statements and numbers. Actually it’s not that bad as it seems, but it’s the most boring subject of the entire EASA syllabus. I just don’t like boring subjects πŸ™‚

EASA ATPL Theory

The blog is still alive, and the dream is coming true somehow. I haven’t flown more than 2 months, but I subscribed for a theory course in a Polish flight school. It is an online ATPL course with 2 weeks on-site. So, why Poland? The country is close to Russia, and the price is not very high. I have Oxford ATPL books, and I use the school’s software for studying too.

In Poland I needed a police approval for enrolling in a program, something like a TSA clearance in the US. It is not a big deal, but takes some time.

The schedule is very tight. It is a 14-weeks course, about 45 hours per week. I am studying after work, and all the weekends. The subjects contain a lot of information. Now I am studying Air Law, and basically it is a collection of facts and numbers for memorizing. I have tests every day except Monday, and some mock exams every two days. Monday is supposed to be a holiday, but I study anyway.

I also have an AviationExam subscription, and I use it too. I like the comments section, sometimes some useful mnemonics or tricks for memorizing can be found there. But I am a bit frustrated by people like ‘I don’t want to remember everything, I don’t want to learn, I cannot read the question carefully, I want just to know how to push and pull my yoke and how to engage my autopilot’. Yes, it is a lot of information, but it is not really anything too complicated, one should not be a superhero to pass these exams.

From my opinion, the good pilot should make wise decisions, know more and constantly learn. Anybody can fly the airplane, but being a pilot is much more than that. It’s about decisions and responsibility. I want to be professional and experienced, both in flying and in knowing what to do.

Anyway it’s fun: I am a student again. I am not flying, and I feel like I am pushing in my head those facts jumping on them to make them fit there πŸ™‚

For now I have a plan for 2019, and then we’ll see. Again there is no any guarantee, the schedule is tough, and it’s incredibly expensive. But it’s an adventure, and the reward is flying. It definitely worths it.

Free Flight

The blog is still alive, as like the idea πŸ™‚

Last week I traveled to Prague. It was not related to my aviation progress, but I did not want to miss the opportunity to fly while being in Europe, so I tried to find an airplane. Unfortunately I had a very tight schedule, and it did not happen.

I had a day in Warsaw though, thus I signed up for ATPL theory course there. It is a distant learning with just 2 weeks on site. I signed the papers, and now I am waiting for the Polish CAA approval.

At the aerodrome I realized that I still have some time, and there are some planes available πŸ™‚ I tried to hire a plane, but did not succeed. Neither Ventum Air nor Salt Aviation could help me with that. When I had almost lost my hope I spotted a small building with the label “Runway Pilot School”. I entered there and asked for a plane, and voila! They provided both an airplane and a safety pilot in some minutes!

I got a nice Cessna 172, but it was a fuel injection modification with 180hp engine. It has fuel pumps, and does not have carb heater. It climbs faster than I used to in C172, and it flies nicely πŸ™‚

One more flight hour, and my first flight in Poland!

AviationExam and BGS Online

My EASA ATPL written test preparation moves on very slowly. But I don care, because during this time I completed my FAA IR, and now I am working on my FAA CPL. Nevertheless, I am still interested in EASA ATPL, and I’d like to continue studying.

So, my yearly BGS Online subscription will expire soon, and I’d like to either renew it or purchase AviationExam product. Possibly anybody is interested in the EASA QB access? Group price is cheaper, and purchasing 5-10 subscriptions can save some $$$ =)

Principles of Flight

When you have a goal, it’s better to make even a small step towards that goal regularly, ideally every day.

As you probably know, I am going to be a pilot. Currently I don’t have a possibility to fly due to my job, but I am using my free time to study the EASA ATPL subjects.

Currently I am working on Principles of Flight. This subject requires some thinking, but mainly it requires memorizing. I am not so good with that kind of subjects, so I decided to study them before those which require mainly calculations.

My personal top-3 of the most difficult subjects is the following: air law, operational procedures, meteorology; but ‘principles of flight’ just follows them.

I use question banks for evaluation, and when I start a new subject, my result is around 60-70%. I am reading the books, then I am taking tests, and then I am reviewing all wrong answers using the books, and soon enough the result becomes 90% and more.

I am moving much slower that I planned: initially I supposed to take exams this summer. Currently I am pretty good only in four subjects of fourteen. Actually it is not so bad considering the fact that some subjects are relatively easy (for example, VFR/IFR Communications), but it’s still way behind the initial schedule.

On the other hand, I am still working full-time, I have a valid FAA IR with the US flight experience and 150 hours total time, and I am ready for the FAA CPL written test.

It is still difficult to make progress. I heard that the EASA ATPL theory is the most difficult part of the EASA Commercial path, and I tend to agree with that. But my motivation is strong, and I was always good in studying, especially if I am interested in the subject. It’s moving slowly, but it’s still moving anyway, and it’s worth it. The reward will be one of the most exciting things in my life.

ATPL Theory

Finally I found a school where I am going to study my theory. The school is in Poland (I already described some thoughts why I choose that country). The problem is that I have to obtain a permission (something like a TSA approval in the US), and I have to send my application in paper form, which takes some time. I sent my papers, and now I am waiting for an answer.

My meteorology results are not so bad, and I am switching to the Human Performance.

I also applied for the FAA validation of my EASA PPL to the FSDO in Miami since I am still considering that option.

Meteorology

After some studying I am not so bad in Aircraft General Knowledge. My result is still not perfect, but I have more than 80%. I am going to continue, but now it’s time to start a new subject. I chose Meteorology as the most difficult one for me as it mostly requires knowledge compared to, for example, Navigation, where I can solve lots of questions by computation.

Meteorology looks like a nightmare for me now as it contains lots of information and bunch of new terms. I had to refresh my knowledge in Geography as well. Nevertheless, it is very interesting, and I am happy that I can understand what happens in our atmosphere much better. Now it is not just beautiful clouds there but logical physical processes. Some years ago I learned some of that information in my hanggliding course, but we did not consider high altitudes then.

I am going to dedicate about 2 weeks per subject. Some subjects will require a longer (for example, Air Law or Meteorology), and others will need a shorter time (for example, Communications). I suppose that I have to maintain my streak for getting closer to my goal. Some years ago I passed Quantum Mechanics exam (my personal nightmare in the institute), so I hope that I have no fear after that πŸ™‚

Piston Engine

I am working on the ATPL theory. Currently I am studying Aircraft General Knowledge just because it is the first on the alphabetical list after Air Law in alphanumeric order, and I don’t want to learn EASA Air Law now. I am still thinking about studying in the US, and regulations differs there more than any other subject.

I have found a great explanation of Piston Engine work principle: suck, squeeze, bang, blow πŸ™‚

Actually I am pretty good in school-level physics, and I like vehicles, therefore I know how Piston Engine works. But I love that explanation πŸ™‚