I like them. Clear and structured, in question-and-answer format.
I am in doubt. I feel that generally I am ready for FAA CPL written test, but I’d like to test myself with some question bank. I went through official FAA materials, and I am pretty confident in the subject. I need QB just for sure.
With EASA it was very simple: there are only 2 providers (bgsonline and aviationexam), and both are really cool.
So, after some research I found these services:
- sheppard air. It seems that it is a leader in terms of materials quality, but they don’t have web-version, and work with a very limited number of platforms. I am also not sure about UI.
- ASA. Users’ feedback is pretty good, slightly worse than sheppard but acceptable. But they have android verison, online version, offline version… Possibly it can be a better option.
- Dauntless. I found some mentions, but nothing more. Not sure about it.
- Gleim. It was great for my IR, but not sure about CPL.
- Aviationexam. I mentioned it just because it is great in terms of UX/UI, and EASA QB is also perfect. But I am not sure that it is good for FAA test preparation: just 610 questions.
Possibly somebody has any experience with these providers? How good is sheppard? Is it worth to use my old forgotten win environment?
Long time passed since my previous post, but that’s only because almost nothing was happening. I am studying a lot, it’s really hard to remember all this stuff. I didn’t have much free time, but when I did, I was looking for the best American flight school.
Finally I found the option which satisfied me enough, and I’m in progress of getting I-20 for M1 visa. I decided to obtain an Instrument Rating in the US.
I’m not going to stay in the US for a log time since I still have a job in Russia, but I’d like to obtain a Commercial License there. I am almost sure that I will have to come more than once for that, so I am talking about Instrument Rating only for now.
Since I cannot speed up the visa process, I am studying and gaining money for my training. I am going to get my EASA license as well regardless of the FAA one.
As I probably mentioned, I want to continue my flight training in the US for various reasons: native English ATC, easy CPL written test compared to the EASA one, and, of course, cheap flight hours compared to Europe… The main reason is that I don’t want to stay on the ground while I’m studying my EASA subjects, so I can obtain a FAA IR, and those hours will count towards my total flight time. Moreover, due to less expensive prices I can make it entirely in the airplane, which looks beneficial compared to a simulator.
Today I got a verification letter from the FAA. It is valid for 6 months, so I am applying for the US visa. After than I will be able to do nothing but wait.
At a first glance it looks better to study the EASA theory in Moscow now if I want to obtain the EASA license. But the simplest way is not always the best one: I believe that with a Russian passport I need both EASA and FAA licenses since I don’t want to miss any opportunity. If some door opens for me, I want to be prepared before it will close.
Anyway, it looks like a great adventure, probably the greatest one in my life so far. We should do whatever we want to do. I love flying, so I should go flying again 🙂
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.
Today I got my first class medical certificate. For pilots there are two classes in Europe: the first one is the highest, and without it one cannot work as pilot. Before that I had the second one because it is cheaper and totally enough for a private pilot certificate (which one I have now).
Initial first class medical usually should be taken only in a hospital. Then it’s possible to go to aeromedical examiner (some doctor approved by the CAA). I’ve never had that certificate, so the only option was a hospital.
There is only one approved hospital for that in Czech Republic. I made a call, and it turned out that the earliest date when I can do that is August, 14. I supposed to be in Moscow that time, so I started my small research where I else I can get my medical. The closest options were Austria, Poland and Hungary.
I chose Poland. They were ready to make the examination without booking in advance, the price was about 150 euros, and Warsaw is on my way home. For example, in Austria you should pay around 500 euros.
There were no queues, the doctors are nice and professional, and the whole thing took about 4 hours. The result was ready at the same day.
Almost all doctors were not speaking neither English nor Russian. The only doctors who spoke English were the ophthalmologist and the therapist, but anyone else spoke slow and clear in Polish so I could understand them pretty well. For all procedures they also provided instructions in English, so I did not have any problem at all. Now I have an impression that I could learn Polish with a very little effort if I want, it seems very familiar to Russian.
So now I know that I am fit, and it’s really great: I can continue my studies to achieve a higher level!
As you know, now I am flying for meeting flight time minimums (and for fun, of course). That means that it does not matter a lot where to fly, so today I have a really useful task: I should fly the airplane to the mechanics for a scheduled maintenance.
While reading my preflight checklist I figured out that the flaps do not deploy. OK, let’s think: take-off is not a problem at all (long concrete runway), but what about landing? We have an 1.2 km runway at the destination. Aircraft weight is OK: I am alone, I don’t have any bags and I still didn’t have breakfast. So landing should be totally OK, I will even have some safety margin, and technicians will have more chances to find the problem. I called the flight school boss and explained the situation. He agreed that it is not a big deal, so I could fly.
It’s so cool to takeoff from some gloomy place and then enter a sunny area!
Flaps magically got back to normal upon arrival, so it was just normal landing. Technicians could not find anything wrong with them as well. Just in case I made 3 additional circuits, and everything was OK.
I flew to another school base (LKRO), and then back to the home base. Flaps worked as they should.
Today I gained my first 100 flight hours!
Today it is not possible to fly. The weather radar shows dense clouds, and for me it means that I should wait for a better weather.
Basically the weather radar shows water droplets concentration. Red areas mean very high amount of water, which usually means that there is a thunderstorm in that area. Then from higher to lower is yellow, green, blue and violet.
Today we can see something like this:
I hope that it will be better by tomorrow morning.
I supposed to fly early in the morning, but it did not happen: the airplane did not have enough fuel, and the fuel service is usually available only in the afternoon. Anyway I needed some more sleep.
I took off in the afternoon. During the flight I noticed that the ground speed is way less that the airspeed. It means that I had a strong headwind, which means that I would fly faster on my way back. Today I chose a direct route from one point to another.
I found one more abandoned aerodrome on my way and made some photos.
The wind was strong, but there were not so much crosswind and no gusts as well, so the landing was smooth.
Today was really hot. I suppose that it was up to 40 degrees celsius in a sunny areas, so I experienced a longer takeoff run and a slower climb: hot air really affects the airplane performance.
On the way back I landed on some airfield where I owed a landing fee previous time, and finally paid it today. I felt some gusts, so it was safer to approach with a higher speed: the airplane was more stable.
When I returned to the home base the wind became almost calm, and the landing was very easy and smooth. Very nice flight!
Every pilot should have some minimum flight time before taking an exam. For the modular commercial pilot program in Europe it should be 200 hours (total time). Now I am continuing gaining these flight hours.
Today I decided to go to the North-West where I found a nice aerodrome with a concrete runway. I already mentioned that I like them some more than grass runways.
It was supposed to be a sort of circle: to the West of Prague on the way forward and to the East on the way back. It’s more interesting, and the route distance is almost the same.
I am still a little nervous about controlled airspaces and talking with ATC, so it’s better to avoid crowded CTRs for now and practice somewhere else, for example, in Karlovy Vary.
In summer there are usually some thunderstorms around. I found one cell to the west of my route, but not so close to be dangerous, so I just took some photos.
Czech is really beautiful for sightseeing, especially from the air. I photographed a nice golf-club and an old windmill on the route.
I used to empty aerodromes. Small aerodromes in Czech are usually uncontrolled, and nobody is there, especially after 6 pm. Today it was different, and somebody answered on the radio. I was some unexpected communications practice 🙂
On the way back some clouds started to form. Not the turbulent ones, but it is still not so good if they are low. Of course I checked the weather before departure, and nothing seemed wrong, but it’s always better to check one more time if needed. I asked the controller, and he confirmed that nothing special is expected enroute, which was really good, because I am not allowed to fly at night yet. If the weather becomes bad, I could get stuck until morning.
I landed about an hour before twilight. One more outstanding day!