Free Flight

The blog is still alive, as like the idea 🙂

Last week I traveled to Prague. It was not related to my aviation progress, but I did not want to miss this opportunity, and 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 Polish CAA approval.

At the aerodrome I realized that I still have some time, and there are some planes 🙂 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 Cessna 172, but it was 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 🙂

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 is close to ending, 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 $$$ =)

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

ATPL Theory

I still did not choose a school for my theory, and my license is still pending, but I am planning a next trip to Europe. I hope that my docs will be ready in one-two weeks, and I’d like to get a first-class medical. It is a requirement for ATPL, and I’d like to be sure that I fit. Additionally I’d like to visit the school, and probably fly some more hours.

I have to stay in the Russian countryside for some weeks, and I miss airplanes. I don’t see any reason to study in Russia now because the flight hour prices are the same, but there are only a few authorized schools, and nobody allows me to fly solo. I am not talking about large institutions, because they require at least three years just for about 200 flight hours, which is not affordable for me. I already have a higher education in Math, and I can easily obtain a Commercial License in some months, therefore 3 years are too long, and 200 hours are too low. I suppose that about 5-7 years ago I could consider that path, but not now.

The time is passing, and while I cannot fly, I still can study. I ordered some books from Oxford Aviation Academy, and signed up for Bristol Ground School question banks. I am going to take at least one test per day, and, of course, read the books. I’d like to pass the exams before winter, but not sure that it is real.

I study a lot. At least 4 hours per day for books and questions. I am still working full-time, that’s why it is not easy at all. I also continue to listen liveATC, and I still not so good in listening, especially in a busy environment.

Apart from airplanes, I study Spanish. It allows to keep my mind in shape.

Now I feel like a student again: lots of information, lots of tasks, a few time for sleeping. Now it’s OK because I am not flying, and I try to use my time efficiently.

ATPL

I have just finished my PPL, and now I am thinking about the next steps. The US seem very attractive, but it is too far. During my PPL from April to June I had to return to Moscow at least twice. It is not so easy to do that if I was in the US, especially if we are not talking about NY or LA. The other problem is transportation, because in Europe I can go by car, and easily commute to the airport by myself. And, finally, I am not totally sure about the FAA license applicability somewhere outside of the US.

The US is an English-speaking country though, and it has a much more interesting airspace, there is a possibility of internship, written tests there are much easier. I do not know exactly, but I heard and read a lot about it.

As usual, while I am thinking, nothing happens. That’s why I decided to take a distance ATPL theory course. It usually requires two weeks of on-site training, but it does not matter at all. At the end it can be useful even if I go to the US.

I made a small research, and found two large services: Bristol Ground School and CATS. I also found AviationExam, which is very impressive, but it is only a question bank.

I decided to buy ATPL books, QB from BGS and AE for practicing, and found the school in Czech or Poland, because I am going to take exams there.

I also found an interesting fact: the exam price is different in different countries! In spite of EASA (practically you have the same license regardless of a country where you passed your exam), for example, in UK it will be about 1000$, but in Poland it will be about 200$. Ground school prices also vary between countries. I am not sure that UK instructors are better than Polish or Czech, and I am not going to fly only in the UK, which is why my decision about Czech or Poland became even more solid.

I am looking for Bristol paper books, because I love paper books. Of course I have electronic subscription, but it is not a dichotomy: I can have both. I also like AviationExam and BGS Online question banks.

I considered Lithuania as well, because it is closer to Moscow, but I did not find any good school for foreigners there. I considered Hungary, but I don’t see significant advantages compared to Czech or Poland. They have attractive rates for time building though.

I chose a modular way, and I am going to try flying in different countries. I consider Germany, Greece, Spain, Hungary, Czech. It depends on weather, price and my free time 🙂

Now I am waiting for replies from different schools, reading Oxford books and looking for Bristol books. I am moving on 🙂