Thursday, June 15, 2017

half way there, half time the whistle blows

Well what a day today is.
Today was the end of the ground school section of this course. The course is made up of ground school for nearly 2 weeks and then there is 2 weeks of simulator training.
(Although we have started some of the simulator training already)
So to celebrate the end of the ground school portion of the course we had an exam to test that we weren't asleep during the classroom time we have attended and that we have learnt what we have been taught. The subject matter has covered the entire systems of working of this aircraft the Global Express XRS.
So this includes the Electrical systems, Hydraulics, mechanical, jet engines, fuel systems, bleed air, air conditioning, ice protection and then all of the flying procedures including ,emergencies, navigation, performance and limitations.
Quite a lot to squeeze into a few weeks and the hours have been long and that doesn't include the weeks I did at home before I came out to try to get a base understanding before getting here.
Well I am pretty pleased that the work has paid off as we had our ground school exam today and I managed to pass it with 92% and will be cracking on with the rest of the course.
For the time being we have been given a few days off in between the sections of the course and will be meeting our new 'Flying' instructor on Monday who we will be flying with each day for the next two weeks before our final flight test, which by all accounts will be a pretty arduous affair.
For the moment though its time to take a break for 24 hours, relax and let the brain reset and prepare for the next section.

Thoughts for the day:

  • I am glad I managed to pass the exam today, I don't like exams
  • Its been great to be able to FaceTime my wife each day now due to finding out why the internet gods weren't allowing us to before 
  • I am going to treat myself to something nice for dinner tonight
  • Well as I write this I am sitting in an Irish Pub eating a curry
  • I really hope Bangladesh beat India to get into the final of the Champions Trophy
  • If Bangladesh don't beat India I won't be taking a taxi tomorrow as most of the taxi drivers here are from Bangladesh
  • I miss Naomi
  • The more I learn about this airplane the more I can't wait to fly it for real 
  • It would be really nice to hear from anyone in the comments section of the blog if you enjoy reading it


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Well thats more like it

I am chuffed to bits this evening that I managed to achieve what I was wanting to and also prove to myself that I can actually do this today.
I have to be honest and say that as I said yesterday that I feel lucky that I have a great sim partner to be on this course with.
Normally when you are doing training like this you swap between pilot flying and pilot monitoring on each flight,  James had a chat with me this morning to offer for me to get back in the flying seat again today as my confidence had taken a bit of a knock yesterday.
After our ground school session for a lot of the day we were off to the sim to Fly for a few hours. I took on the left seat again and it was night and day from yesterday.
In fact I felt the most comfortable that I have felt yet in a jet. I was able to do a lot of hand flying and intercept and fly an ILS all the way to a reasonable landing.
I am extremely grateful to James for helping to get me over this blip and I am sure there will be many more along this road, but I am happy to be smiling once again and not bruising my forehead on my desk........
For now I have to get back into the books as we have our ground school written exams on Thursday, its going to be an in-depth test on all of the days we have done in the classroom so far, from the electrical systems, hydraulics and how the air conditioning works. The maximum and minimum speed limitations for various stages of flight.......
Off to the study books I go.............

One note I would like to write is it would be lovely to hear from anyone reading this in the comments box done below, I've noticed there are people reading it in the USA, Holland and even Russia, it would be great to hear from you who ever you are.

Monday, June 12, 2017

today's the day

Since I have been away I have been really strict about what I eat and drink.
Basically I only drink water, or mint tea (hot water with mint leaves in it) and I only eat fresh food and no bread or potatoes. There's lots of lovely fresh fish and fresh meat here so thats been my staple diet with only fruit allowed in between meals.
I have avoided coffee, chocolate, deserts and sugar as much as is humanly possible.
I am embarrassed to say that prior to coming over I was the heaviest I have ever been, a mighty 110.4kgs. Obviously too heavy and unhealthy especially as I'm now passed forty and work in an industry where holding a medical certificate is very important to keeping on flying.
I am chuffed to bits today that I weighed in this morning at 106.5kg before heading off to college which is a huge loss in my mind during a few weeks and has spurned me on to keep going to get myself below 100kgs initially. (I might have a glass of wine then)
I am enjoying doing some exercise every day whether its swimming, cycling or running/x-training in the gym for a minimum of 45 mins flat out after a warm up, which to be honest seems to be as good for the brain as it does for reducing the body fat %.
I have 5 minutes to myself this morning so I thought I would follow up yesterdays post with a few pictures of what I was talking about.

Harvey is loving the rain in East Devon


Graphs graphs and more graphs






Thoughts for today:

  • I am going to have a better day today than yesterday
  • I think I might combine my gym training to a run, cycle and a swim like a mini triathlon
  • Strange to think its only 5am in the UK whilst I am writing this 
  • I really do hope I have a better day today 
  • I think I'd quite like to roll around in a muddy puddle too















Pretty glad that today is over

That was a toughie.
Not too pleased with my performance today  but I've been assured by plenty of pilots more experienced than me that you just have days like today in the sim.
I just had one of those days and will be glad to assign today to history though and just need to be better tomorrow.
I think that some days when you do intensive training like this that every now and then the brain waves a white flag.
Fortunately I have a great sim partner like James who has a few type rating courses under his belt and sat and had a good chat with me after and settled my frustration down a bit.
We spent the morning on one of the more frustrating topics for pilots to have to go through on ground school and that is Performance.
This involves a gazillion calculations using about 150 different graphs to calculate the landing distances on various runways in even more different conditions.
Then we have to work out different weights, configurations of the aircraft in lots of different temperatures. All in all pretty mind boggling when you think that all of this is done by the onboard computer on the aircraft, but just incase the computer goes on strike we have to be able to crank out the paper graphs and we will be examined on it on our ground school exam later this week.
All in all definitely not one of the days I will reflect upon once this course is over and finished.

Thoughts for the day:

  • I really enjoyed looking back over some of my Africa flying posts on my blog last night when I couldn't sleep. Its good to have a diary/blog to remind you how things were at the time
  • I really need to get wifi at home in the UK, its doing my head in not seeing Naomi
  • I'm chuffed my dog Harvey had a great day jumping in mud puddles today with his dog pals
  • Tomorrow I will be better at flying the sim than I was today

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Vancouver to Honalulu...... who'd have thought it sat here in Dubai

I'm a little disappointed today as we found out that todays lesson and simulator session with Mohamed is the las time he will be teaching both James and I.
He's been brilliant. 
A great guy to learn from. 
The kind of instructor who is instinctively able to see if you've understood something and if not comes at it from a different angle.
We are meeting a new instructor Graham. So it will be good to see how it goes with a new face.
Today was a long old day. To start with it was ground school covering the pressurisation of the aircraft and air conditioning. In technical terms it was all about Bleed Air systems and the redundancy systems that kick in if there is a failure.
We also covered some of the things that we had questions about that were perhaps a little wooly in understanding.
After that it was time for the full motion simulator with James. It was interesting as we had a flight from Vancouver to Honolulu. 
The full motion sim is amazing, within two minutes you easily believe that you are there for real. Its incredible, you are taxiing the aircraft around on the ground around the hangars and taxi ways.
After take off we went through the drills for engine fire, electrical failures and got to use the RAT which is pretty noisy. (RAT= Ram Air Turbine which deploys like a little propellor from under the aircraft in case of needing emergency power)
After the emergencies we decided not to head out over the pacific and return to Vancouver where the first landing was completed well and feel so realistic its crazy.
It felt like the start of a large learning curve today, I didn't exactly feel ahead of the plane but I didn't feel massively behind it either which was good. 
Having James there as a capable bloke next to me is great as his experience is really helpful with thousands of jet hours in his book.
We received pretty good feedback from Mohamed so all in all a good days work.
Back to the hotel after and when I got in I felt suddenly really drained, obviously the brain had been busy today, so it was off to the pool for some exercise and blow those groggy feelings away.
With that done and a good session in the steam room and a quick freeze in the plunge pool I felt loads better and ready to get some study to round up the days learning and write my notes up for revising.
Thoughts for the day:
  • Can't quite believe I've lost 3kgs in weight since I left home with exercising and healthy eating 
  • Loving flying in the sim, makes me really want to get in the real thing
  • I'm glad I worked hard before coming out here as it stood me in good stead
  • I wish I had wifi internet at the house in Honiton to be able to FaceTime with Naomi






Up and away again..... heading North, a long day and then home.....

At Starbucks in Beirut, thinking about where I'd like us to go away holiday this year The phone rings..... "Can we leave to...