Sim sessions and more

These past couple of weeks have seen sim sessions be like buses – you wait ages for one and then a few come at once. Okay, I know that’s not the exact saying, but it sums up my point!
I’ve been on the course now for 4 months and in that time, we had a simulator session a couple of weeks in and after that we didn’t go back in. But in the past two weeks, I’ve been in twice! Once just because our instructor wanted to get us flying and a second time for actual educational purposes (not that flying into the Tower at London Gatwick isn’t educational!)

This week’s sim session was fantastic. We ended up taking a flight from the middle of Wales up to Caernarfon, out to Wallasey, up towards Blackpool and then turned around to come back down towards Bristol. We ended the session by doing a bad weather NDB approach into Bristol Airport.
To put the approach in simple terms, flying through the clouds until 250ft above the ground and only using an instrument that points towards the airport to navigate on.
You can see how it went by heading over to the videos page where there’s a video of the approach. (Direct Link)

But I can’t see us going into the sim again before we head off to New Zealand as we only have 9 more teaching days to go – a scary thought. And in these 9 days, we have two subjects to cover, Ops and Human Performance.
Now it really is just a case of buckling down with the work and just keep it all ticking over because due to the more practical nature of this second module, I fear that neglecting one subject in favour of another could make it difficult to pick up the neglected subject again. All it means is a lot of hard work for the coming weeks – but if it means passing the exams, I guess it’s worth it.

Where does time go?

Whilst this sounds like the start of a laborious rhetorical question that could be found in a science journal, it’s a question that I seem to be asking myself an awful lot at the moment.

Since starting the course back in September, time has just seem to have flown by with my first set of exams coming and going in what seemed like much less than two and a half months and now the second set of exams are just just over 5 weeks away and we’ve nearly finished all of the groundschool material for them.
That means that in just six weeks time, we’ll have finished all 14 ATPL Theory exams – scary!

But back in the present, Radio Navigation is the next subject that we have tackled in the classroom, with us being taught about all the navigation aids that we’ll use in the cockpit. And as our instructor knows it’s hard to visualise it all in the classroom, he’s booked the simulators out for the afternoons and evenings of next week.
I’m getting to go in on Tuesday with a session at 1915 that should last about two hours. It’ll be good to get to use the instruments hands on and have a go at using them for real – and flying instrument approaches into airports!

All the fun aside, in my opinion it’s a fantastic way to learn and I wish we could do it more often, but obviously there is only limited simulator time and it has to be prioritised towards those on the AQC and Type Rating courses.