Last Friday marked the end of Phase 1 of my training towards becoming a commercial pilot and obtaining my ATPL (Air Transport Pilot Licence). After 16 weeks of intensive studies, a week of mocks, a week of revision and then a week of EASA ATPL exams, I have some free time to catch up on everything. So as promised, I am now steering my website towards flying and I hope to share with you some of my experiences of training to become a commercial pilot. So to new beginnings!
Phase 1 at FTE consists of studying 8 subjects of the ATPL syllabus in order to prepare for 6 exams, over a period of 16 weeks. The subjects studied in phase 1 are: Principles of Flight, Meteorology, Instruments, Radio Navigation, General Navigation, Engines, Systems and Electrics. Despite having done my PPL, the vast majority of the content was new to me, as I come from a non aviation / mathematical / scientific background! However, Meteorology did include some of what I had studied for my Geography A-level! I have really enjoyed learning so many new things about aircraft and I can now look at the flight deck of a transport jet and actually understand what the instruments are showing! I must also apologise to my maths teacher because when I was about 14, I told her there was no point in learning about trigonometry because when would I ever have to use it? Oh how very wrong I was…! Luckily, trigonometry was one of my strong points in GCSE maths so I really liked doing G Nav once I got the hang of it!
Now it may seem I have been glued to my books for the last 4 months and although that is true to some extent, I learned the hard way that it is important to find a balance between working and relaxing. The first 8 weeks of phase 1, I worked 4 hours in the evenings and all day on the weekends! Inevitably, this meant I overstudied (yes there is such a thing!), so my routine had to change! I scheduled 1 day completely off studying every week until the weekend of week 15. I made the most of these days off by visiting places such as Gibraltar, Arcos de la Frontera, Seville and Cadiz. My favourite place was Gibraltar. Most people go there to visit the monkeys, take pictures of Africa and buy very British things. The highlight of the trip for me (and always will be whenever I go back there), was watching aircraft take off and land!
Before I knew it, 16 weeks were over and it was time to prepare for my mocks and my EASA exams. Last Thursday was my final EASA exam and my course celebrated by going out to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant in Jerez. One thing I must point out is how amazing the food is at the restaurants in Jerez and the Mexican food is the best I have ever tasted! The following day we all got our results and I am very pleased to say I passed all my exams first time. Finding out my results was the best feeling in the world and I had a massive smile on my face for the rest of the day!
Phase 1 is now done and dusted which means it is time for me to finally get back in the P1 seat in a week or so and I cannot wait!
Until next time, keep smiling 🙂