Study and Preparation for pre-Area Solo Exam

Having been a bit slack on the blogging front, current 2 lessons behind and haven’t been through the behind the scenes things that are required to support the fun flying bit.  I’ll cover that off quickly. Before I do though, the last two lessons have been formalising practical sign off for cross winds and for Practice Forced Landings (PFL).  However in the mean time, study and flying knowledge review have been filling the short period before sleep each night.

The five documents that I’ve been focused on includes:

  1. Basic Aeronautical Knowledge (BAK) – for which the exam is fast approaching
  2. Air Australia Flight Training Guide  – to re-enforce everything the Area Solo check and General Flight Progress Test practical tests are going to be reviewing
  3. Plane Operating Handbook (POH) for the Cessna 152
  4. Jandakot Visual Pilot Guide
  5. Day VFR Syllabus for Pilots

All have an important role.  In fact, the last document is key.  It provides the details of everything (theory and practical) that is required for the Area Solo and the GFPT.  So I’m literally working through this as a check list.  I’m finding a few gaps and have been cycling back on the above documents to cover them off.

The thing that is important when learning to fly in controlled airspace, is knowing all the correct procedures.  This includes all the arrival and departure points, radio calls and clearances.  It can get complicated when the airport is busy.  The Jandakot Visual Pilot Guide is gold here, it goes through everything in detail.  The Air Australia Flight Training Guide also covers it, but only the standard items.  It doesn’t really go into the exceptions.  I’m feeling pretty confident in this area and you can always ask the controller in the tower anyway. For those learning to fly in non-controlled airspace (class G), flying into controlled airspace I could imagine may appear a bit daunting for the first few times. So I’m happy I’m getting the experience now.

The other major area I’ve been focusing my study has been on the BAK. This is all the theory required for the BAK exam before doing the GFPT check flight. GFTP is the pre-navigation milestone whereby as a pilot you can take passengers up into the training area. It is a formal endorsement and a huge milestone. My goal is to achieve this by the middle of May. Anyway, the BAK goes into a lot of details on everything about the plane, airports, basic weather, human performance and other goodies. Most of these are not a real stretch if you have a mechanical mind or a good understanding of basic physics.

The other area that I know is going to be of critical importance is to know all the flying theory so that it can be put into practice in the air. After all, flying the plane is what it is all about. So far I’ve been back over all the flying lessons. Key items are memorising all the acronyms that act as a checklist for practical actions. The other is knowing all the limits of the aircraft.

To be type rated in an aircraft, you have to complete a type rating document for that aircraft. This requires you to read Plane Operating Handbook and complete all the questions. It was an exercise which I have to say was more difficult than I initially thought. The flight training manual covered alot of the key points for the Cessna 152, however on reading the official documentation there is infinite more detail. The areas I found of particular interest were the emergency procedures for the aircraft, fire situations and plane handling info. Basically you have to read the document to complete the form for the most part. What is obvious is that as you look at the POH for more advanced aircraft, it is going to be absolutely critical to have studied this document and know it well before flying the aircraft. Knowing exactly what to do when the undercarriage in your Mooney wont lower itself I would think is a good thing to know…

Anyway, the study continues. I’ll sit the Pre Area Solo test this weekend and hopefully on Tuesday afternoon I’ll get checked out by Cameron to do my area solos. Once I’ve done 3 hours of those, it is the flight test and BAK exam time for GFPT. Bring it on!

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