The Aviator | Student Pilot Blog

Follow my journey as an airline pilot cadet

Hello, I'm James, and I'm a First Officer flying for a UK airline. The aim of this website is to share my journey through integrated pilot training, and to hopefully inspire other future airline pilots to follow their dream.

A little more about me: I started training when I was 19, I'm originally from Cheshire, UK, and I was a member of the seventh airline-mentored MPL course at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy. Our team of eight met together for the first time on 28th June 2013. During ground school we were joined by fifteen other trainee pilots, making us part of the AP351 course. Whilst we completed all of our flight training in the UK, the AP351 members of our course completed their flight training in Phoenix, Arizona.

My aim was to keep my friends and family up-to-date with my training through periodic updates to the The Aviator Blog page of my website. I always welcome questions, suggestions or contributions at any time through the Contact page. You can now also Subscribe to my blog, to receive an email when an update is posted.

Disclaimer: Personal thoughts and views expressed on this website are entirely my own, and not those of any company I may be affiliated with. Any sponsored links or advertisements on this site are managed by a third-party and are computer generated, they are not endorsements by myself or any company I may be affiliated with.

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Changing Seasons

The class is currently enjoying the weekend at a slower pace than last weekend, having just sat our mid-term Test 2 examinations on Wednesday and Thursday. These exams take place just over three weeks into our second phase of ground school, and even in such a short time-frame, a huge amount of material has been covered. My collection of revision notes has already grown larger in number than my complete first phase notes, which took around 15 weeks to compile!

To my relief, the exams went very well. With them being internally marked, our results were delivered just a few hours after our final exam. A shorter (albeit just as stressful!) wait compared to our formal EASA exam results. The class as a whole again performed strongly, with one of our instructors informing us that he'd not seen a class average as high as ours ever before in his subject! A very satisfying feeling for us all, especially only three weeks into the subject. Any areas for improvement for the class were also highlighted, giving us plenty of time to improve before our formal exams. We've now got around four weeks remaining before the end of the second season of ground school, and until our next set of exams just before Christmas.

I thought I'd upload a few images to my post today, especially with some of the interesting inclement weather we've had recently. The strong winds toward the end of October that swept through the south of the country hit Oxford at around 6am on the Monday morning. Reliably informed this was due to a deep low pressure out in the North Atlantic, my knowledge of meteorology (a first phase subject) was put to good use with my barometer at home registering around 974hPa. Geeky, I know!

Low pressure means convergence and uplift, and bad weather in this case!

Earlier this week, we were also treated to prevalent radiation fog across London Oxford Airport. Well expected over large expanses of flat land, and therefore common over airfields, radiation fog is usually formed overnight. The low cool, moist air is trapped below an inversion layer, and is strengthened by weak low-level winds of around 5kts (anything stronger would cause mixing of the air, and dissipation of the fog). If my meteorology instructor is reading this; I hope I've remembered all this correctly! The photo below was taken around 0830L, around an hour and a half after sunrise.

Radiation Fog over London Oxford Airport

The final photo was taken on Thursday night, and is a peek inside the enormous marquee that was constructed outside our accommodation on the airport this week. This space was used to full advantage yesterday for the Airline Pilot Career Day, and also for a graduation ceremony for previous courses. More information on CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Career/Open Days can be found here

I'm not sure this image does justice to the huge expanse of space!

I can't wait for the AP351/EZY07 graduation ceremony, even if it will be well over 12 months away! In the nearer future, something to look forward to for EZY07 is a day visit to the onsite Bombardier CRJ200 simulator this week. It's an impressive piece of kit which we'll each be spending 90 hours flying during 2014, as part of our flight training.

 Classes resume tomorrow as we enter the final weeks of ground school. The flying phase is in sight. Best get back to it!

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