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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Back to the Classroom

My course is now two weeks into ground school, and I for one cannot believe how quickly these last two weeks have gone.

We've made strong progress into the first phase of subjects covered by the ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License) theory syllabus, these are:

  • Aircraft General Knowledge - Instrumentation
  • Aircraft General Knowledge - Systems
  • Human Performance and Limitations
  • Principles of Flight
  • Meteorology
  • VFR Communications
  • IFR Communications

Ground school lasts approximately 26 weeks, and is split into two phases. For my course, the seven subjects above are due to be examined around the beginning of October (now in just 13 weeks time!), whilst the remaining seven subjects are taught and examined over the latter 11 weeks of ground school.

 As you may have seen, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy provide each of us with the necessary text books and equipment required for the exams.


Safe to say the cellophane has now been removed...

So far, I've found each of the subjects to be interesting, even though some classes can be demanding. To put just one of the exams into perspective, the "Aircraft General Knowledge - Systems" exam lasts for two hours and is comprised of 80 questions from three textbooks (over 1100 pages of theory!)

The syllabus is taught over seven 1-hour lessons per day, five days per week. The classes progress at a fast pace, although the highly-motivated instructors ease our understanding. Some of the lessons during the week are known as "Computer Based Training", where we follow interactive video clips in one of the computer suites, to reinforce our knowledge of a subject before taking a short quiz.

During the past week of glorious weather (largely due to blocking anticyclones - as we learned in Meteorology!), I've been fortunate enough to spend time with my course mates outside school, as well as admiring the various aircraft operating out of London Oxford Airport. It's easy to remind ourselves what the hard work is all about.

It's also becoming very apparent how important working well as a team is to our course's combined success. Even in these early stages, we're helping each other out where we can. I've met 22 great people over the last two weeks, and I'm glad to be sharing a course with all of them.

Finally, I'm always happy to hear from others through my blog, so please get in touch if you've got any questions or even if you'd like to make a contribution. You can:

My class has now got just over four weeks until our first set of internal exams. Which for me, means spending less time smiling for photos and more time revising!


In other news, AP351/EZY07 made this guy their course representative. I'll do my best!

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