ADAPT & Introduction Flight

What a day. I hadn’t slept very well leading up I must admit, nothing worse than doing a test you have no idea about or have any way to prepare for. If you’re reading this in the desperate search to find some information to help like I was, then you’re in luck.

I arrived back at Australian Wings Academy for the first time in 6 years at 0830 and was kindly greeted by Carolyn Thorburn, before Chief Flight Instructor Gannon Hempel set me up to do the Online ADAPT Assessment. I was told I needed to score in the blue or higher to be accepted, no pressure or anything.

So I sat down, got comfortable and… no calculator/phone. Just good ol’ pen and paper for any working out, which made me realise there was going to be a lot more maths than I anticipated. Great. Last time I did maths this way was about 10 years ago. I filled my details into the program and Gannon left me to it so off I went, emerging two hours later. It was a lot harder than I had anticipated and add to that I was pretty out of practice with non-calculator & mental maths, so I thought I had blown it for sure.

I earnestly waited in the lobby for Gannon to finish his simulator session with another student so he could go over the results with me. Thankfully I scored in the blue! Which I think probably had a lot to do with the fact that even when I could feel I wasn’t doing so good I didn’t lose my cool and throw in the towel, but instead kept chipping away at it doing the best I could. We had a good chat, went over what the test results showed and he seemed quite happy for me to be a part of AWA. I was pretty stoked and awaited my introduction flight at 1300, using the time to call my partner Annie and my Mum for progress updates.

I waited back in the lobby until around 1300, when Jack my instructor for the introduction flight, met me. I got a visitor pass, put on a Hi Vis vest and we went out through the hanger to VH-ONW, a 1999 Cessna 172R. The BP fuel truck turned up to refuel and Jack showed me where to plug in my headset. Once the refuel was complete Jack got me to sit in the left and set my seat so I could extend the rudder pedals to their full limits while he tested the fuel. He then got in a did a hot start as the plane had just come back from a flight, then requested clearance and taxi, and we started rolling away!

We got to the run up bay and Jack checked the magnetos were both good, then got to the holding point where we were told to line up. We were then told we were clear to take off, climb, maintain 1500ft and turn right, so we did! Off we went down the runway, then liftoff! The first thing I noticed was how you were bounced around by the wind a lot more than being in a big passenger jet. Granted my senses were more alive but still, it feels a lot more connected to the atmosphere. Jack got me on the controls pretty quick which was nice, showing me how to trim, then once we got into the training area, how to turn, and how the rudder has to work in unison with the aileron for smooth balanced turns. He also showed me how to use the elevator to prevent the nose from dropping and thus descending. He then got me to practice a climb, and also work the throttle. It was really amazing, honestly if you haven’t been in a light aircraft and had a go at flying, I suggest you do, it’s unlike anything else.

You realise you are actually flying when the g-forces hit you, it made me feel very much up there in the air. Not that it didn’t without the g-force, but it was just one of those things that really brought it home for me. Jack put the aircraft into a brief parabolic arc/maneuver giving around 5 seconds of zero gravity which was pretty cool, I love that kind of stuff. Once we hit the coast Jack got me to turn around and follow the coastline back, descending lower to 500ft. What an experience, flying a plane for the first time on a beautiful day looking down and over the beaches, it was fantastic. Once we got back to Coolangatta, Jack took control and set us back down on the ground, ending a great introduction to flying. View the FightAware log here.

I headed back inside, very excited as you would expect, and had a great chat with Carolyn in her office where we spoke about the test and the flight. I was then offered a place with Australian Wings Academy! So my great day finished on a high, with a great step forward, making me more excited than ever about the future. So I’m going to be doing everything I can to get my non-calculator and mental math skills sharp, as well as reading up on as much as possible so I can hit this course as ready as one can be.

Tips on The ADAPT Test

What you have all been waiting for, so what is it? Well I won’t go detail crazy because that would defeat the purpose of the test I believe. It caught me off guard and perhaps that’s the idea of it, to test memory recall. It’s broken into four parts and they’re all done on the computer with no calculator or external resources allowed. Part one is an untimed personality profile survey, which asks a series of multiple choice questions, such as ‘Are you more like A or B?’, and ‘Do you agree with X?’ type questions. Just be honest, I was. I don’t really see the point in trying to sway the results by lying, it only hurts you in the end, and the more honest you are the more accurate the results are that can help you.

Part two was timed maths questions, some of which were fairly simple, but I’d be making sure you’re well rehearsed with multiplication, division etc without a calculator, especially if you didn’t pay a great deal of attention to it at school or aren’t the best with maths in general. Part three I can’t remember very well, sorry. I was pretty far down the rabbit hole by this point, but I remember there was abstract reasoning, verbal reasoning, and general psychometric testing. Part four was the timed FAST test which is a pretty stressful multitasking test where you have a plane that is flying itself and you must identify things outside, play a mini-game, solve questions and pay attention to everything that’s going on. It’s pretty much testing everything at once, and it’s full on.

8 thoughts on “ADAPT & Introduction Flight

      1. Hey um I’m just a high school student yet I’m not sure how to prepare. Ever since I was younger I would search up pilot schools and courses yet I don’t really know how to start. No experience but I’ll be done with high school next year and then what then? Not sure what’s next because it’s been my dream to be an airline pilot but I just don’t have anyone to help me out or give me the right facts that I’m looking for. Could you assist me on this?I am also a foreign student.

        1. Hi Bernadette, maybe take a look at local schools near where you live. I’m sure if you visit a few and express that your interested they will give you some information which will be a good start. You can also look at an airline cadetship, many offer it now so that could be an option too. If you are looking at training overseas maybe look for what airline you want to work for eventually, and see if there is any requirements that they want so you can choose a school which will give you that. There are many options and many schools, sorry I can’t be more specific. If you’re looking at Australia I’m studying with Australian Wings Academy, send them an email if you want. Best of luck!

  1. Hey Sam,my name is Samuel from Ghana and I’ve ever wanted to be a pilot ever since I was a kid but the truth is I have no one to support me and I really feel in my spirit that this is my life .I contacted an Australian friend and she told me to look for scholarship in your school can you also help in giving me a good advice that will help me achieve my aim?

    1. Hello, nice to meet another Sam! My advice would be to take a look at any airlines in your country and see if they have any cadet programs. If you have no luck then keep looking at airlines from other countries to see what cadet programs they may have, contacting them may help even by pointing you further in the right direction of who else you can contact. Try and network as much as you can. Good luck!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your journey Sam. You’ve made me feel even more confident in my decision to finally start my journey in aviation. Thank you, best of luck and keep sharing your journey✨☺️

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