Well what a fairly packed week, I went on my first Nav, did my FROL, a last minute session of circuits and went to a CASA AvSafety Seminar. The Flight Radiotelephone Operator Licence, or FROL, is the first official test we’ve done, it is a timed multiple choice exam of about 20 questions. It’s pretty much to make sure you understand how the radios work, how to use them, how to do some troubleshooting and what to do if they fail. I’m lucky that a lot of the knowledge from my previous time in the entertainment industry and Rural Fire Service helped me out, particularly the fundamentals like amplitude, wavelength etc. For anyone wondering though, it’s not a particularly hard test and there is ample reading and training supplied before you sit it.
A few of us also attended a CASA AvSafety Seminar on Tuesday night which was quite interesting, I know myself and the other guys with me got a lot out of it. As someone who knows relatively little about aviation, it was good to see a different angle of the industry away from the flight school, to hear people from CASA, Airservices Australia, RAAF, Army and BoM and other private and commercial pilots. I heard about it from Jarryd, one of the Instructors at AWA who put up posters and emails to encourage students to go. Also scored a few goodies including a cool little flight planning kit with a free kneeboard!
I also got out on my first Navigation Exercise with Jack, we went from the Gold Coast (YBCG) to Casino (YCAS) via Byron Bay due to the weather. I must of planned that nav a good three of four times before actually doing it, but it was good to get the experience and practice of everything that goes into it, and I think planning up some mock Navs with the actual weather will help anyone learning when it comes to the real thing. On one of the times we were scheduled to fly but couldn’t due to weather, Jack went through and “Desk Flew” the flight on the whiteboard as if we were doing it for real, which helped a lot when it came to the real thing. The actual Nav itself was good, so much going on, it was information overload at the start, new radio calls, more interaction with Class C (Controlled) airspace and also the tasks that go along with navigating.
Once we got to Casino which is a small town to the South West of Lismore in New South Wales, we did some circuit emergencies, so glide approaches and flapless approaches in this case. I was mentally prepared for normal circuits and didn’t realise until the preflight briefing we were doing emergencies, so it took a fair amount of concentration to stay on track. Combining this with a new runway made for quite an intense flight, with a lot to soak in and consolidate. I often come out of those flights feeling pretty exhausted, it’s quite demanding mentally and physically to be switched on for a solid three hours learning new things. On the whole though, great experience, so good to be moving into what we will mostly end up doing. Flying from one place to another and learning techniques like sideslipping (a maneuver which can be used to reduce height) was great.
The week finished off with an unexpected session of circuits back at the Gold Coast, mainly consolidating normal touch and go landings along with flapless and glide approaches. A good way to finish off the week and I left feeling on quite a high. That’s it for now, I’m doing up some flight log templates at the moment and if they work out I will share them up next week.