This week was spent firmly on the ground going ever deeper into the theory of aviation. We looked at a range of things from Aircraft General Knowledge which is how things like the engine, electrical system and instruments work. Meteorology which is all about the weather, how it forms and how to read forecasts and reports and apply that to flying. Navigation which is reading, planning and understanding charts/maps, wind and how it affects your heading, fuel, air and ground speeds and more, so probably an important skill to have. It probably sounds quite daunting and overwhelming, all these new ideas and concepts coming at you for the first time, all of which are quite varied from one another.
So most students I have spoken with tend to have subjects they love and subjects they hate, for me I don’t think I really have any preferences yet. Aircraft General Knowledge or AGK has probably been the easiest for me so far, I’ve been into and worked with heavy machinery and cars for as long as I can remember so the idea of pistons, spark plugs, ignition systems and all that doesn’t phase me. It doesn’t mean you can be complacent though because there is always something to learn, aircraft are their own beasts and while there are some similarities to cars, trucks and other machinery, many many things are completely different. I love it though, I’ve always been one of those people who starts reading one page on Wikipedia and ends up with 20 different tabs open within half an hour.
If you like learning about different things, and can grab concepts quickly then you will love it. You have to make sure you keep focused though. I know for me I have to keep my mind on the job when the instructor is delivering a brief, often they can be quite long but you have to push on and stay on track. If you lose focus for just 30 seconds you can completely miss something, sometimes you don’t quite get it the first time so ask the instructor to repeat it again for you, I do, we all do, you have to, I don’t think anyone can soak it all in without asking a question or needing something explained again. You have to be that kind of person who can push themselves to stay focused rather than glaze over and day dream or I can’t see you making it through the course without needing to repeat things, which can add up and really cost you, maybe even force you out of it. Remember you only get out what you put in.
Toward the end of the week we contacted our navigation charts, it’s like laminating, except it’s done by hand and takes a lot of time and patience to get right. Contact is much thinner than laminate and can be applied to only one side, which means you can fold your charts up much easier, but still remove any lines and markings to use the charts over and over. It’s an interesting topic to ask the other instructors and students, some contact, some don’t, some join their World Aeronautical Charts or WAC charts, some don’t. It really is personal preference, I don’t have a preference yet, but opted to contact and join my WAC charts seeing as we operate on the boundary between the two Brisbane and Armidale WACs. Plus while I’m learning I’ll be developing the best way to mark up charts and would rather not buy a new one each time I muck it up.
This week coming is looking good, the weather is looking great and we start our first Navs and Circuits. I’m looking forward to getting back in the plane, just need to brush up on everything and make sure I’m ready to go!