But instead of spending a glorious day of gaming, flying or drinking... I am studying!
Yes studying for the inevitable flying, but study nonetheless! I have always detested it. All through school, my short tenure with a university and even in flight school I always have been a poor self studier. I got by purely on what I could soak up in class and the odd moment of clarity when I could be bothered to sit down and read a textbook.
But now I can't get away with just a "pass". Aviation is this strange world where you need to be perfect. If you aren't, well.... We only have to look to the worst disasters in Aviation to see what happens when you are not perfect. So this means that every question I got wrong on an exam must now be answered correctly, general aircraft knowledge, procedures and knowledge of the rules will be tested. All before stepping foot into the aircraft.
Welcome to a pilot's flight test.
The last major one I did was about two years ago now, that being my Private Pilot's License. The ground component equates to more or less a verbal swordfight. An hour of prodding and defending your position with the weapon of choice your own knowledge. So after that you feel a little stressed, a little mentally drained and hopefully more than a little relieved that is over. I always thought that the ground component is the hardest.
The actual flight is not as bad. It consists of general handling of the aircraft ( steep turns, low level flight, precautionary searches and circuits), Basic instrument flight (where they ake sure you can't see out of the windshield and try to more or less make you sick and disoriented, then see how you fare under those conditions) and finally navigation skills.
If you answer wrongly in the ground component, the testing officer will try to use socratic reasoning to bring about a correct answer but if you are just stumped on critical knowledge, the test ends right there. If you stuff up in the aircraft- the testing officer can either not tell you until you are on the ground, or tell you in the air, giving you the option to save some cash and head straight home.
The two tests I have coming up are the Night Rating test (which is not that bad) and the Commercial Pilot's license test. The CPL test is a big one for me. 7 exams worth of incorrect answers to rectify, plus general knowledge component and what it means to be a commercial pilot vs a private pilot. I did ok on my exams but it is still a lot to study for. Having not flown much in the past two years is certainly counting against me also - things that were just second nature, ingrained in my head are now harder to recall, if I can at all. My in flight skills have deteriorated also, but not that badly that I will need tens of hours of retraining. I can still pump out a mean diversion when needed!
So today I am studying for my Night Rating pre test (well once I finish procrastinating with this blog) and also in the course of that covering some of the knowledge for my CPL test which hopefully will be coming up in the next two weeks. I would love to bust out some WoW (there is soloing and PuGs to be done!), attempting to finish Duke or LA Noire or even just floundering around in StarCraft II. I love flying more than anything but study just sucks so hard- I swear I must have ADD or something because my attention span when it comes to study is almost nil. However give me a wikipedia article on a WWII aerial battle, aircraft or something like that and I can read it for ages!
I really am a poor student.