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ATPL Flight Planning Tricks, Short Cuts etc

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ATPL Flight Planning Tricks, Short Cuts etc

Old 8th Sep 2008, 02:09
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Just for more info for the guys/girls doing their ATPL subjects...

I self studied mine with AFT notes and it all went ok.

FP - i did last, obviously the hardest but only 17 questions in the exam, all be it very drawn out ones, finished with 3 mins to spare. Be careful with "which answer is closest to" questions with PNRs etc. Eg i had

a) 570nm
b) 610 nm
c) 540 nm
d) 510 nm

My depress pnr came out to be 590nm which i thought was accurate in my planning, i did it again with a bit more accuracy and got 595nm which favoured answer b!

Sys - just a lot of content to study, anything from FMS to Centre of Pressure movement, nothing really too in depth though, 50 "one mark" questions

P + L - remember to be accurate with your graphs, for some reason i got a lot of CAO 20.7.1.b. stuff (gradients etc) and load sheets working out last min. pax adjustment

Nav - not too bad if you can get you head around off track pnrs, again be accurate with your map work and you shouldnt have too many troubles.

Generally speaking, focus more on the 4-5 mark questions
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 06:06
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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been studying since 9am :-S Are there any offtrack pnrs in this exam?
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 06:25
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by The Hill View Post
My depress pnr came out to be 590nm which i thought was accurate in my planning, i did it again with a bit more accuracy and got 595nm which favoured answer b!
Get a rough estimate of where your PNR should be - then instead of working out a whole flight plan based on where you *think* the PNR should be, work out a flight plan based on using the closest of the actual answers to where you think the PNR is.

They give you four answers. One of them IS correct. Use that to your advantage.

ksa5223: No, there are no off-track PNRs in Flight Planning. That's just a Navigation question. There are, however, PNRs to other airports on track, that may not be either your departure or destination.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 10:09
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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They must have added new questions to the database, cause none of my group got question on Bali!
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 12:01
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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Just sat it.

Before I get into it, is there anybody getting ready to sit the exam soon? I just sat it and failed (I missed a 5 pointer which is really getting to me now) and I'd love to hear what your up to. I've been chatting to another bloke from PPRuNe and it's been mutually beneficial. Anybody in Perth?

Are there any offtrack pnrs in this exam?
As Lasiorhinus said there may be; I had a PNR question with PNR for an (almost) enroute aerodrome. On a flight YSSY YPPH via H44 and Q32 overhead MTP BW is ?????, PH is Accept becoming Suit with 30 min fuel (Inter), PAD is Suit. What is PNR Norm Ops PH - PAD (ignore lateral distance between Q32 and Y135) distance reference PH?

I was really thrown by that one and spent too long on it (and I got it wrong which could have saved me from failing). What they meant by ignore lateral distance between Q32 and Y135 is that as both are one-way routes and the question was for Norm Ops (no reason to be able to fly against the route direction and Q32 is a bit less direct than Y135) fly back on Y135 but don't worry about travelling the 30 or so nm south to get to it. I really can't believe that I let that distract me from the other issues and I ended up using the wrong reserves (applied the Inter at PAD, lost 5 points or 10%, another $170 in two weeks thank you very much).

They must have added new questions to the database, cause none of my group got question on Bali!
The Bali question on my exam was just whilst enroute to Bali from BN on G326 with a GW of ????? at VINAX and TAT of ?? what is fuel burn between VINAX and GUNAM? (both are still points over the continent and there was no need to know anything about Indon). I don't know if anybody else has had other Bali questions but I'd be interested to hear them.

As somebody who recently failed I would emplore anybody preparing to sit it to do two things:
  1. Practice doing the bare minimum to answer the question accurately (if they only ask for flight fuel or other fuel burn derived answer don't worry about the GW, Lnd Wt, ETI).
  2. Do lots and lots of practice exams. Five Rob Avery exams (purchased after failing) cost me about $55. Resitting will cost me about $160 (I really don't want to re-resit).
Good luck,

FRQ CB
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 12:29
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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FRQ CB.....dont worry too much mate, not the first and certaintly wont be the last. Rob Averys practice exams are a good choice, they are quite in depth, but if you can do those you can do anything
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 12:53
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Commiserations FRQ - its no fun to miss out on an exam, but it's a learning experience, and you're probably in the majority of people who sit flight planning by getting to go back and give it another shot.

Originally Posted by FRQ Charlie Bravo View Post
On a flight YSSY YPPH via H44 and Q32 overhead MTP BW is ?????, PH is Accept becoming Suit with 30 min fuel (Inter), PAD is Suit. What is PNR Norm Ops PH - PAD (ignore lateral distance between Q32 and Y135) distance reference PH?
Dont get confused by the way they word things. (OK, easier said than done with CASA questions). Off-track PNRs are not examined in this exam - if you attempt to use Off-track PNR methods to solve this, you'll likely confuse yourself, run out of time, and with certainty, get the question wrong.
It is to be treated as an on-track PNR, and the clue is in the phrase "ignore lateral distance between Q32 and Y135".

Yes, they're one-way routes, but to get from Q32 to Y135 would require, as you say, travelling some 40 nm south before turning left for Adelaide. This overcomplicates the question and actually means it wouldn't be asking for the simple PNR, so they instruct you to ignore the lateral distance, ie, assume there is no lateral displacement, ie, assume you can just chuck a u-turn and fly back to Adelaide, ie, assume Adelaide was actually on-track.

Yes, its a poor way to word it, but they're actually trying to make it simpler.

You're given a weight over Mount Hope (it will more than likely be a Gross Weight, or a Fuel On Board weight), and more than likely, a speed and height.

Work out how much fuel you have available for PNR calculations (making sure to deduct the in-flight fixed reserve, not the planning stage fixed reserve), and draw up a flight plan.

Find an equal point - that is, a point that on one side, both the Out and Home legs are identical, and the other side is not. Mount Hope VOR is a good equal point.

Work backwards - you know your landing weight, (take off all the flight fuel youve calculated to be available - but don't take off your weather reserves if any. In this case, none required.) so you can also quickly calculate your Top of Descent weight, to the kilogram. Work out how much fuel you'd burn flying back from MTP to Adelaide (it's about 160nm), and deduct that fuel from your available.

Now you can work out your distance to the PNR, and once you've got a distance, read the question again to make sure they wanted it in distance from Adelaide, not from Perth, because it would really be unpleasant to get the right PNR but still pick the wrong answer.

Good luck on your re-sit - feel free to PM me if you want to have a chat about any of the exam.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 16:31
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Dead weight fuel and the CASA ATPL Information Booklet

Here's a curly one I found in my old uni notes:

Flight from Alpha to Charlie with an intermediate stop at Bravo where there is no fuel. Consider only Normal Ops.

Flight fuel A to B 5200 kg
Flight Fuel B to C 4200 kg

Alpha and Bravo are suitable but Charlie is Acceptable and Suitable with INTER

Using Fleet Basic Weight what is max payload out of Alpha?

The answer involved calculating the FF, Reserves, Holding and Taxi. What threw me was the calculation of 10% CR for sector 1. Surely the FF for sector 2 covers that. I understand that a company would be pretty pissed off to have the sector 2 fuel used unexpectedly on sector one but if it's a question of Max Payload / Min Fuel then I would argue that the answer in my book is not min fuel.

For those playing at home the answer was that it was Landing Weight limited at Bravo.

There is one sentence at the end which reads "Assume contingency reserve is consumed but fixed reserve intact for the purpose of flight planning" but I find that a bit misleading. Surely I could understand being told to err on the side of caution and consider the CRs as cumulative but that's not what I'm told. Based on that the sentence that I ought to consider the CR as consumed I expect to be able to use every KG of 1st sector CR as payload (since I'll burn it off before landing thereby meeting but not exceeding my MLW).

If you come across this in a CASA exam then please share. It is my understanding that CRs (like holding fuel) are not cumulative (but commercial considerations such as not wanting to be stranded in Woop Woop may dictate otherwise... but this is a CASA exam).

FRQ CB

PS Tiger19 with regards to our conversation earlier about the use of only the first portion of a return trip of multiple sectors/forecast areas page 6-2 of my Aviation Theory Centre book pointed out the guide to data extraction given in the ATPL Information Booklet. From there I found out why the texts we have always gave SGRs based on only the early sector WX and Fuel Flow. Para 3.4.2 states that it it the Temp at the point of failure which should be used (and by extension of this logic find the conditions for your SGR calculation).

Last edited by FRQ Charlie Bravo; 13th Sep 2008 at 16:33. Reason: Opinions are like belly buttons... so I replaced the word
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 00:09
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Can anyone break down the usual content of the exam like layout wise.

I have heard the last 4 - 5 Q's are 5 markers? are these things like
  • PNRDP
  • PNR 1ENGINOP
  • CPDP
  • CP2E
?

I am a bit concerned as my average time to complete a PNR 2E/ PNR DP is about 20 minutes.

20 x 17 questions = 340minutes/60 = 5.7 hours

I hope i get CP' dp's in the exam ? they are great!
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 00:35
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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What is the easiest way to answer a PNR question?

From my limited look at it there's two types, over a waypoint at certain weight (inflight) or Planned flight from A-B.

I'm a tad confused on how the datum method comes into all this.

Can anyone explain this in plain english... going a little nuts!

-Dux
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 04:03
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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What is the easiest way to answer a PNR question?
DUXNUTS,

Best bet is to work out how much fuel you need to land with (remember that you will be RETURNING to somewhere so forget fuel needed for holding or whatever at any aerodrome to which you are not RETURNING). Best way to do this is to see how much fuel is available, subtract holding (if appropriate), subtract taxi (if appropriate), subtract Fixed Reserve and this will give you fuel to be used for Flight Fuel plus 10% reserve (or in the case of DP this will give you flight fuel). Divide this number by 1.1 and you will have Flight Fuel. Put a BIG FAT CIRCLE around that number as you will need it in 5 to 10 minutes time.

Choose one of the multi-choice answers (1 in 4 chance of getting lucky) but don't waste too much time trying to choose the right one (if doing a practice question and there's no multi choice just go about 3/4 of the way and try that). Do a flight plan from current position (on the ground or in the air or even though you may be on the ground still they may say that from the flight plan you will be at position X at such and such GW... you beauty, they've just saved you the hard work) out to your chosen guessed PNR and then back to the RETURN aerodrome for a landing. If the flight fuel used equals the one with the BIG FAT CIRCLE then you chose well and you can move on. If your flight plan burnt too much then you went too far... how far, I'm glad you asked. Remember the PNR formula? Simply divide the excess fuel burnt by the sum of cruise SGR home plus cruise SGR out (SGR = Fuel burnt divided by the nm covered or roughly and more easily calculated Fuel Flow per hour divided by Ground speed). This will give a small number which is how far off your guessed PNR used in the flight plan is from the real PNR. Simply subtract (if you flew too far / burnt too much fuel) or add (it you flew too little / burnt too little fuel).

PNR is a fancy way of saying that you want to give it a real good crack of getting to where you want to go BUT if needed you have to have a back door for safety. If your flight plan has you landing at the RETURN aerodrome with more fuel than your absolute minimum (VR + FR + Holding + Taxi in) then you didn't go far enough (and you didn't do your best to get the payload to the destination). If you don't have those then you'll have gone too far (and broken the law).

FRQ CB

PS keep the questions coming (you too KSA5223)
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 04:05
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Can anyone break down the usual content of the exam like layout wise.
ksa5223,

Expect about 17 questions for a total of 50 points (making a 5 pointer worth 10%, 2 pointer 4% etc).

I suggest the following maximum times (averaged, some 5s may take longer than other 5s):

5 points - 25 minutes
4 points - 17 minutes
3 points - 9 minutes
2 points - 4 minutes
1 point - 2 minutes

Start with the 5s then the 4s (mathematically there shouldn't be too many 4s) then skip the 3s (I find them more time consuming for only 3 points and at this point in the exam maybe give the brain a minute to chill out) and go do some 2s before returning to the 3s. Do the 1 pointers last (but give yourself a chance to get them right, maybe save the last 5 minutes for them). Depending on the exact breakdown that you get on the day the above ought to take you about 180 minutes so if you stick to it you will have little time to relax and recheck your answers.

Keep the posts coming.

FRQ CB

ALSO

Just in case I lead anybody astray please note that I made a mistake in a post a few weeks ago regarding DP holding fuel for weather. As soon as I can get around to it I will fix it soon by means of an edit to that post and then I will edit out this paragraph.
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 04:32
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Attention Mingalababya and anybody else I may have lead astray:

Please note that I made a big mistake in a post a few weeks ago regarding DP holding fuel for weather. I have fixed it by means of an edit to that post.

FRQ CB
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 05:02
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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FRQ Charlie Bravo

Gooday :-P

Thanks for that info there, very helpful.

What sort of questions are usually the 5 markers?
Normally PNR 2E's / PNR 1ENGINOP's?
They seem the hardest they could throw at us?

Which notes did you use for study FRQ? Did you do the AFT prac exams prior to attempting the AFPA exam?

I am self studying the AFT course notes at the moment, purchased them not long after a Secombe Course.

Also what sort of tips do you guys have for speed? I'll start:
  1. A hell of alot of tabs through my book for quick ref.
  2. Hand wrote all the SAT's next to the TAT's for all flight levels, for TAS calculations. MN x 39 x SQRT (273+SAT)
  3. Highlighter for the different direction FL's (fair common one :-P)
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 05:57
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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I'm the last guy to ask about speeding things up. I failed and I'm now trying to fix that and speed is my biggest issue.

I did it at uni three years ago (but didn't take the exam as my lecturer told us all to do) and then went back and did the AFT (N Higgins) distance learning course. I'm now doing five practice exams put out by Rob Avery (very different method to AFT but the answers are the same of course). When I get a bit more time tonight I'll PM you a list of tips I have for speeding things up. The biggest one I have to say is flipping to the rarely used cruise planning section and just getting the TAS for a given FL and Mach No then adjusting AS PER THE MANUAL with +/- 1 knot per degree +/- ISA (this is not a rule of thumb, it comes from the actual manual).

OK, Off to the local library to study so will be a while before I post again (much to the applause of the masses I'm sure).

FRQ CB

PS anybody in Perth studying for this? I'd love to get together. No kissing and no hand-holding... I might let you see my elbows but not on a first date (sorry).
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 06:31
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Cool that would be good, cheers.

Yes, I am already familiar with the "stealing the TAS" method, although found it pretty quick to do the calculator method :-P
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 14:58
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Time Tips

"Stealing the TAS" eh, didn't know it had a name. Yeah, sometimes the calculator is faster, depends on how many fingers I have on how many pages or a myriad of other factors.
You've got 15 minutes to get everything ready whilst sitting your practice exam so make sure that EVERYTHING is ready. Do a "data dump" with things like:
  • writing down the formulae that you may sometimes mess up (in the heat of battle I sometimes can't think of the PNR or CP formulae to same me life),
  • make up a chart with your fuel requirements (I write up a chart for the In-Flight fuel requirements which is similar in format to the Before-Flight chart on p. 1-17),
  • if you're going to make a list of question numbers and their relative points (worth it if you plan on attacking the big ones first) set that up in those 15 minutes.
  • draw mud maps on the top of all the flight planning forms (I use a combination method of mud maps and the flight plan).
  • if you have any remaining time consider measuring two or three tracks (saves probably 2 minutes of exam time per trip) but avoid tracks which, without the information provided in the question, would involve the use of a TAC (unless you manage to get a TAC into the exam). Basically depending on which edition of the ERCs High you use (not all ERCs are exactly the same, especially when it comes to being near the Terminal Areas) you could look at
    • H2 YCIN - YBAS, Townsville (WISKA is on the marked DME step at 90 DME)- Mt Isa - AS, Cairns (BULOK is on the marked 90 DME but is actually 92nm CS due to the dogleg) - Mt Isa - AS
    • H3 AS - Ayers Rock - PH (Cunderdin is just past a marked DME step at 68 DME) (J64), PAD (WINCH is on the marked 90 DME) - MHP - PH, PH - PAD (The reverse trip via Y135 is only 7 nm shorter), PH (Pingelly is just past a marke DME step at 67 DME) - Hobart
Yes there is some guessing with some of the positions that I've listed as XX DME but in my opinion you should be able to guess to within a mile or two.
It all seems trivial but the 15 minutes are there and you certainly pay the ASL staff enough to use them however you need.

These are just ideas and if it doesn't suit you don't worry about it (it works for me but speaking with Tiger19 he reckons it's a bit too much messing around).

I also believe that using large zones is of great benefit. Generally breaking a large sector into smaller zones will yield a slightly smaller fuel flow but if you know that then just go the faster method of the big zone and keep it in the back of your mind if torn between answers. (This is not good on small questions covering small sectors.)

For flights around the WA/SA border look at the actual mag var if unsure whether to use 0 or 5 degrees on your winds.

When you get a start zone weight (after having done your descent fuel) multiply NM by the generic SGR (SAR corrected with +/- 1 for +/- every 50 knots wind) then divide by half and subtract the start zone weight to get a more accurate EMZW (it will be a negative number but you'll know what to do with it). If it's dman close to being on the verge of a MZW requiring interpolation and one not requiring interpolation assume that someone is trying to screw you and go with the one that requires interpolation (more often than not they want to screw you). Don't forget to check it after getting a zone weight. If it's wrong then use the "wrong fuel" to estimate the new EMZW but no need to recheck this one (according to my uni lecturer) as it's more accurate than the SGR method (but just not quite close enough for an answer).

If a question only asks for fuel then consider not worrying about Landing weight or even TOD weight (by this time you've already got your descent fuel/dist/time). Also, don't stress about checking that your landing weight is closer to 70,000 or 60,000 as this makes such a small difference. (I've noticed that my plans for Norm Ops are always nearest to 70t, DP and OEI are usually a bit under 70t and if I plan to an alternate it's usually just under 65). Rob avery suggests always going to halfway between the figures. I think that's a bit annoying.

On the 3, 4 and 5 markers skim the entire question especially the last paragraph which actually poses the question. You may well find that you don't have to do a whole plan (I did the whole plan and then found that they gave me GW at position X, I didn't redo the whole thing, I just found the different weight at X according to my plan which was about 1000 kg off and corrected my numbers, just barely got that one right).

Have some water on hand

Highlight the One Engine Inop headings in your manual so that you remember to multiply by TWO (of course the fuel burn of 6000 kg per hour should tip you off).

Put some blank post-its in your manual so that you've got some ready made book marks.

Put some nice folds in your ERCs High so that you can easily fold it however you need it for a particular route in the exam. I took particular care placing folds in ERCs 2 and 3 so that between most major cities I can have only the relevant parts of the chart showing with nice clean folds with minimal re-arranging. It's not pretty but it's practical.

OK, that's all I can think of. Most of those are half-baked ideas from a guy who has yet to pass so take it with a pinch of salt.

FRQ CB

Last edited by FRQ Charlie Bravo; 21st Sep 2008 at 13:15. Reason: Added 5th Bullet point then points about chart folding.
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 15:38
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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A Question

Has anybody ever come across a question where you had to carry holding fuel for DP ops because the weather at the destination was forecast to be below Landing Minima (closed i.e. not Acceptable)?

I've not seen it in my practice exams but one question specifically mentioned that weather was below Alt Minima but not below Landing Minima (no mention of the words Suitable or Acceptable, not that I needed them). The question was straight forward but it got me thinking about that one. According to the Rob Avery book I have the cheat sheet simply says not required for DP so maybe CASA just doesn't ask that question.

FRQ CB
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 03:21
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Some good ideas there Ta

Did you get any CP DP questions? if so was it simply finding where it was/ or find where it was then fly to it to get a GW @ CP etc. Any Gear Down / Yaw Damper / Fuel Dump Q's?

I understand how the marks per question work now, but am wondering what sort of questions are actually in it.

Did you do the AFT cyber exams prior to sitting? If so, how were they compared to the exam in terms of style of questions. Did you have any trouble with the Prac Exams. I am curious as you failed and most people I hear get through it after doing the AFT prac exams.

KSA
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 05:16
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FRQ Charlie Bravo View Post
Attention Mingalababya and anybody else I may have lead astray:

Please note that I made a big mistake in a post a few weeks ago regarding DP holding fuel for weather. I have fixed it by means of an edit to that post.

FRQ CB
Thanks mate ... I haven't really looked at it since I last posted, but thanks for getting back to me on that. Really appreciate it.

I'm finding flight planning to be a real ball breaker .. not so much the difficulty in the content, but the fact that there is so much number crunching needed in a limited amount of time. I'm the type who likes to check and re-check things .. it appears that there won't be any time for that if I was to complete the exam within the allotted time.

Thanks FRQ CB for the tips on using the time allocated for the practice questions to prepare tables etc for calculations during the exam.
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