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What skills to practise?

Old 21st Apr 2011, 19:28
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What skills to practise?

Hi ladies and gents,

I recently passed my PPL skills test and now have my license. What skills should I be practising towards the CPL over the next couple of years? How strict should I be with myself?
Flying is a real passion of mine and I want to become a better pilot, not just the required standard to pass a test.

My altitude holding is ok, my heading holding is good and I find the navigating quite easy.

Hope to hear your suggestions.

Cheers

Alex
Aspiring Pilot Alex is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2011, 19:39
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Checklist discipline is a good one for starters
zondaracer is online now  
Old 21st Apr 2011, 23:03
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Really you need to practise all the skills!
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Old 21st Apr 2011, 23:24
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The correct Xwind technique. Get yourself an instructor, preferably who has flown tail wheel, to teach you xwind takeoffs and landings.
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 00:01
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Mental arithmetic including simple SIN & COS. Physical fitness and get yourself into art, music or literature. Keep up to date with politics and World Affairs. Talking flying is just plain borin.....ZZZzzzzzz.

As you will soon learn, just about every pillock can fly a plane. It's what else you can bring to the table that really counts.

PM

PS. And a little modesty helps.
Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2011, 09:55
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Why do it if it's not fun?
 
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Alex,

I agree with all the answers so far. You should do a bit of navigation, spend some time in the circuit, and practice your general handling. If possible, spend a bit of time with an instructor every now and then to check you're not picking up bad habits - doing a checkout on a new aircraft, tail-wheel differences or an IMC rating are good ways of spending time with an instructor.

For the navigation, do not use GPS. Plan your route, plan headings and times, and then be sure to put the chart away and trust your headings and times, making corrections at a checkpoint (e.g. half way) if they're not working. Practice diversions by taking someone with and asking them to give you a diversion, or asking them to write a diversion and seal it in an envelope which you only open in-flight. Do not be afraid of airspace - make sure you get plenty of practice crossing control zones, MATZs, etc.

For the circuits, make sure you have the correct approach speed on every approach. Aim for a point slightly before where you want to touch down. Doubleu-anker is absolutely right to point out that x-wind technique is important, and is very often not taught properly on PPL courses.

For the general handling, don't be sloppy - if you're practicing stalls, not only should you do a HASELL check every time, but make sure you maintain your height as you do the HASELLL check, for example.

Mental arithmetic will definitely help, but Piltdown Man may be going a bit OTT suggesting you can do SIN and COS in your head. The clock code gives a perfectly good approximation. However, you will need to know your 6-times table and your 3-times table to use the clock code (and those two come in handy for other things as well).

Have a read of the CAA's Standards Document 3, Notes for the Guidance of Applicatants taking the CPL Skills Test - this will describe what's involved in the CPL, including guideline tolerances (but really there should be no tolerance at all - if something isn't 100% right, then put it right, smoothly, as soon as you notice it).

Finally - and most importantly - have fun! This is the most enjoyable part of your training - use it to go to interesting places, fly interesting aircraft - whatever floats your boat. You want to be able to look back on this time and smile!

FFF
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 14:08
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Practise timed turns using only the compass, the turn coordinator and the stopwatch. Cover the DI and practise just flying around only using the compass, and learn which way to turn with it so it becomes second nature (left for numbers smaller, right for numbers bigger - unless your turning through North) and learn how to roll out on specific headings. The natural thing to do is to turn the opposite way to the actual way due to the way the compass displays its info to you.

Edit:

You could also take an instructor up and have a go at some IF flight under the hood, and have a go at limited panel too.
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 15:04
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When timebuildning for the 150h you need to continue with atpl and cpl (jaa), are there any requirements like Cross Country etc, or can one just fly around and gain the 150 hours?
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 15:17
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You could do 150 hours (less time so far during PPL) doing nothing but circuits. But you'd struggle with the CPL in that case.

Agree with everything so far so I would just add ... as well as being disciplined with your checklists, get used to saying them out loud, even if you're on your own. If you're taking a passenger, practise a full brief on them.

I hope I don't have to remind you to get into the habit of fully checking NOTAMs and the Royal Flights line.

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 15:27
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Looking at the state of the industry from my retirment chair, I think trying to live on poverty wages and Craft Dinner might be a skill worth learning!
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 16:23
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Why do it if it's not fun?
 
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Originally Posted by fabbe92
When timebuildning for the 150h you need to continue with atpl and cpl (jaa), are there any requirements like Cross Country etc, or can one just fly around and gain the 150 hours?
There is a requirement to do a 300nm cross country which must include two landings away from the start airport.

There is also a requirement to do a night qualification (or, if you don't, you have to do it as part of the CPL, and the CPL gets extended by 5 hours).

FFF
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 19:11
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Additionally to requirement for 300 NM cross country flight as FFF said, JAR-FCL 1 requires 20 hours of VFR cross-country flight time (including the 300NM route) as PIC before you can apply for a CPL(A) licence.

Originally Posted by fabbe92
When timebuildning for the 150h you need to continue with atpl and cpl (jaa), are there any requirements like Cross Country etc, or can one just fly around and gain the 150 hours?
You could do 150 hours of burning holes in the sky, but is it worth the money? Many people do "hour-building" towards CPL on the cheapest aircraft for rent they can find, but I would disagree with this, since the cheaper the aircraft, lesser the posibility that it would be at least somewhat IFR equipped (or that IFR equipment is serviceable) and then find it difficult to do some attitude flying or intercepting radials on CPL course. I disagree with term hour-building, since you shouldn't be gaining hours, but skill and experience, which you can only get by doing all sorts of flying (circuits, zones, cross-country flights, etc.). For example, if you didn't get too comfortable with radio navigation during you PPL training - why don't use 100 hours or so before commencing CPL course to practice navigation using VORs and NDBs, flying simulated instrument approaches (under the hood), etc.? You haven't got much crosswind practice? No problem, get an instructor and go flying on the day everybody rather have a beer than go flying You always flew for maximum 2 hours with fuel to spare? Plan a route where you will fly the aircraft to its published range (with reserves), but be careful to observe actual fuel consumption on few previou flights. Have you always flown up to 6000ft and not above? Why wouldn't you take your aircraft to its published service ceiling or above, if situations permits?

I kind of have to disagree with the advice regarding GPS. I think it is important to know how to use GPS in every way you can - but by that I'm not suggesting you fly as some PPLs do: direct WPT1, arrive at WPT1, direct WPT2, arrive at WPT2, direct WPT3, ... All you will learn from this is how to enter characters into GPS, press direct-to button and visually follow the magenta line - basically, in 100 hours you will learn what an average 5 year-old can learn in 10 minutes. If you have a GPS in your aircraft, try creating a flight plan, saving it into memory, reversing the route, adding new waypoints in flight in the middle of existing flight plan, calculating current wind, etc.? If you have CDI connected to your GPS or a GPS has one displayed, you can enter a flightplan in the GPS and fly it as accurately as you can - and it's not as easy as it may seem at first. Besides, you can do some sort of "advanced DR" with GPS; even the most basic GPS gives you two parameters: track and GS (groundspeed). This can be used in the same way as dead reckoning, just that instead of calculated heading (which depends on the wind) on the DI, you fly the (true or magnetic, it depends on GPS settings) track displayed on the GPS. GPS also calculates your GS, so if you have measured distance between waypoints you can mentally calculate your current ETA to next two or three waypoints. Not as easy as flying magenta track, is it?

Lots of options, but in the end remember - flying and learning to fly should be fun!
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 19:46
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First and foremost, felicitations! Well done, Alex. I hope your PPL brings you many happy and memorable flying voyages.

“Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until the good is better, and the better best.”

Practice everything that you have learnt so far and keep improving on these abilities.
I'd recommend lots of X-country flying. Maintain a professional attitude whilst flying. Discover new flying experiences, this will keep your flying exciting. A new aircraft is always a welcome challenge.

May your flying skills prosper.

Juliet alpha november uniform
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 21:05
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I think it is important to know how to use GPS in every way you can
True ... but, IMHO, when you're hour building, it's best to keep in the habit of using dead reckoning.

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 21:26
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F4Fun: I didn't mean the whole lot, just the simple 0.5, 0.7 and 0.9 as these will suffice.

PM
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