Flying Home – Weeks 11 and 12 at CTC

Southampton has had some great weather the last two weeks, meaning I’ve been taking every opportunity to get outside on breaks at CTC, which is great because there’s not been the most exciting stuff going on – three days of INSTruments (though we’re now on advanced!) following one on Radio NAVigation in the first week. Not the most interesting subjects to write about so I’ve combined two weeks together – totally not because I was already late on posts… 

Monday’s Rnav session was all about two of the more useful (and relatively similar) navaids we have available to us as pilots: the VOR and ILS. Unfortunately they’re also some of the more complicated tools available to us, and it takes a bit of thinking to get your head around them! This is where my previous flying experience comes in handy, as I’ve already had the opportunity to use VORs and had a reasonably good understanding before coming to CTC.

The rest of the week was all instruments, though we’ve now moved on to the “advanced” section, which primarily looks at instrumentation we’re likely to find in the airliners we’re working towards. During the week we almost finished the whole subject! This meant that I was due a sim session to see how everything worked in person.

We also got effectively a 3-day weekend since Friday was a CBT day for home working, so once I got all the work I wanted done on the Friday I had a fair bit of time to relax and enjoy the lovely sunny weather we’ve been having in Southampton! Otherwise, a pretty quiet time.

The following Monday we finally started the third of our module 2 subjects, Flight Planning (FP). This is quite an enjoyable subject, with lots of practical work using charts and graphs – it is also rather easy!

Tuesday was yet another new subject, this time Performance (PERF). This is all about things like mass, climb rates, take-off/landing speeds etc. Reasonably enjoyable, lots of numbers to crunch but like Flight Planning there’s a fair bit of reference material we can read through if stuck.

Wednesday was our last day of Instruments, in which we spent just an afternoon clearing up the odds and ends left for us to go through. This was meant to also prepare us for a simulator session on Thursday, but unfortunately the sim we were due to use experienced a “technical fault” and was unavailable! Instead I spent Thursday revising instruments, so not really much of interest happened.

I was up early on Friday – since it was the Easter bank holiday weekend, I had booked flights to head home and visit family. I was extremely excited as in addition to going home for only the second time since starting at CTC, I would also be in the air for the first time since starting! The weather was absolutely gorgeous too, and I got some great views of the UK along the way.

 After a enjoying reasonably quiet weekend with my family, and both my bag and I somewhat heavier with chocolate (totally worth it), it was time to head home. This time was quite interesting as I was flying on a VLM Fokker 50, perhaps the most retro-styled passenger aircraft you’ll find flying around the UK! There were also quite a few A380s hanging around due to bad weather diversions the night before. Fortunately the rain had mostly moved off by the time we took off and the flight was surprisingly smooth. After all the travelling I spent the rest of the day doing some light revision and further chocolate eating (it can’t sit around forever – and won’t, knowing me)!

Not normally this many whales in Manchester!
The mighty Fokker!
Seriously Retro…
Pilot's Glory!
Pilot’s Glory!

Hope you enjoyed my latest update, it’s only, uh, 3 weeks overdue! Hopefully we’ll be caught up soon – I plan on posing the most recent week’s update tomorrow…

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