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The last of the hour building, exams, IFR Training and the A350!

I have been pushing very hard to complete all of the CPL subjects at the CAA with 3 exams remaining at the beginning of Feb 2014. The new syllabus horror stories made me slightly anxious to get going and I finally wrote all three and eagerly awaited my completion certificate from the CAA. Ops and Air Law was a beast which I left last and after mapping out exactly what I had to study I got right to it. I didnt make the first or second attempt because the syllabus structure differed from the exam in some aspects. For example, part 93 was not supposed to be in the exam, but there were 4 questions on it! Also, we had to memorize ALL of the minima criteria for every category aircraft, speeds, alternates, remote airfields, THE LOT!

On my third try I was very relieved to see the green writing saying that I had passed after I clicked the “SUBMIT” button. I did pretty well in the end. This was the first exam I had ever failed right from PPL to now so it was a bit of a let-down but oh so grateful to have made it.

I celebrated my 100 hours PIC last week by organizing a flight with my grand mother and cousin to Bela-Bela (FAWB) North of Pretoria. I have family up there so I thought we could drop in and have some cool drink and cookies in the shade. Many pics were taken and I will upload some soon.

Highlights of hour building was my trip to Richards Bay (FARB), 3.5 hours each way, clear cloudless weather en-route and family waiting on the other side. I did suffer from a deflated nosewheel during my landing roll out but took everything in stride and got the wheel sorted out Sunday morning, just in time for the trip back!Nosewheel JHB CBD Numerous issues Sugarcane Powerstation

After spending so much time studying air law and operations I was very eager to start my IFR training. I had my very first briefing on Sunday with Henry and will be updating you all on the transition from single engine to eventually getting my Multi-Engine Instrument Commercial License!

I managed to catch a glimpse of the glorious A350 on its global test flight. See the pics below..

A350 1 A350 2


New Pilot Theory Exam Syllabus

The South African aviation regulations have gone through some significant changes in the past few months, including the launch of their new pilot exam syllabus. The syllabus is based on a mix of JAA (UK), FAA (US), EASA (EU) as well as some local content. I think that this is most definitely a good move albeit a costly move for pilots that are busy with their PPL and CPLs since new study material would need to be purchased.

In my situation I still had 3 theory exams remaining to complete the theory aspect of my CPL. The exams were Instruments, Aircraft Technical and General and Ops/Air law. I knew that it would be a bit of a learning experience to see if my study techniques would need to be changed or not. I am a firm believer in actually understanding the content before attempting to write the tests.

The SACAA published a curriculum which included a whole bunch of new topics for which my FTC notes would not be sufficient at all. I found an incredible resource on the web that helped me understand the new topics as well as the sort of questions to expect. ALOT more understanding is needed to pass the new exams.

You also have 18 months from starting the theory exams to finish all 8. I was starting to get awfully close to this cut-off so I used all our lovely Easter holidays to study study study. I managed to pass Instruments with 80% first time and Aircraft Technical and General with 78% also first time. This was all done in April. I only have Operations/Air law remaining before my June cut-off time.

ATG was by far the most volume to study and this was tremendously gruelling to be honest. I think I now have a fairly good understanding of how the aircraft we love to fly operate so efficiently.. but goodness it was a lot. Too much I think!

I was tempted many times to subscribe to question banks online just to save some time but the resources exist out there on the web to grasp the content that is lacking in the FTC/Avex notes.

So folks one more exam remains, 15 more solo hours and then I will be ready to finally start my Instrument Rating. I was very sad to have missed a trip to Richards Bay with my pilot mates but needed to focus on those exams first.

Hour building – Continuing

Hi All,

I have been having an amazing time but have failed to post something for a while yet again. I have been learning a lot in the process and am still loving every minute. I have come to appreciate the value of perfection when doing flight planning, but more on this in a later post.

I had the privilege of taking my dad up for a flight for the first time after taking my mother up a few months back. I had planned the regular “close-to-home” route for the night flight. Luckily I arrived at the flight school late afternoon Sunday because the aircraft did not have a functioning landing light so had to rush my dad to get to the airport so we could at least go flying for an hour while daylight remained.

Much fun to be had. Some very awesome pics of the last few flights to follow..

She has seen better days

She has seen better days


Eti and I

Eti and I

Dad and I

Dad and I


Taking friends for a flip! Arm the doors and cross check!

It has been a while since I have written a post, simply because of the way life just gets busy as we all know. I had been so frustrated not being able to fly that I booked a quick flight and asked a few of my closest friends to come along.

One of them had been taking motion sickness pills out of plain fear. The days leading up to the flight was filled with a lot of banter; however, so was looking forward to the flight a great deal. Was so proud of him though for pushing through. The other friend had absolutely no qualms at all and begged me to stall the aircraft (which I did not do for fear of having partially digested dinner all over me).

One of my friend’s brought along his GoPro camera to capture some parts of the flight. I must say I was VERY impressed with the device, it was wrapped around with ease and took some very interesting videos (which we later used to extract stills from).

After a bit of a mess up with my aircraft booking we only managed to get the aircraft for an hour instead of the whole night as per my original booking. Had to make the best of it. Takeoff was quick and exhilarating as a flock of guinea fowl decided to dart across the runway just as I was rotating. If only they knew how dangerous that was….

We took the most amazing photos….

image image_1 image_1_1 image_2 image_2_1 image_3 image_3_1 image_4 Birdies.. image_5_1 Sunset image_7 image_8 N1 Finals for 17 Alex FAGC Tower Lined Up

Progress.. 8001 Views

All is well in the flying department again. Finally. Potentially big news on Friday… Will keep you all updated hence the reason why I have not flown as much as I would’ve liked too. Flew the last weekend, Sunday night. Was very gusty but after 30 days of no flying before it, I am proud to say that I have not forgotten anything.

I just wanted to thank you all for standing behind me in this incredibly fulfilling journey thus far! Somehow I have managed to gain 8001 page views thus far since launching my blog.

More detailed news later…

Hour building, eish it is going slow!

Hour building is progressing slowly but surely! But between the school’s going into maintenance and further maintenance issues with their fleet I have not flown now for 2 weeks. The last mishap was the landing lights being inop on LAK. Now I spoke to the Egyptian pilot just before my flight and he assured me everything is hunky dory, well it wasn’t. After I had spent 2 hours on the pre-flight planning, 30 min driving to the airport, 30 mins of admin I got to the aircraft and true as bob, both landing light filaments were not working. The previous guy also wrote down the wrong hobbs (how the school charges us for the hours). So yeah frustrating was all I could say. Of course there weren’t any other free aircraft available. It seems that 2 of the school’s aircraft were in some sort of mishap as well adding to the lack of aircraft statement.

So yes, the waiting continues. Busy studying for the MET CPL exam which I would really like to write next week.

In other news, SAA’s cadet pilot program came to its conclusion, with not even 1 white male making it through, out of 40. Now why send me to the psych testing last year if they knew this was going to happen? The mind boggles! Goodluck to them! An instructor friend of mine got a job in Indonesia flying the C208 Cessna Caravan, so there is still hope for some of us!

I also got 95% for the Radio Aids CPL Exam, now if anyone still thinks that I am not dedicated enough well..

1 year this weekend!

I apologize firstly for not writing any posts recently. This past weekend marked my one year anniversary since starting my journey. Truly blessed to have come so far already, some highlights thus far:

  • Private Pilots License (December 2012)
  • Night Rating (Jan 2013)
  • CPL Flight Planning exam (89%)
  • CPL Navigation Exam (96%)
  • Total Flight time thus far (100 hours), halfway for CPL completion
  • Total Pilot-in-command Night Hours (30)

As you all can see I am steadily making progress. I am busy with hour building at the moment and the winter weather should be more suitable than the frequent evening thunderstorms that have hampered my flights of late. I am busy studying for the Radio Aids exam and I will hopefully sit down next week for the exam.

Slowly but surely, I will get there! Thanks for the continued support!

Hour-Building, loving it!

Its been two weeks since I last posted something. This is just all to tell you that I have so far accumulated 9.7 night hours thus far in my endeavor of reaching 200 hours total time (currently sitting at around 85). This past Friday night I took my good friends, Helena and Thomas up for a triangular flight. We had quite an exciting flight with Thomas’s door continuously opening up, he was quite nervous about it but other than that it was a lot of fun. I didn’t manage to get to Mafikeng as quite strong headwinds were expected (there ended up being only a light 5knot wind in the end anyways) and we would not be able to make it back with the fuel we had. I was not sure if Makikeng had fuel after hours. I still really want to fly there, its right up against the Botswana border and the runway is 4.4km long. The plan is to fly to Mafikeng, or Bloemfontein, this coming Friday.

For me this is the most exciting part of my journey so far because I can decide where I want to fly to so there is some freedom around it plus I can take my friends and family with 🙂

Money is going to be tight this month, very tight. I can afford around 10 hours a month only and this month I should end up with just over 15 hours so going to have to be even more frugal this month. It is my birthday month so…… Who knows 🙂