Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Radio killed the Video star

A calm voice is needed when dealing with Air Traffic.

I have just started the course to my Aviation Wireless Telegraphy operators licence.

Now - you would have thought that being a pilot of little more than a string bag with a six-volt motorbike battery for power there would be a 'private user' variant.

Well - it is the same course as any civil pilot or air traffic controller. The materials are 198 pages long and not only do you have to know the codes, abbreviations and protocols by heart for the written exam (200 Questions, passmark 90%) but you need to apply it all in 'circumstance' for the Oral exam - pass mark - 100%

Not only that - but I have to be fully conversant with the airspace laws and definitions again and the Air traffic zone and height rules again. Okay, Okay I should be current with that all the time - but I'm rusty!

It's not as if I will be flying in controlled airspace often - if at all. I am more often than not trying to avoid these places as I need to turn and thermal at whim - not fly a specific course and heading.

Still - the law's the law. I have to be able to hold the licence to fly across country - so pass it I must, even if it costs me £300 odd for the 5 nights in the class room and the exam. And to be honest my transmitter may only be 5 watts, but at three thousand feet it's audible in Bristol.
The CAA also take a rather stern line and will track you down and impose incredible fines.

Gliding ain't like powered flying - we are constantly working to stay aloft - and we use a fair amount more of the Aviating time just staying up there. Navigating - well it's all by eye (Yes I follow roads…) - so we rarely need to communicate much - unless to call downwind to land at home.

(Don't even get me started on Mode S transponder and use of European GPS compulsion, by the way - I feel about that the way you would feel if you had to have a machine readable licence on your push bike and pay for the use of it with a computer checking to see if you have permission to cycle to the pub)

So anyway - I have reading material for my trip to Foxtrot Romeo Alpha November Charlie Echo. More on that trip coming up..........

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