Finally, all the flight theory is starting to gel

I’m meeting on Saturday with my flight instructor, prior to (hopefully) starting my training on Monday after next. As a means of gauging how well I’m going with my theory study, last night I took the first of the 4 Bob Tait PPL “cyber exams” that I’ve signed up for. According to Tait, these online exams are “the most realistic simulation of the CASA CyberExam available”.

Long story short, I’m encouraged. I scored 70 out of a possible total of 80 marks, equating to an exam mark of 87%. I completed the 56-question exam in just under 2 hours, well short of the 3:15 timeframe allowed. So in general I feel that I’ve realised my goal of having a reasonably solid base of theoretical knowledge going into Day 1 of my flight training.

There are caveats, of course. First, this is only a trial exam – it’s not the real thing, and it may not necessarily fully simulate the real CASA exam. Second, it’s only the theory knowledge set out in the PPL syllabus. It’s only the minimum knowledge legally required to fly a light aircraft. It doesn’t reflect the practical learning and experience, nor the 1001 tips and tricks that experienced flight instructors (hopefully) share that don’t appear in any training manual. In the wise words of Han Solo – Don’t get cocky!

A thing I really like about the Bob Tait cyberexams is that, after your exam is marked (takes only a few seconds), you receive a “Knowledge Deficiency Report”. It tells you the questions you answered incorrectly, but it doesn’t actually tell you what the correct answers were, just the area of study you need to go back to and revise further. In other words you can use it to really learn about where your theory is strong and where it needs more work. In my case, areas for revision before I do the next sample exam include:

  • Human performance. I incorrectly answered questions about metabolizing alcohol, and about how humans adjust to jet lag.
  • Meteorology. I squibbed a question on conditions associated with cold fronts, and two questions on interpreting ARFORs (Area Forecasts) – clearly an area I have to look back at in detail.
  • VFR operations. I incorrectly answered a question on flying OCTA (out of controlled airspace). Will have to look back closely at this – I really thought I got this one right.
  • Aircraft performance. Gave a wrong answer on reason for maximum take-off weight.
  • Navigation. I incorrectly answered a question on indications of station passage on an ADF (Automated Direction Finder). I already know where I went wrong on this one – stupid mistake!

But having said all this, I’m feeling good and confident. The hard theory work, snatched in 15 minute, 30 minute and 1 hour increments here and there over the past 4 months, is paying off. And there’s just over a week to go until Day 1!

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2 responses to “Finally, all the flight theory is starting to gel

  1. Congrats on the test score and your progress!

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