Tag Archives: bak

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!

Right, takeoff/landing and load calculation charts are under control

Did the 3rd BAK sample exam as mentioned yesterday, and nailed the “Piper Quebec” questions around takeoff, landing and load calculations.

Didn’t actually improve overall sample exam performance – scored a 77%, which means I really need to get my head more around some other stuff that I’m still not nailing, but by the sample exam’s standards, I’ve passed exams 2 and 3 after failing exam 1. I choose to take this as an extremely positive indicator that I’m across the BAK stuff sufficiently to start to do the PPL subjects.

But I definitely need to do more BAK revision and consolidation. Like to get my level of performance consistently above the 80-85% level.

CASA approvals

In tangential news, looks like CASA has completed my ASIC/AVID and Student License applications – woo-hoo! Look forward to getting those in the mail well in advance of day 1 on 28 Feb 2011.

Learning #1: Takeoff/landing and load calculation charts are not the same for each aircraft

I finally managed to do some revision on the “Piper Quebec” takeoff, landing and load calculation charts I struggled with as mentioned in my last post. The “Piper Quebec” charts look and (seem to) work quite a bit differently to the “Cessna Papa” charts I worked through a few years ago.

Once worked through, they seem pretty straightforward. I’ll verify whether I’ve now truly got my head around them by doing the 3rd BAK sample exam and see whether I can finally nail these “Piper Quebec” questions. But my learning is this: whenever I’m dealing with a new aircraft, I need to go back to first principles and figure out the basics of takeoff, landing and load calculations.

(I’m not saying the takeoff, landing and load calculation charts are totally different for each aircraft. They probably all work much the same. But my initial experience is that the Cessna vs Piper charts look different, and work a bit differently. This definitely threw me.)

BAK study progress – direction positive, but more study needed

So, finally snatched enough time this week to work through the second Dyson-Holland BAK (Basic Aeronautical Knowledge) sample exam I bought a few years ago.

The good news is, this time I passed! Pass mark of just over 80% (against the minimum 70% required), which is a definite improvement on my initial fail when I did the first sample exam nearly a month ago. Going back over the Air Law chapter definitely helped, along with having the relevant Civil Aviation orders and regulations, and the AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) on hand to reference during the sample exam (as allowed by the exam rules).

What I’m finding challenging still, are the questions relating to using take-off, landing and load charts for the “Piper Quebec” used in the sample BAK exam workbook. When I did these exams a few years ago I chose to do these questions for the “Cessna Papa”, for which (for some reason) I found the questions rather easier. But the take-off and landing charts for Piper Quebec are just a little more complex. Fortunately, worked answers are also included so I’ll go back over them with a fine tooth comb.

I’ll then do the 3rd sample BAK exam, and assuming a good outcome (better than 80% pass mark, and not struggling with take-off and landing charts) I’ll finish up on the BAK revision and tackle the PPL modules next. Goal is to have done a complete refresh of all this material by end February next year, and to be nailing the sample Bob Tait PPL exams I’ve just bought.

The theory is still pretty easy, the problem I’m having is simply one more child in my life, and a much more demanding job and schedule in general, than when I first took a run at this 3 years ago …

Need to hit the books more …

OK, so I’ve been working my way through the BAK (Basic Aeronautical Knowledge) theory book – trying to get ahead on my theory learning before March when the flying kicks off and I have to sit the exams.

This is the 2nd time I’ve been through the BAK theory. All good, I pretty much understand it all – but when I sat down today to do one of the BAK sample exams, I failed it – only scored a 66% mark when minimum pass mark is 70%. Didn’t miss it by much, but – must … do … better!