Various Tidbits

I did better than expected on my Meterology midterm: 81%. Most of my mistakes were due to stupidity (ie, not reading the question properly).

I also took care of the Radio Operators test on the weekend. The massing mark is 70%. It comprised of 30 multiple choice questions and 10 short answer questions. Pretty straight forward. The short answer questions involved spelling out words using the phonetic alphabet (alpha,bravo,charlie,etc..) as well as making an Urgency (Mayday) and Priority (Pan Pan) calls and messages.

I always find it difficult to figure out when you would use Mayday versus Pan Pan. There are some fine lines. For my Mayday call I said that I was doing a forced landing. For my Pan Pan call, I indicated that I was low on fuel and would like priority for landing. When would you do a Mayday instead of Pan Pan?

Westjet is hiring some part-time positions. Ticket agents and Aircraft “bitches” (stock plane, fuel, etc..). I decided to apply to the “bitch” position.. hopefully I can work weekends and nights I’m not at school. Good for two reasons: One, I get my foot in the door and get close up to planes I might be flying in the future early on. Two, extra cash to pay for more flying!

This month is pretty busy non-flying wise. I’ve only been able to book 2 lessons on each Monday this month.

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One thought on “Various Tidbits

  1. After four years of flying (three of them with an instrument rating), I’d say that meterology is by far the most important topic you’ll study. The weather is way more complicated and important than anything on the PPL or IFR training syllabus would indicate, and it is almost the sole factor that accounts for the difference between a good and bad flight.
    By comparision, the stick-and-rudder stuff is relatively simple, as long as you stay in practice, and the navigation stuff is mostly obsolete (you’re learning 1940’s air navigation ’cause it’s good for you, not because you’ll actually use it much). Airspace is important, but that doesn’t take long to learn.
    I’ve heard a couple of emergencies declared on the radio and seen one forced landing (from the ground), and as far as I recall, none used “mayday” or “pan pan”. The critical thing seems to be just saying the E- word to ATC. More experienced pilots can correct me, but as far as I understand, either “mayday” or “pan pan” is like screaming “oh my god! oh my god!” — more for when the plane’s on fire, or when you’ve just had a midair, than for a forced landing over good terrain or a low-fuel emergency. Of course, either expression would clear a busy frequency fast.
    I think the Swissair crew used “pan pan” when they were on fire and trying to get to Halifax to land.

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