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05-05-2012, 22:12   #1
Suits
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ATPL Knowledge in practical day to day flying?

I've been wondering for a while now exactly how much of what is on the atpl course is actually used on a day to day basis as an airline pilot. I know that all the things taught are important for a pilot to know, but when you come into work in the morning and go through your day how much of what you learn for the atpls do you actually use? I know from listening to airline RT that much of the Comms exam seems to be forgotten(not that there was that much to learn), and the books themselves seem to suggest that you dont have to do mass and balance/performance calculations in a major airline!

I was told recently that Gen Nav is largely left in the exam hall or isolated in some dark recess of a pilot's mind only to be recalled during sleepless nights or cold sweats.
Having a knowledge of all the workings etc is good and can save one's ass I know...but still....I'd just like to know how it really is on average!
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05-05-2012, 23:08   #2
Jesus Nut
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Mass & Balance!
Because you do a load sheet for each flight, am, Met! cause you check weather before each flight, the rest really is just stuff you need to have a rough idea of to understand the enviroment you work in on a day to day basis.
ie, you should understand when the plane is in the air what makes it stay there and so on with the way all the systems work.

Really for an airline pilot, its the type rating study itself that is more day to day practice.
The ATPL's is just an ICAO thing.

Most pilots admit 99% of is BS! Bad Science
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06-05-2012, 00:22   #3
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Mass & Balance!
Because you do a load sheet for each flight, am, Met! cause you check weather before each flight, the rest really is just stuff you need to have a rough idea of to understand the enviroment you work in on a day to day basis.
ie, you should understand when the plane is in the air what makes it stay there and so on with the way all the systems work.

Really for an airline pilot, its the type rating study itself that is more day to day practice.
The ATPL's is just an ICAO thing.

Most pilots admit 99% of is BS! Bad Science
I wasnt aware you had to do out the load sheet yourself. Excuse my naivety but I was told before and am pretty sure the mass and balance book pointed out that the ops people do up the sheet and you give it the once over before signing off on it....or at least 90% of what goes into it is handed to you!
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06-05-2012, 00:28   #4
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the books themselves seem to suggest that you dont have to do mass and balance/performance calculations in a major airline!
That's assuming you work for a major airline and don't have to work it out yourself. But even then a good working knowledge is vital. Met is useful. But in truth a lot of stuff is really unneccessary. During my exams I had to draw a picture of the workings of an altimeter. Somehow or other I cannot imagine a scenario where I would need to disassemble one.

Not every pilot ends up in the airlines and stuff like mass and balance and performance are not just an academic exercises but are life and death.

It is a pity that the exams don't reflect the reality of a working pilot's life. I do think they need modernising in many ways.
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06-05-2012, 00:35   #5
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I wasnt aware you had to do out the load sheet yourself. Excuse my naivety but I was told before and am pretty sure the mass and balance book pointed out that the ops people do up the sheet and you give it the once over before signing off on it....or at least 90% of what goes into it is handed to you!
As one of those 'ops people' at one stage, yes I worked it out for the pilots. But what if the runway changes or something extra is loaded or unloaded at some remote base when all the ops people are asleep in their beds on the other side of the planet? In my job there are no ops people, just me.

Like I said above not every pilot job has an army of people making it easy for them. Quite a few have to do it all themselves.
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06-05-2012, 00:38   #6
Suits
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That's assuming you work for a major airline and don't have to work it out yourself. But even then a good working knowledge is vital. Met is useful. But in truth a lot of stuff is really unneccessary. During my exams I had to draw a picture of the workings of an altimeter. Somehow or other I cannot imagine a scenario where I would need to disassemble one.

Not every pilot ends up in the airlines and stuff like mass and balance and performance are not just an academic exercises but are life and death.

It is a pity that the exams don't reflect the reality of a working pilot's life. I do think they need modernising in many ways.
One of the issues I have heard raised is that you dont need to learn the stuff in order to pass aviation exams...just QB your ass off and you will pass....
That attitude seems to be widespread and I have heard of some schools not even opening a manual with their students and more or less doing a rough overview of each subject before plonking them in front of Bristol and letting them have at it.
I personally made a point of going through the books before even going near a QB, but I know of many others(and some spoke openly about it in the Gresham)who say that they failed say met or rnav because they didnt know there was a version 3 on bristol......that is sort of scary.....

I just want to be able to speak confidently about whatever I'm asked at interview(if I get an interview), so I'm doing my best to get a good working knowledge.
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06-05-2012, 11:49   #7
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From my experiece of it I think you could pass the exams using only the Bristol question bank. It's a great tool to understand what way the questions are asked, and how to pass the exam.

However, without books and a bit of extra study, you will be screwed when it comes to interview. When asked how an altimeter works by an airline, "B" is not the answer! You have to know what's going on.

I know one girl who was outside the exam hall learning the answers (as in which letter was the correct answer) to the question bank she had done, without copping on that the order of questions change every time - needless to say she failed that exam.
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06-05-2012, 14:40   #8
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.....I know one girl who was outside the exam hall learning the answers (as in which letter was the correct answer) to the question bank she had done, without copping on that the order of questions change every time - needless to say she failed that exam.
That is quite 'special'......
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06-05-2012, 17:54   #9
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I noticed that in exams like flight planning the examiners seem to be a bit lazy in appointing a correct answer. They seem to round numbers a lot when they come out as decimals and I did a quick tot up not too long ago and realised that with all the rounding they had done on a fuel question they would have fallen 13 mins short and been burning reserves......not a great example to set to the next generation of pilots...as far as proper planning goes.....there have been others when they would have run out of fuel 3-5mins before destination, which is a serious problem if you are flying at high speed......
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06-05-2012, 19:52   #10
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That is quite 'special'......

Oh yeah, she's a gem. Heaven forbid she ever makes it to the flight deck of a commercial airline someday, it will be a flight I would gladly miss.
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07-05-2012, 22:46   #11
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A lot of the day to day calculations are concerned with available runway length, weight, trim, fuel use, fuel uplift expected, changing loads (pax off at last minute/bags not loaded/final fuel changed), what the wind is doing at departure point and is expected to be doing at destination and real-world stuff like ATC difficulties/duty time/tech snags/cabin crew issues and forty million other things that you will only find out about on the day in the job.If you work for an airline, a lot of other people work towards making your flight as routine as possible. If you are a sole pilot and effectively your own Ops Room, you get to do it all by yourself. With regard to load sheets and performance calculations, different airlines require the pilots to do more or less. Doing every calculation manually is still around but it eats up time and can allow mistakes to creep in, which is why it's being phased out for precomputed load sheets and so on.

regards
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07-05-2012, 23:26   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suits View Post
I wasnt aware you had to do out the load sheet yourself. Excuse my naivety but I was told before and am pretty sure the mass and balance book pointed out that the ops people do up the sheet and you give it the once over before signing off on it....or at least 90% of what goes into it is handed to you!
As one of those 'ops people' at one stage, yes I worked it out for the pilots. But what if the runway changes or something extra is loaded or unloaded at some remote base when all the ops people are asleep in their beds on the other side of the planet? In my job there are no ops people, just me.

Like I said above not every pilot job has an army of people making it easy for them. Quite a few have to do it all themselves.
In most pilots world " it's just them" ðŸ‘

Last edited by Madpaddy79; 07-05-2012 at 23:33.
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09-05-2012, 19:06   #13
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Small ATPL related question.....does anyone know if the IAA use fuel tankering questions in the flight planning exam? Bristol says the UK doesnt...so I'd imagine the IAA doesnt either...or am I wrong?
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09-05-2012, 19:25   #14
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The IAA do use them Suits, had one in mine! Know a mate who sat it a few months before and had 3 of them
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09-05-2012, 22:32   #15
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The IAA do use them Suits, had one in mine! Know a mate who sat it a few months before and had 3 of them
Lovely!
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