Ground school 101

by Charlie Barclay on Nov 02 2017
"6 months, 750 classroom hours, 14 ATPL Exams and a hell of a lot of coffee."

Ground school is tough, there is no other adjective I can think of to breakdown what Ground School has to offer. It is certainly no mean feat and is very relentless. Once that ball is rolling, it is not coming to a stop for 6 months. Booklet after booklet, worksheet after worksheet, the learning is being fired at you from all angles, at times you find yourself juggling four subjects and once in the final stages, that ramps up to six. I would go as far as saying you are effectively completing a degree in a six-month period. Ground School is very unforgiving, however, with the right dedication and commitment, alongside the fantastic teaching staff here at L3 Airline Academy, you can and you will, make it through.

The aim of this blog is to convey some advice alongside some tips in order to help make your Ground School phase as enjoyable as possible. My intention is to pass on my knowledge in order to help make that transition into Ground School as smooth as it can be.

Break the ice

It's your First Flight Day, you're in a room full of strangers and this marks your first day of that winding road in training to become a Commercial Pilot. The aviation field prides itself on encompassing teamwork and harmonising friendships. Moving around the room, take the time in getting to know the guys & girls around you, after all, you're in it together and frankly, you're going to need each other from the outset and throughout. Whether it may be that you're stuck on a question in class, unable to comprehend why rain falls so much in the summer or simply something on a more personal level.

Making and forming friendships from the beginning will make it a damn sight easier in getting to that end goal. Take advantage of your colleague's stronger areas, their highs may be your pitfalls. The time will come when it will be your turn to eradicate a weakness they may have. Bounce off of one another because as you will come to know; a problem shared is a problem halved.

Utilise the Resources

Making use of what is around you is critical in order to help you succeed through not only Ground School, but onwards once flying for an airline. You are given a number of different resources in order to make learning through Ground School that much easier. Take vital use of the instructors around you. They are subject experts, a number being former pilots themselves. They will be able to provide you with the vital information needed to get you through the exams, not least to mention where it plays a part in your role as a pilot. Teaching at L3 is world renowned and for that very reason, you could not be in better hands when it comes to tackling the 14 exams.

As I mentioned earlier, use at your will the course mates around you and for that matter, speak to cadets from other courses and see if they can offer you any advice or a different perspective on tackling a problem. Having been a cadet with L3 for only a short amount of time, I am already making use of speaking to cadets from other courses.

Can I have a break?

Being scheduled in for lessons Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30am through till 16:30pm is certainly a long day and it is quite staggering the rate at which the content is taught. Getting towards the end of the week, you're nearing the weekend and can finally see the sight of some well-deserved rest. Rightly so, taking time away from the bombardment of learning 14 ATPL subjects is also of utmost importance. Your mind needs that time to refresh and recharge.

Continual bouts of revision will take its toll and sometimes it is best to take a step back and come back after having some time away. A walk, a run, visit to the shops, even a change of where you're revising can all go a long way in revitalising your mental mood. Breaking your revision into manageable chunks makes it significantly easier to prioritise your weaker areas. Trying to stick to a routine I have found makes it easier for me to focus on what I am studying, rather than worrying about what I need to cover next.

Charlie Barclay

*photographs courtesy of Charlie Barclay