Grounded at school
Last night marked the end to my 3 week ground school hiatus. Cambrian flying school run a 2 hour lesson every Tuesday night. I missed Operational procedures as I had to concede that leaving Bella with our daughter and 20 hour old baby was a tad unfair.
Here's the fantastic thing about learning - when you are passionate about the subject it becomes so much easier. Truthfully though, I enjoyed school back when it was secondary. It could've been a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder, however - I missed the last 18 months of primary education. Dad was all about home schooling, but I think he just wanted a hand with the daily logging trips for the tipi fire. So by the time I was due to go to comp I convinced him to release me to state education. I loved it, despite being nicknamed "Hotdogs" before first break on the first day - living within 8 foot of a wood fire garnishes you with an au de BBQ and a slightly yellow tinge. It wasn't the learning I loved then though, it was the camaraderie, the banter and the sports. In the following 7 years I did ok - not ground breaking, but ok. Well enough to get into the uni of my choice and 10 years later apply for a few airline sponsored programs.
Now with a fonder heart after a longer absence from school, it is definitely the learning I love. The thing that struck me first about the few pilots I'd met as a boy, was the width of their knowledge. As a pilot you are required to arm your hard drive with a smithsonian library of information. Pilots must have a technical understanding of weather, mechanical, electrical, human and operating systems, have a good grasp of Maths and Physics and have a thirst to update this knowledge regularly - all this so they can read and react correctly in dynamic situations where a great deal of responsibility rests on their shoulders. It is a wonderful reward for a challenging process.
Yesterday we started Flight performance & planning. A fascinating subject if you're into engineering and enjoy the practical application of the theory. I am and do - although I'll admit I found the process of working out a planes CG (centre of gravity) in various hypothetical situations far more challenging than I should've. I'm not into making excuses but let me just say, sleep deprivation is real folks! Mild frustration at myself aside, it was great to be back in that environment amongst students and instructor who are all equally excited to learn, teach and get entirely side-tracked with flying anecdotes. It is not difficult these days to teach yourself the theory for a PPL - there are a multitude of books, apps and subscriptions that'll get you through the course. It is not the same though, as sitting in a classroom with kindred folk, a passionate teacher and a view outside of the sun glinting off your favourite aluminium steed. I love flight, but I also don't mind being grounded, at school.