Back to Ground school

And so it starts all over again, back to ground school for another 3 weeks taking all of the basic knowledge that we learned from our ATPL ground school and applying it to a commercial aeroplane, in this case, the Q400. DSC03694 Interestingly, our first day of ground school referred us to some articles written by one of the test-pilots that my father worked with and someone with whom I spoke to a few times prior to applying for the sponsorship for this whole process, it certainly can be a small world sometimes…


Again like ATPL ground school, there is nothing too mind boggling that you require a labcoat or a stethoscope to work out, it is just the shear volume of the stuff cramming it all into the brain and trying to retain it all.

The good thing about this part of ground school is that the knowledge is fundamental to operating the aircraft.  Most modern airliners these days are fly-by-wire, or as a minimum, fly by computers telling you which way to pull the wires that attach to the wings and make the thing move in the desired direction.  The annoying thing about computers is that they are run by microchips which process a series of 1s and 0s down copper or fibre-optic cable by the use of static charge, something which cannot be seen and therefore we have no idea what is happening inside these wires.

Electrically powered materials are very often taken for granted, think about the times that you watch television and an advert comes on with something like “Power-Gen, sending lots of volts down some copper wire to power this television” or “British Gas, supplying a safe supply of odourless colourless gas which you set fire to and heat your house and cook your food”.  When you see these adverts, you don’t think “Hmm that’s remarkable, think I will turn on a light switch!” or “Darling, do you fancy a bit of Propane, I’m going to turn the oven on for a bit?”.

So you can imagine that when a switch is pressed on board a commercial aeroplane, one should have a pretty good idea of exactly what it is that the back of the switch is attached to and what happens if it develops a fault.  This is essentially what most of ground school is about, the stuff that you cannot see, hidden behind the walls of the aluminium tube keeping all of the passengers alive in an inhospitable environment just 3” from their faces.  The first 2 weeks of the ground school are on the technical side, included in this are engines, hydraulics, pneumatics, electrics, mechanics, control systems, control surfaces, warnings and cautions, air conditioning, power systems.  There is a lot of stuff hidden away in tiny corners of every commercial airliner built, no space is left empty unless a designer could not possibly figure out a way that he could cram an extra hoojamerthingymajig that the commercial team could flog as an invaluable extra to the ever-suspicious airlines at a knock-down 5trillion lira.


~ by globalste on April 7, 2012.

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