Hi All, welcome back. Since the last blog I’ve completed solo consolidation pilot in command module, or PIC (Pilot in Command) as it’s officially known. This has to be the most fun I’ve had so far during training. PIC is where the student is Pilot in Command (PIC) of the aircraft, and can decide where to go to build experience to 50 hours as PIC flying complex routes and making command decisions. This builds resilience and experience and improves your in command decision making ability.
I chose to see as much of the country as I possibly could by electing to fly longer routes to distant airfields, while visiting new airspaces and talking to new air traffic controllers. This has greatly improved my confidence but also my ability. Beginning the PIC module I asked how the whole thing worked, and the response I got was: “beg for time off”. This suited me perfectly. Some days I had up to 2 long flying slots! At that pace I got through quite quickly. But with that comes planning, and a lot of it. While planning does help with not getting lost, most importantly it allows the pilot to (metaphorically) stay in front of the airplane. What PIC was great for was adapting to unexpected changes, there is nowhere to “pull in” while flying.
PIC is also a great opportunity for family and friends to see you flying overhead, especially now during Covid when there are not as many opportunities for visits, and no back seating available on flights. For me, I used one of my PIC flights to do exactly that, much to their delight. Of all the flights I did though, flying over the Aran Islands had to be the best, the scenery is stunning. Dublin presented an excellent challenge with complex airspace and busy commercial traffic, I would highly recommend it. Part of PIC module is the CPL qualifier flight. This is a 300nm flight with two full stops. Mine was to Sligo and Shannon. On the day we did it, there was a strong headwind all the way there at cruise altitude. Not only did this increase our time getting to Sligo and making record time coming back to Cork, but it gave the added challenge of bumpy conditions as we flew north. With a strong northerly wind, it has to travel over the whole of the island before it reaches us, this makes for gusty conditions. But these conditions are regular in Ireland, and together with high teaching standards, makes AFTA graduates some of the best trained pilots out there.
With eyes outside enjoying the view on PIC for visual flights, the next step is keeping my eyes pointed inward on the instruments for SEIR (Single Engine Instrument Rating). Wish me luck! Until next time, enjoy some views over Ireland from a different perspective.