For some reason I had been putting off completing my radio telephony exam which was my last exam in the set of 9 you need to pass before taking the PPL skills test, initially when I started learning speaking on the radio was daunting due to the amount you have to listen to and repeat back to the controller, I never thought I would be able to manage it. From early on one of my instructors used to say to me “you fly the aircraft and I will deal with the radios” which in hindsight was a bad idea as I lost practice time. My current instructor insisted I did all the radio work which at the time threw me in at the deep end but I am really grateful for that now.
After spending some hours reading through the CAP413 supplement, Pooleys Communications and various online literature revising certain areas I felt slightly ready for completing my practical radio exam, I was informed by the flying school this would last a couple of hours so to be quite honest I was preparing for the worst outcome.
On arrival I was greeted with a room complete with laptop, headset and range of paperwork that showed the route we would be “flying” on the simulator. I had a few minutes to prepare and read through the notes before the exam started, the route we would be “flying” sounded like the route from hell with all sorts going to be thrown at me but I was happy to give it a go, whats the worse that could happen?!?
After we got over the technical issues of the voice delay between the laptop and the instructor laptop in another room we begun the exam. The route was basically a VFR flight from one airport to another via two known locations, along the route would be a diversion, engine failure, relayed mayday, MATZ penetration, go-around and bearing request. Just for a bit of fun at the very end I was also thrown some further aircraft failures on approach to the diversion airfield.
On the test I needed to know how to:
- Request Taxi
- Change frequency
- MATZ penetration
- Change to radar
- Position reports
- Request true bearing
- Pan Pan Pan Call
- Request zone transit
- Mayday Call
- Relay a Mayday call
- Enter the circuit and land
Surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and after a few minutes of starting the exam I felt pretty confident, it was all the same radio calls I have made many times before, the only difference was I was on the ground and speaking into a computer. Even more surprising was the fact I passed the radio exam which concludes all of my ground exams, I was now properly ready for the skills test which is booked for Sunday 2nd April 2017!
For reference I found these resources very useful: