We are a class of 26 cadets of which eight are on the British Airways programme. Ages range from 18 to 38 but there are no women in the class, which I find a bit sad, I can only assume that very few applied for the course. Already a good rapport and sense of humour is building as we get to know each other.
Our first day at school was set aside for admin and initiation, and for meeting some of the key staff at the flight school. I can summarise them in three words; helpful, humorous and slightly eccentric. All right smary-pants, five words. The Chief Ground Instructor for example, claims anyone who genuinely enjoys ground school is a pervert.
The message we are receiving is consistent something like "work hard, enjoy the course, help each other out, did I mention working hard?"
We were issued with our uniforms and course materials — just take a look at this little haul:
The tools of the trade are from top to bottom: flight case, Jeppeson airway manual (student version), hi-vis tabard, huge kneeboard, 14 chunky textbooks, calculator, CRP-5 flight computer, dividers, fuel tester, protractor and scale rule. There is more to come for the flying lessons including headsets and charts.
Now 'all' we have to do is understand and remember the contents of those 14 textbooks and the exams should be a piece of cake.
The CRP-5 flight computer is a state-of-the art machine that requires no batteries, can withstand large shocks or vibrations and will even work underwater. It has a 1-byte non-volatile memory and can perform approximately 0.03 floating point operations per second. OK, it is basically a glorified slide rule.
One side is used to solve ratio problems. You can multiply and divide, convert between units, do speed/distance/time and rate calculations and so on. Extra markings allow aviation-specific maths such as converting indicated to true airspeed or finding density altitude. The other side together with the large rectangular slide is used to solve vector triangles. Typically when planning a flight you know the wind speed and direction, you know the airspeed of your plane and you know the bearing to your destination. The computer tells you the missing information — what heading to steer to allow for the wind, and how long it should take (ground speed). Oh dear, I think I may be one of those ground school peverts.
Oh go on...
Alright then, you've all been so patient, here is the promised cheesy uniform picture.