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ATPL Exam Preparation

Hi,

I am planning to start the ATPL exams full time later on in the year and I’m quite keen to hit the ground running when i start. Could anyone give me some advice on what i should start brushing up on Maths and Physics wise? Also any other study/prep tips would be very helpful!

Thanks
Callum

London Area

Nothing. Maths is basic arithmetic plus simple x/y diagrams only, and physics is mostly qualitative, if you understand force vector diagrams and the basic concepts of forces and in particular the difference between force and power it helps, but all should be explained in the materials.

Biggin Hill

PoF requires to brush up on trigonometry with the need to understand formulas for radius of a turn, climb gradients, g force, etc

While no calculus knowledge is required, having some calculus is useful in understanding some of the Performance topics. Thrust and Power curves are covered in Performance.

A lot of questions require manipulating simple equations, and recognising variables that are proportional or inversely proportional. Also understanding power functions and the effect on proportionality in equations.

One old airline interview question starts with is there gravity in space? So having some Physics general knowledge is useful.

The good US taxpayer provides you the classic Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators for free.

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/00-80t-80.pdf

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

One old airline interview question starts with is there gravity in space?

If people had to answer that, almost nobody would ever become an airline pilot

One answer would be that everything in space is in orbital equilibrium around everything else, and everything that ends up in an orbit whose perihelion is smaller than the size of the other object collides with that object

But seriously all one needs to pass the exams is just the four maths functions? Do you need to actually understand trig? You could learn the slide rule for wind calcs.

A scientific/engineering education is extremely handy for understanding the physical world generally and flying specifically, but the narrow Q of what is needed to pass the 14 EASA ATPL exams is not the same Q…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Agreed. Nothing special to brush up on.

Take a nice weekend off and enjoy your free time. The difficulty in the ATPL theory is not the material itself but the quantity of it and the length of time it takes to get it all down.

Also, I would argue that 99% of it is useful to some extent although you most certainly will lose of sight of this pretty quickly. If you’re getting tired of working on seemingly useless stuff, it helps a lot to look around the Internet and ask current airline pilots because they will likely have an anecdote to share with you that will demonstrate the usefulness of it. I’ve found that listening to podcasts such as Airplane Geeks and Airline Pilot Guy helps because they often discuss technical topics that may have seemed useless. As for the 1%, well it’s useful because it allows you to pass the exam with a better mark :)

The most useful study tip I can give is to look at the big picture and not to get hung up on some very specific topics. I’ve seen a lot of people getting hung up on NDB stuff for example and spending hours upon hours on it. The radio aids part is a very small part of the RadioNav exam so, while it’s important, don’t spend hours on it. Get the basic questions down quickly and then try your best on the harder ones. After working them enough times, you’ll get it right but I think it’s important to move on.

Last Edited by antoinebk at 15 Mar 16:26
LFLP/LSGL

Peter wrote:

One old airline interview question starts with is there gravity in space?

If people had to answer that, almost nobody would ever become an airline pilot
The answer if obvious if you know physics, but why would it be relevant for an airline pilot? If you for some reason believed there was no gravity in space, how would it affect your ability to operate aircraft?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

The gravity question is quite useful, not in a practical sense, but in gauging how the candidate reacts to the follow up questions.

Most candidates will answer that there is gravity, and may intuit that acceleration due to gravity on earth decreases the further you are from the centre of the earth.

Having plumped for ‘there is gravity in space’ answer, the next question might be why are objects weightless on the international space station? The answer to this actually leads back to classic principles of flight.

I don’t think the interviewers are being obtuse, but trying to gauge how much, or little, intellectual curiosity the candidate might have, and how much of their preparation has been rote learning of the question banks.

A bit like the hedge fund interview question of how many traffic lights are there within a mile radius of Berkeley Square, but I prefer the airline question.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

RobertL18C wrote:

Having plumped for ‘there is gravity in space’ answer, the next question might be why are objects weightless on the international space station? The answer to this actually leads back to classic principles of flight.

I don’t see that as the “classic principles of flight” are based on aerodynamics and balancing of weight and lift. All of that is irrelevant on the ISS.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 16 Mar 03:22
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

The first commander of the ISS flies a Great Lakes biplane today, with two wings to combat gravity. Maybe he can clarify

…it leads back to PoF because you are not weightless in the ISS. The ISS is in orbit, hence all objects are falling together with centrifugal force balanced by centripetal (gravity), which leads back to forces in a (balanced) turn, and forces in accelerated flight.

The airline interview is now pretty standardised in any event, with the MCC and JOC providers handing out a typical 150 question bank of what you might expect.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)
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