Four ground exams, over two hours of solo flying and an £850 quid bill, good day I say

So this morning started without any effects of alcohol which was good. Some last minute revision, coffee, breakfast, fed dogs and out. Was at Staverton in good time. James arrived a few minutes later. After the niceties, it was straight on with ‘Human performance and limitations’. Loved that paper, knew the answer to every question easily. 100%. Straight on with ‘Meteorology’, this was the one I had to learn the most for by far. Again, knew the answer to every question. I got one wrong, which I’m still debating why, Captain James couldn’t give a good explanation. It was to do with air temperature, if it increased and you had QNH the same and maintained your altitude where would you actually be. Now my argument was that as temperature increased, air density would decrease, so the altitude read would by higher, so you would be lower. Anyway, it was a pass. Then, out with James, did a couple of circuits, then I was on my own, knocked out an hours worth of circuits. Came back in, picked up James. We had lunch and coffee. He took some people out on a pleasure flight in an R44. I was left with ‘Aircraft general’ and ‘Flight performance and planning’. Aircraft general was okay, I knew pretty much all the answers. Flight planning, Jesus, that was way off the scale. The problem at the moment is all the syllabuses are changing, so the books I have don’t match to the exams. So I was suddenly presented with a map. No fucking idea. I had to learn map reading in forty-five minutes. God that exam was hard. James came back, we refuelled the R22 and off we trotted. Went out to the north, he pointed at some mountains and a motorway and said ‘just stay inside that’, went back to the airfield and dropped James off. Then I was on my own, took off to the north and then for the first time, crossed the road of the ATZ boundary. I was then in Class G, uncontrolled air-space on my own for the very first time. Scared? Actually, no, not at all. I’ve gone beyond the ‘this thing is going to kill me’, stage. I’m pretty much in charge of it now. If it throws me a curve ball I can deal with it. Okay, I don’t have the skills of Captain James, but I think I can keep myself out of trouble. I had great fun meandering about for an hour. Lost the airfield numerous times. I had a map, but I would have been just as better off taking a toaster with me for all the good it did. I was just looking around and enjoying the view at £5.20 a minute. Got a vector back to the airfield, it was about six miles away, so did a small circuit round and then headed back in. Good approach and taxi back. All over. I’d passed aircraft general with one question wrong and flight planning with three wrong. I passed both exams. All I have left now is radio communications and navigation. I’m actually really looking forward to navigation, you get to go places, that’s really what it’s all about. Okay, at the end of today there was a big bill and there will be no flying for the rest of the month because of it, but I’ve taken a major step up. The end of the course is now in sight, and it’s a very achievable goal.

The rest of this week I’m expecting to be total shit.

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