PPL theory all seems a bit of a chore and sounds pretty daunting, many people are put off getting a PPL or LAPL at the very mention of exams. So what are they all about and why do we have to do them?
There are 9 theory exams that need to be passed before the practical skills test for either a PPL or LAPL. These are designed to provide a theoretical background to the Flying training that you are going to be doing. The minimum hours for a LAPL is 30, which is not a lot! Therefore a sound knowledge of areas such as air law, how the aircraft flies and what is actually going on underneath the cowling is essential in order to ensure that the flight training is supplemented in order to create a safe and well rounded pilot. A pilot who can handle an aircraft perfectly yet cannot negotiate a zone transit is just as useless as a pilot who can quote the air navigation order yet can’t perform a forced landing in anger. Theoretical training is essential and is therefore important to resist the temptation to do enough to just pass the exam.
Question banks are helpful tools and it is no secret that if you practise enough questions you will probably see some that are very close to the actual questions. This may well get you that tick in the box and allow you to pass the exam. The downside to question banks, is that it is easy to recall answers, rather than absorb the knowledge. But if you ask any pilots with 1000 hours or so if they recommend studying the theory in the detail the answer will be yes! A sound knowledge is essential should it all not go to plan. Say you are flying in cloud which you believe to be benign. Suddenly you hear hail hammering on the aircraft a sound knowledge of Met will tell you that this means only one thing… an embedded cumulonimbus cloud! This example is the same for any subject, the information may well be useless which is an opinion held by many. But it is only until you need it!
So a little about the PPL exams, as previously mentioned there are indeed nine of them which are listed below.
- Air Law
- Operational Procedures
- Planning and Performance
- Human Performance and Limitations
- Principles of Flight
- Aircraft General
Each is multiple choice and they all vary in length and time allowed to complete. The pass mark is 75% for each exam and each subject may be attempted up to three times. A common question that is often asked is “which subject is the easiest?” The answer to this is very personal, some people may excel at a subject that others may struggle with. Therefore this a very difficult question to answer. In order to answer this one need to have a think where you strengths lie and see which subjects lend themselves best.
All exams have to completed within 18 months from the end of the month in which you completed your first exam. They also need to be completed with six sittings. A sitting is a period of ten days. Therefore you ideally need to sit a number of exams within each sitting in order to leave sufficient sittings for retakes should they be required. Once all exams are passed these are valid for a period of 24 months from when the last exam was passed. In other words once you have passed your last exam you have 24 months to successfully pass your PPL skills test.
There is no right or wrong answer on how to study for these exams as we all study differently. However you will need a full set of books which available from the club. Almat also sells the Pooleys question and answer books that supplement the textbooks. These are great as they allow you to get used to the format of the exams and each practise exam is supplemented with comprehensive explanations. We are also able to offer one to one instruction at a time convenient to yourself should you need a little extra help. However if you want to ensure the best chance possible of passing all exams first-time from June 2019 Almat will be offering an intensive groundschool course. This will be done over seven consecutive days and will include the first attempt at each exam. Our highly experienced instructors will support you throughout the course. Please contact the office for more information on this exciting new course. https://almat.co.uk/shop/intensive-ground-school/