IMC written exam done

I’d been originally working on the basis that I’d do the IMC Flight Test, followed by the written exam. However, recent conversations questioned the legality of doing things this way round, so over the last few days I’ve been doing my best to get up to speed and get the exam out of the way.

Got myself ready and went and sat the exam today. Spent a couple of hours revising at the club, before sitting the exam.

On my first pass through, I skipped one of the questions regarding the effect of a blocked pitot head on the ASI, and all of the questions relating to the flight plan that needs to be filled. I was pretty confident about the ones I did answer, and then concentrated on getting the flight plan done. This was all just basic whizz wheel stuff, and apart from a slight hiccup where I forgot how to calculate fuel weights based on quantity and specific gravity (I finally worked it out!) it all went smoothly.

One question regarding the flight plan was particularly nasty though. It basically boiled down to “If you overfly Blackbushe at 2400 feet, are you in their ATZ or not?”. The elevation of Blackbushe is something like 350 feet, and I couldn’t remember if ATZs were 2000 feet AGL or 2500 feet AGL. If it was the former, you’re not in the ATZ, if the latter, you are. In the end I plumped for the former, and chose the answer to the effect of “You’re not in the ATZ, but you should call them anyway”.

Once all the flight planning related questions were complete, I went back and completed the one about the blockage of the pitot head, before having a final read through of all of the questions.

I found what I thought was an error on one of the questions (relating to determining the position of the aircraft relating to a VOR) that ended up being caused by a common problem I’d had during revising, incorrectly assuming that the track we were flying to the VOR put us on the same radial (it doesn’t, it puts us on the reciprocal radial). I was a little reticent to change the answer, as I’ve done this before and changed the right answer to a wrong one! I stuck with it though, and made the change.

Was barely half way through the allotted time, but decided that after a double check I was happy, so took the paper to Bob to mark. Before he marked it I asked him about the dimensions of an ATZ, and luckily I had picked the correct answer (for future reference, 2nm radius and 2000 feet AAL). Bob went through the answer sheet, and didn’t find any wrong answers!

He quizzed me over a couple of related questions regarding ATZ dimensions, MATZ dimensions etc., and I was surprised how little of the actual detail I’d forgotten. In reality I would always err on the side of caution (even flying over an airfield at 3000 feet, I’d still contact them despite it not being strictly necessary) but perhaps a re-read of the Air Law textbook might be in order to refresh my memory?

Anyway, that’s one hurdle out of the way. Now all I need is the RAF to open for business again after the ash cloud and I might be able to sort out the Flight Test!

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