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HeliTorque :: View topic - R.T. Practical Exam.
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Student Pilots & Hour Builders

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R.T. Practical Exam.
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McBad
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: R.T. Practical Exam. Reply with quote

Is the UK Radio practical exam the same for potential helicopter pilots as for potential fixed-wing pilots?

Just wondered because several of the written exam papers are different and because I don't see that I'm ever going to be memorising complicated departure clearances in an R22...

It's looming in my diary.

Thanks,

M.
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Flying Foxy
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say yes as I was taught by an ex-fixed-wing pilot who is an "ATC" - I use quotes cos he is not working a tower that gives clearance as such - he would tell you that you may proceed if clear to do so, thus the decision is yours (this would be Sheffield then) [but since I haven't flown there following offices being built on the runway Twisted Evil then I can't say any more from current knowledge.]

He was a very good instructor and worked to a plan through which you were guided several times and then he would do it for real. I sat opposite him - he talked as if ATC, I responded as a pilot and I got it that way. In fact, the example call signs I was using and a/c were regular fixed-wiing types too ergo I could say that the R/T exam is universal.

I could have made that a lot shorter! Smile

FF

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks FF, after the weekend I'll know for sure so will put a note back here. In the meantime I'm off to practice my verbals for overhead joins and airway crossings. Smile

M
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I remember of it, he gave me a brief history of R/T and some background of current practices. The actual test was the route from A to B involving a diversion, interception of a Mayday call and passing that info to ATC and their replies back to the distress caller as you could hear the distress and ground couldn't, then having to wait for a heavy to land in front of you as you made an approach..this having been run through a couple or three times beforehand on separate occasions. I must have been for 5 or 6 (2hr) lessons at the guy's house.

HTH

FF (now with a fresh Class 2!)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi FF

5 or 6 2hr lessons! Wow, that's making me feel seriously underprepared! (And, I printed off CAA Safety Sense leaflet 22 last night with the associated 'record form' [Flight Radiotelephony (communications) Training Syllabus - Training Record] and that also suggests 16hrs of classroom instruction are normally required!)

I've not done any 'formal' lessons on R/T, just used it a fair bit during the flying lessons. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for mentioning the Mayday relay, I'll have a quick look at that this afternoon.

Worried of Cardiff,

M
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the R/T practical exam varies a lot, depending on the examiner. I had a one-day course for mine with a 747 pilot - my club organised him to come in for a day, and there were 7 or 8 of us. It was pretty much death by PowerPoint, and I can't honestly say that it was much more use than reading the relevant volume of Thom.

(It was more use than reading CAP 415, which is a dreadful text - it's inconsistent with itself in several places...)

For the R/T practical, you need to be able to do:

Departure from an ATC, AFIS or A/G field
Request for FIS
Request for MATZ penetration
Request for LARS
Request for VDF
Mayday call
Pan call
Relayed Mayday or Pan
Request for special VFR
Arrival at an ATC, AFIS or A/G field

The exam will include a selection of those, and I believe that getting the Mayday or Pan call wrong is an immediate fail; everything else has a degree of leeway. You will be given a map of a route and details of the stations you need to call en-route, and you get as much time as you need to prepare beforehand - there is nothing to stop you writing every call out before you start.

My examiner was brilliant - she was a heli instructor in Northampton. She sent me a "mock" route that I could script beforehand, which we went through under test conditions before the test itself, and the test itself was a bit of a formality after that.

The best way to prepare, IMHO, is to write out a script for each of the situations above so you know what you are required to say, and make sure you know the scripts. Also try to work out a standard "pass your message" response which covers all bases - if you know that, you know how to make a Mayday call, and you can do a departure and arrival at an ATC field, that's pretty much enough.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

McBad wrote:
Hi FF
Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for mentioning the Mayday relay, I'll have a quick look at that this afternoon.
M


Strange sort of exam. Lasted about 40 minutes and in my case worked off a laminated A4 sheet upon which a sketch map / route was drawn. I'm not sure if the airfields and place names were real or fictitious but I certainly didn't recognise them ('Tinhill'?, 'Conway FIS'?). The route had turning points and went through a matz and some class A airspace.

Along with the route sheet there was a printed A4 sheet of radio services and frequencies, relating to the airfields and radio navigation aids on the map sheet. A further sheet gave information on the aircraft, your speed, call sign, heights you needed to fly at, etc. Another sheet gave rules and information about what you had to do.

After having ten minutes to 'prepare the route' (which I mostly spent trying to suss which frequency on the sheet related to which feature on the sketch map!) the examiner comes back in and checks you are 'ok'. You then wear a normal headset and mike which is connected to a 'box' which is wired through the wall...

...you then have to make all the radio calls as if you were taking off and flying the route and changing frequencies with the examiner replying as ATCO / FISO / radio operator from the other side of the wall. There is some extra audio fed in from other aircraft. The main problem I found was that I was still floundering trying to remember which frequency I wanted to ask for next and which I was on; if I'd been using my normal frequencies, or frequencies I'd planned for a real route I was flying, I think it would have been much smoother! The advice about knowing how to do a Mayday relay turned out to be very relevant.

It's quite hard work because, you end up doing a lot of talking, but despite numerous umms and errs and some silences, whilst I desperatly tried to find the next frequencey I needed, I passed.

Strange.

M.

(PS; cost 60, cheque or cash payable to the examiner. You get a form which the examiner and you sign and this goes with the rest of your documents to the CAA when you pass the flight test. Apparantly the FRTOL is built into the PPL(H) licence (can't confirm that, I've never seen one!)).
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

McBad wrote:
The main problem I found was that I was still floundering trying to remember which frequency I wanted to ask for next and which I was on; if I'd been using my normal frequencies, or frequencies I'd planned for a real route I was flying, I think it would have been much smoother!


I found that with Medway Control too - a lot of entirely fictitious frequencies, for fictitious airfields and sectors were really quite difficult to remember and articulate (to start with at least... as with anything, practice makes perfect). Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

McBad wrote:
There is some extra audio fed in from other aircraft.


When I took mine, it wasn't until afterwards that I realised that the very faint radio chatter I had occasionally noticed in the background was deliberate - I'd thought that the (rather Heath-Robinson) apparatus used to administer the test was picking up actual radio from the nearby ATC and aircraft! If I didn't crash any of the other "transmissions" (as I guess was the point of this) it was sheer blind luck...
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