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 So you want to be a pilot eh!

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Male Number of posts : 12
Location : CZBB
Registration date : 2007-06-20

PostSubject: So you want to be a pilot eh!   Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:28 am

Thought I could spew out all my frustrations about the October exams onto those who are still in the fray of becoming pilots.

Passed my CPL flight test in Vancouver on 15-August, flew back to India on 23-August, and landed in Delhi on 30-Aug. Sat through the classes at Mr.Duggal. Applied for the 2 conversion papers (CPLCG Nav Composite and Regulations). And DGCA decides to publish the admit list 3 days before the exams. And they give me only 1 paper - CPLG Navigation. That's it. At the CEO office, Mr.Dwivedi refused to allow me to write the composite since I did not have my original foreign CPL yet. Transport Canada takes 2 months to print the new CPL and send it across, so I won't get it before 15-October anyways. Several of the Canada returned CPL holders faced the same dilemma. A bunch of us decided to write the individual papers instead. So we brought another DD for Rs.500 for the third paper(the initial application was for 2 exams and Rs.1000 DD), and Mr.Dwivedi obliged us. So we wrote the CPLG Navigation, Meteorology and Regulations papers. This exercise of getting the admit card is undoubtedly the most time wasting tactic. If only I had spent those 2 days studying instead of running around the DGCA offices. Fortunately it was October and not as hot. Imagine the plight of those who have to go through this hell hole in the summer!!

In Delhi, the exams are held in UPSC examination center near India Gate. The center is fairly large. Super security. You walk in through the metal detector and there's the barrel of an very sophisticated gun staring into your face just 3 feet away. You better be scared.Then the bags are checked. The list of roll numbers and which floor and which hall is put up everywhere. If you still can't find your place within time, then you're either not in the list or you just aren't educated enough.

The exam hall is HUGE. Each candidate gets their own little table and chair. Comfortable. Well lit. Ceiling fans keep the sweat away. The tables were dusty. So it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a rag and wipe it before you sit down. No cell phones. You get caught, you get out.

The invigilators distribute the OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheets to everyone. I went prepared with a bunch of sharp HB pencils. But the OMR sheet must be marked with blue or black ball pen only. No gel pen etc etc. Regular ball pen. So go prepared with those.If you don't have experience with this kind of sheet, you better get a print out of this image and practice: http://omr.in/images/omrdemosheet.gif

I didn't have practice with this OMR thing, so it took a lot of my time to fill those circles. And a lot of my patience too. And some of my marks. Once you mark an answer, it's impossible to change it. And that's where I lost some marks. So if you're unsure of the answer, just mark it with a pencil, maybe a tick mark. Later, erase the pencil mark and use the pen.

The Navigation paper had way too many mistakes. I filled the objection sheet with 4 questions. There's an ongoing debate on whether one should mark an answer on the OMR sheet if they fill the objection sheet. I've been told that DGCA doesn't have a clear policy on this. I've also been told that those in charge like to play with our lives. One of the craziest questions had a payload question, given an aircraft with MTOW of 55 tons, other data, and reserve fuel of 27.50 KG - yes, that's 27 and a half KG of reserve fuel. Any sensible pilot must object to this question - the reserve fuel for an aircraft like this would be more like 2750 - two thousand seven hundred fifty KG.

The Meteorology paper was not too hard. I found it unbalanced though. There were way too many questions on Indian climatology and METAR/TAF and way too few questions on synoptic charts. In some questions, there were acronyms that I have never heard of. After the paper, when I first got to use the internet, I found that the Dvorak technique is used to gauge tornado intensity, the Fujita scale is used for tornado damage, the Simpson scale is used for Hurricanes. I would recommend you take a small magnifying lens for use with the synoptic charts - the chart is a computer generated chart and clear to read, but a lens would make it easier.

The Regulation paper was easy. Why I say easy, is because the July results show 67 pass and 897 fail and if I had to guess, I would say the results should be the other way round this time. I'm a little iffy about this paper though, because I couldn't change 3 answers I realised I had marked wrongly, and I didn't study well enough. And I can't for the love of life understand why I must memorize the ICAO annexure numbers. In my hall, this fellow finished and got up in 25 minutes. They refused to let anybody out before 1 hour had passed. In all the commotion that ensued, several candidates were able to talk to others around and the invigilators couldn't keep them under control. The tables were closely placed because of the large number of candidates for Regulations paper. So .. well ... there was ample scope for cheating anyways.

Navigation paper had 80 questions, 3 hours, 10 questions of 3 marks each, and 70 questions of 1 mark each.
Meteorology paper had 50 questions, 2 marks each.
Regulations paper had 50 questions, 2 marks each.

After discussing with others, I found that the questions in the Navigation paper were all the same as in the Navigation Composite (Conversion) paper. The composite paper replaced 10 to 15 of the one mark navigation questions with meteorology questions, and those questions were relatively easy.
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