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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Theory is in!

Yay!!! I have passed all theory exams!!!
I now have a theory certificate, that is valid for two years. I will need to do my practical exam in two years, r I'll have to take the whole theory course all over again. I don't expect that to be too much of a problem, if my shoulder does not throw me back too much. I have what is called a "frozen shoulder" (adhesive capsulitis), which is basically a deep-tissue inflammation. It was very painful for the first two months, but now the inflammation is subsiding. The joint-encapsulation is now thick and rigid at the place of the inflammation, so I experience a more "mechanical" limitation. I only have (severe) pain, when I exceed those limitations. Physiotherapy is helping me to get more reach, and I see small improvements every week. This can take a good while to completely heal, though...

But: my theory is "in tha pocket" :)
I have to admit that I had expected it to be somewhat easier. The subjects are OK, and do-able for an MSc Engineering like myself. But the problem is time management. It takes a lot off your free time to be in class once a week, and study weekdays for the exams that follow classes (I have other plans / priorities during the weekend). And because I want to be able to use the radio once I'm allowed to fly solo, I had also enlisted for the RT (Radio Telephony) practice course. Another weekday's evening in class, and another subject to practice during other evenings...
One time, that caused me to be too late with my application for two theory exams I had just finished ground school for. That meant I had to wait another month before I could take the exams, meanwhile starting ground school for the next subject, and still following, and practising, RT practice. That one was tough, because I had to juggle 2 theory classes I did not have lessons in any more, with the one theory class I did have ground school for, plus RT at the same time.I had to prioritise all my actions, every evening again. In the end, I did OK, because I got the theory exams with the minimum required 75% score, and got my practical RT license in two attempts (froze up on the first attempt; not a pretty sight).
The only thing "theoretical" that remains is an LPE, or Language Proficiency Endorsement.
That is a test to determine how good one is on one of the official ICAO languages, in an aviation environment. In the Netherlands, that language is English. In our neighbouring countries we have a lot of other languages (German, French, Spanish) that are spoken on the General Aviation radio. An LPE ends in a score, 4 through 6. Less than 4, and you are not qualified to operate a radio, while level 6 is comparable to a native speaker. The score also determines the validity period of the endorsement. With LPE level 4, one needs to re-take the test after 4 years, with LPE 5 after 6 years, and LPE 6 is valid indefinitely.
I estimate myself to be somewhere between LPE 5 and LPE 6. So I'll wait for a bit until more towards my practical exam before I take the test. That way, if I get LPE 5, I'll have my license valid for a year longer than if I would earn that score now already. Re-taking the LPE exam is another chance to score an LPE 6 again, so I expect to end up with LPE 6 in the end; just not sure yet when exactly ;)

Anyway, it's time to go fly again!

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