Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Day 6: Strips and Spatulas

Today's Lessons:
  • Tower Visibility Test
  • Block Test 1
  • Academy Airspace
  • Strip Marking
  • FDIO
Today we took our first actual tests. First up was the National Weather Service exam for Tower Visibility. 50 questions covering the subjects we learned yesterday, like prevailing visibility, variable visibility, and tower/surface visibility. I ended up with a 94%, which I was very happy with.

Afterwards, we took Block Test 1, which covered mostly things we'd learned last week. I got a 100 on that, mostly on luck since there were a few questions out of the 20 that I wasn't really 100% sure on. Whatever the case, it's a good start to the course.

We then covered the Academy Airport airspace. This actually has a lot of memorization. The material included instrument approach procedures, VFR reporting points (aka landmarks), navaids (VOR, Markers), and - horror of horrors - airways. The airways were a pain - I can only imagine what the En Route guys go through to memorize their area charts.

Stripmarking was cool. I'd never actually done it at Miami Dade, so it was good to learn the symbols and the Academy-specific procedures. Nothing too complicated it seems.

Lastly, we started our FDIO (pronounced Fido, like the dog) lessons. FDIO is Flight Data Input/Output. In short, it's the system that allows you create, modify, delete, and print flight plans and their associated strips. Apparently it's a very common system in towers that interfaces with an ARTCC host computer. The guy who was teaching it was fun and tried to make this very dry material interesting. Part of me was bored to tears, but at the same time I was happy to get my curiosity satisfied as to how flight plans are created.

Today's Note: I have discovered today that plastic melts. Just ask the spatula I used to scrape the burger remains off my brand new grill pan. I guess I've just been used to these quality ones we had back at the house. Whatever the case, the poor spatoola was reduced to:

And my poor formerly spanky-new grillpan has melted plastic all over it.... :(

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