First of all, an apology! It’s been a while since I’ve last post on my blog despite undertaking training towards both my UPRT (A) and MEIR CPL. It’s just been such a strange few months and has left me and many other aviation professionals feeling despair, helplessness and disappointment. But despite this, I’ve managed to reach Poland and complete my MEIR CPL.
I had initially planned to undertake my ME-IR CPL in May of this year, I had flights booked from Stansted and was really excited to begin training and finally get the Multi-Engine Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilots License under my belt. I visited the school in February and so I was really desperate to get back and get started. More on the school, Adriana Aviation in another blog post, but let me tell you, it superseded any expectations I had.
My course started after being given a schedule, and began with a day of multi-engine Piston theory allowing me to revise all things relating to multi-engine flight, all of which is vital due to the large differences in flying a complex multi-engine compared to a single-engine aircraft. I then moved onto three hours of familiarisation in Adriana’s Tecnam P2006T, of which Adriana had three and all had their own quirks but were all a beauty to fly and made, in my opinion, a perfect multi-engine aircraft.
Following this, I had my revalidation flight with a UK CAA approved Polish CAA examiner. Aside from asking for a Basic service on leaving the Watorowo zone, the test went well and I was also able to put to use cross country skills learnt at PPL and hour building level which helped me familiarise myself with the local area. This was my only issue, navigating in a completely alien country. Despite this I quickly found my bearings. The Polish examiner was one of the friendliest I’ve ever had and I passed, allowing me to move onto the Multi-Engine Instrument Rating.
The Multi-Engine Instrument Rating comprised of an 11 hour day of theory, believe me this tested me. This also included a test on PBN – Performance Based Navigation which is endorsed on my IR rating as a result. Following theory, I moved onto the Alsim X simulator for the Basic IR module, comprising of 5 hours in the simulator and 5 hours in the P2006T. I covered procedural turns, initial instrument flight, timed turns, steep turns and partial panel flying to name a few. I then repeated this in the aircraft and performed my first ILS procedure. I’ll never forget it. Everything happened exceptionally fast and halfway through the procedure before turning to intercept the localiser, the instructor covered the screen. I followed the magenta diamonds down to Bydgoszcz Airports runway 26 and at 200 feet my Instructor removed the coverings to reveal the runway ahead of me. It was a big moment for me and despite massive concentration, I managed a huge smile and thanked my instructor for the opportunity.
Subsequently, I moved onto the gruelling IR Procedural Module, where I had 35 hours in the simulator covering ILS approaches, NDB holding, VOR holding, DME arcs and varying other procedures. It was exceptionally demanding and tiring but clear to see the progress made as my procedures were printed and easily compared. It felt like it would never end but culminated in 10 hours of instrument flight in the P2006T. During my Basic IR module, the cloud base was never low enough to be fully IFR and so screens were used. However on my first departure of the 10 hours, we were straight off the deck into the muck. Initially this was quite eerie but I soon settled in. I then headed to Gdańsk Airport where I was fortunate enough to perform every approach possible including the lengthy STAR. All this was made possible due to COVID-19 and quieter skies. Following this I had varying flights to practice procedures at Bydgoszcz Airport, leaving my ME-IR training complete.
Next I moved onto the Commercial Pilots Licence, conducting 5 hours in the P2006T as a cross country flight and One Engine Inoperative operations, followed by a day of theory based upon the single engine Tecnam P2002 JF. I struggled with the P2002 JF, particularly coming from heavier single-engine aircraft alike the Piper Warrior and Cessna. The 2002 didn’t want to come down! It was more of a glider! So light on the controls and so sensitive, it took me nearly 10 hours to get used to her! I swapped instructors at this point, flying with an ex-polish military pilot to Gdańsk VFR, returning via some beautiful scenery and landing at an airfield called Borsk which was at the edge of a beautiful large lake on a gorgeous summers day, it felt like something from a movie. Following this I flew to Poznan airfield, avoiding a thunderstorm and having to change the route in-flight to avoid further thunderstorms. I must admit it was really impressive to see how fast these beasts developed. Of course you are taught about them and hear stories during ATPL theory, but until you’ve seen it for yourself it’s really hard to appreciate.
Finally, I had my ME-IR skills test, and the next day, my CPL skills test. I passed both and could finally call myself a commercial pilot. Hours later I was at the other side of the glass at Gdańsk Airport awaiting my return flight to Leeds Bradford. I was desperate to get the paperwork off to the CAA at Gatwick.
Here is a link to a video which I made showing my training in Poland, enjoy.