Remembering PPL and CPL theory

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real.cowboy.pilot
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Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#1 Post by real.cowboy.pilot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:13 pm

How well do experienced CPL pilots remember PPL and CPL theory like meteorology and all the little details of Air Law and Navigation? Could an experienced CPL or ATPL pilot write and CPL/PPL written test without studying and get a good score? I've been a PPL for about a year and I am now doing the CPL ground school and it's crazy how fast you forget all the theory which doesn't really apply to actual day to day Flying, espessially meterology (like calculating cloud bases and temperatures aloft with the DALR and the SALR just as an example, like stuff you would never actually use or recall in flight or planning).
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#2 Post by 172_Captain » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:47 am

I've been flying for 10 years, ATPL holder. I definitely feel I could, more so because I fly 800-1,000 hours a year so most things tend to stay pretty fresh. Although I don't beat myself up trying to remember every detail. I really only focus on the rules and regs that pertain to my specific ops, and what I need to know to get me through day to day plus a little extra.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#3 Post by youhavecontrol » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:06 am

It's been a while since I've written that thing, but I imagine I'd do ok on it. Probably the worst section would be air law. Even as an instructor, there's some items from CPL and PPL that I forget regularly and have to look up again. There's just so many things you don't use on a day-to-day basis. The problem with the written exams is, they'll often make you memorize something obscure that you'll never use again, and if you needed to know, you would be able to look-up in an instant. Perhaps, I guess they do this as a way of keeping the exams difficult and as a way of testing a candidate's memory and study ethics.

With experience, you learn what you need to memorize very fast, and the rest, you learn where to find it and what resources to look in in.

I have to renew my Class 2 license next year, and I'm not looking forward to memorizing all the hourly requirements and privileges for each license. ..it's a funny thing to memorize when you can just look it up in the CARS immediately and most schools have a chart printed with all the requirements that you can just glance at. It's not like I have Commercial Helicopter pilots bursting in the door demanding instantly to know how many hours of ground school they need for their Airplane CPL licenses...but according to TC, that's a memory item worthy of being asked.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#4 Post by Posthumane » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:26 am

I found that the longer I flew, the easier it became some of the topics because you do eventually end up using some of the information, so you have to go and look it up once in a while. Look it up enough times and it starts to become burned in your brain. That being said, there are plenty of things that just need to be looked up when you need them.

One thing that helps a lot in remembering all of this stuff is being engaged with the flying community. That means talking to fellow pilots, or if you're anti-social like me, reading flying magazines and participating on forums such as here. Often I read things in articles or forum posts which makes me go "Hmmm, I don't remember the regulations stating that..." and causing me to go look up topics.

Another thing that helps is recurrent training. The regs specify some requirements to stay "current", which includes options such as doing the safety questionnaire that is published every year. I recommend going up with an instructor every year for a bit for some refresher training. If you're rusty it could be something as simple as a flight review in the plane you regularly fly, but if you're flying lots and want something more interesting then go do some different type of training such as getting checked out in a new aircraft or get a few hours towards another rating, etc. I just did some gliding lessons last weekend, which allowed me some familiarity with a completely different feeling aircraft than I'm used to, but also spurred me to do some reading on air law (what are the requirements to get a glider licence if I already have a PPL?) and meteorology (thermals and mountain waves).

Lastly, go watch some videos on Youtube about flight training such as FlightChops.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#5 Post by photofly » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:55 am

like calculating cloud bases and temperatures aloft with the DALR and the SALR just as an example
Well if that's what you learned to do, you were lied to. You can't calculate cloud bases and temperatures aloft like that. Score nil points for lousy meteorology training. No wonder you can't be bothered to remember it, when it's false information.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#6 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:39 pm

youhavecontrol wrote:
With experience, you learn what you need to memorize very fast, and the rest, you learn where to find it and what resources to look in in.
.
Very true and the mark of a good instructor is knowing the difference between "info you must know by memory" and "info you must know where to find"
I have to renew my Class 2 license next year, and I'm not looking forward to memorizing all the hourly requirements and privileges for each license. ..it's a funny thing to memorize when you can just look it up in the CARS immediately and most schools have a chart printed with all the requirements that you can just glance at. It's not like I have Commercial Helicopter pilots bursting in the door demanding instantly to know how many hours of ground school they need for their Airplane CPL licenses...but according to TC, that's a memory item worthy of being asked
Nowhere in the Instructor Flight Test Guide does it say you have to memorize the CAR's. Knowing where to look in the CAR's is, however an important skill for the instructor and in my experience often a weak area.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#7 Post by youhavecontrol » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:32 pm

Big Pistons Forever wrote: Nowhere in the Instructor Flight Test Guide does it say you have to memorize the CAR's. Knowing where to look in the CAR's is, however an important skill for the instructor and in my experience often a weak area.
Thankfully that's true of the flight test guide, but the written test does ask some crazy stuff. On the AIRAT, I was literally asked to recall, by memory, how much of the Commercial Aeroplane ground school an already certified Commercial Helicopter pilot was exempt from taking.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#8 Post by photofly » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:22 am

If you had to memorize that detail once, hopefully you’ll always remember that there *is* a CPL(A) ground school credit for CPL(H) holders, and where to find it :)
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#9 Post by HansDietrich » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:09 pm

You def. forget things that you don't use on a daily basis. I can't remember the last time I had to calculate a cloud base while flying the line... (wait.. yeah I remember.... NEVER).

Other things, you remember quite well and it becomes ingrained. You use it every day.

If I had to pass my CPL written again, I'd probably do pretty well, though I'm not sure about the Air Law portion. :D
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#10 Post by photofly » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:20 pm

Someone ought to tell Environment Canada that you can calculate cloud bases. Then we can get rid of all those expensive ceilometers, observers, maybe even some supercomputers. We could replace approach criteria with temperature measurements too.
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Re: Remembering PPL and CPL theory

#11 Post by ant_321 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:01 am

I wrote my CPL exam about 6 years ago. Until recently I thought I could probably write the exam and pass, until I helped someone studying for theirs. So much useless information that you will never use in real life. That being said, I don't think it would take much studying to get up to snuff again.
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