Wizz, or Whizz as it's correctly spelt, is certainly the verb I'd use to describe the passage of time as an Integrated ATPL ground school student. The amount of knowledge I have gained in such a space of time is frankly incredible and despite week twenty four being the last of ground school, the pace showed no signs of slowing. This week the class spent three days looking at the subject of Electrics which completes the three part jigsaw that is Aircraft General Knowledge.
I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the middle of the night and need to see where i'm going I simply switch on the light. It's such second nature to us as human beings that we do so without ever thinking about how the electricity got to the property, let alone what frequency and phase relationship it possesses. I mean, why would we ever need to know that as the average Joe Bloggs? Simple answer, we don't and just take it for granted.
However, unlike a domestic user where a loss of power would be one of lifes minor inconveniences, any loss of power for a pilot is a very serious problem and ergo we're expected to appreciate just how energy is taken from those whacking great turbine engines and converted to usable electricity for both essential and nonessential aircraft systems.
We started off looking at basic electrical theory which was a flashback to physics lessons from school, before moving on to the more technical detail behind magnetic field generation responsible for the creation of DC and AC electricity. On covering the core principles we started to introduce them to the modern airliner environment and discussed which systems use DC or AC and how such is distributed around the aircraft. Looking at the below simplified technical diagram (loosely based on the A320) you can see just how complex this looks. We also discussed safety measures in place to prevent electrical faults and provide backup power to any systems that lose it.
In a nutshell, it all boils down to ensuring that in any critical situation the flight controls and essential instruments are available to the pilots as required. Such an event would, unfortunately, mean that John & Jane Doe would no longer be able to enjoy their seatback viewing of Toy Story as a direct result of the aircraft disabling non-essential systems. Yet, i'm sure given a total power failure their attention would be elsewhere.
As usual, here's the full list of what's covered in this topic:
Next week is the start of our module three mocks and to say i'm nervous about them is an understatement. With six topics to cover this time, many of which requiring me to learn and retain several facts and figures plus understand how they change in given circumstances, I certainly have my work cut out! At this stage i'm simply aiming to pass the school mocks in order that I can continue to focus on learning in preparation for the real exams the week after. It really is amazing just how much you revise/learn in that short space of time. It's all happening so quickly and i'm hoping that my brain won't let me down and can retain the information just that little bit longer! One thing is for certain though and that is with our flights to Phoenix booked for the 1st of March, the pressure is on!
I'll post another update soon,
All the best,