I sat and passed my Practical Radio Telephony test today. This was I have to say a lot tougher than I thought. In speaking with a couple of people afterwards they said it was the hardest one to prepare for out of all the PPL exams. I have to agree. I'd spent all week reading cap 413 and making notes but when I got given the paper I thought oh dear, this is going to be a bit stressful! And it was. It was about 100 degrees in this little portacabin as well, and I was sweating like the proverbial.
The reason why its a good test is because (well for me at least) the scenarios I was given in the test I had never done in practice! This was owing to the cross country routes I had previously flown in Kent.
The other reason why (again in my opinion) it's more difficult than the real thing is because you only have about 15 minutes to read the brief and "prepare". I'm quite a meticulous planner and so if I was to fly a route like the one the examiner gave me, I would spend a couple of hours the day before "walking the route" and working out who I was going to call and with what sort of thing. Test conditions and a bit of nerves and it's a different ball game!
Anyway, the test that I was given took me from the car park of an ATC Aerodrome, changing from tower, to approach frequencies, calling the MATZ approach, going across the MATZ, calling at a Turning Point, climbing to keep clear of high ground, asking for a true bearing from a different aerodrome, hearing a mayday call and then relaying this mayday call, asking for permission to enter controlled airspace, experiencing an engine issue and then making a pan pan urgency call, going across controlled airspace, changing frequencies to my destination, getting in the circuit of my destination only to find it then closed the runways! I then had to go back to an aerodrome I had previously passed. In between all that there are some position reports and various squawk codes to get down and tap into the software.
It's a good test I have to say. Apparently the software you can download from the internet and run at home. I will have to look into that as it could be a good little practice mechanism. Alternatively I suppose I could use my normal flight simulator and just do the radio calls.
Oh, I don't know. Glad that's over!