Category Archives: 2. Theoretical training

Handling the radio

One important part of flying is the ability to communicate with flight controllers – both for security reasons and for navigation purposes. One must learn and acquire a certification in the standard phraseology used on the air traffic radio frequencies. In Denmark it is allowed to use either Danish and English language.

I have looked very much forward to the radio courses because that is a point where all the theoretical training gets very close to the real stuff. Half of the course is radio training by simply simulating a flight where the instructor acts as ATC and all the students are having each their flight plan. That is a lot of fun!

Each language (Danish and English) has its own standard phraseology. The certification for the Danish radio (called N-BEG) is the easiest, so that is where I start out, and then I will go and get the English one (called BEG) as well later. Both BEG and N-BEG are limited to VFR traffic (visual flight rules)  whereas the general GEN certification also covers IFR traffic (instrument flight rules).

Here is a small video I did with my phone that gives an idea of te training. It is rather easy compared to the rest of the theoretical curriculum in the PPL training, but there is a lot to just remember, and the right words must be used in the right order:

A couple of weeks later was the certification test which was a 24 questions multiple-choice test followed by a flight simulation with our instructor again acting as ATC while everything was monitored by a guy from the transport authorities.

Grades is given from 1-6 and 4 is minimum to pass. Of course I was given a 6 for excellent performance. :o)

N-BEG radio certificate

Basically the radio training have been a lot of fun, and it all becomes a little bit more real now. Specially because my first flying lesson is just around the corner.

Theory examination passed

Today was the day to prove that at least some of all the stuff we learned the last 3 months sticks to my brain. I passed with a result of 97%.

PPL theory passed

I was pretty confident as I have spend 3 full days over the last week just going through as much theory and previous years examination exercises as possible. The minimum score to pass is 75%, and I really need to have a bad day to get in conflict with that.

The examination is written multiple choice and is split in four individual examinations with breaks between them. As far as I understood this is however going to change next year.

PPL theory examination

PPL exam room at Roskilde Hallerne. 

One of the questions I had wrong was this one:

Wrong answer


Basically, the question is: Can you in case of engine failure get from point 6 to Kalundborg (EKKL) airfield and land with a glide rate of 1:10 and with an attitude of 4000 feet.

The annoying thing about the enclosed chart is that it has been zoomed out of its original scale, so the scale is now 1:210000.

The attitude of 4000 feet is 2/3 of a nautical mile (NM), so with a glide rate of 1:10, that means that the aircraft can glide for 6,6 NM. The distance from point 6 to EKKL airfield is 3,9 cm on the chart, so with a scale of 1:210000 that will be 8,19 km which is 4,4 NM.

Gliding 4,4 NM means that the aircraft with a glide rate of 1:10 will loose 2673 feet of attitude (1 NM = 6076 feet). So after gliding 4,4 NM the aircraft will be at an attitude of approximately 1327 feet, which means that the closest answer in the multiple choice is B.

Fore some reason I made the calculations with a distance from point 6 to EKKL of 5 NM, which will give me a wrong result. Never mind…


Next step will be the radio communication course which will commence mid January, so now I have a break of one and a half months, which is fine as I have some traveling with work and a lot of family events during the christmas.

Getting into all the theory

I have already decided what my favorite course is; navigation. It is rather simple math and geometry, and it is really getting close to what this is all about – flying!

Navigation course

Navigation course – the navigation instructor Ole is explaining the difference of magnetic heading, magnetic track and true track.

The training is getting to a point were we have been through everything – more or less – and it is time to practice on how to use the theory practically by planning a flight from one airport to another. Using weather data and aircraft specifications to calculate the correct course and heading. This is fun!


A panorama photo of the tables during the coffee break with all the maps and papers and tools used for the navigation course. 

The hardest course is the metrology – there is just so much stuff to remember, and we are just touching the surface of the subject, so I often have the feeling that there is something I do not understand because it is related to something beyond what we are supposed to learn. When asking a question I have even got the reply that I shouldn’t think too much about how and why, but just remember it. But really it is true – it is really a balance to find the right level of abstraction. We can’t learn everything in 3 months.

Some of the more soft courses like human capabilities and limitations and aerodynamics are cool – and I don’t think anyone is really putting too much focus on these subjects. The subjects are pretty straight forward when reading the books, and the theory makes very much sense.

The engine and aircraft course seems to be easy for most of the guys, but just not to me. I have never touch an engine – I didn’t even know what a carburetor was until recently. Basically it is not a subject of very much interest to me, so I actually find a bit hard to follow the course because much of the talking and discussions became quite esoteric.

Finally the laws and regulations course was somehow straight forward as well even though there is quite a lot of stuff to remember. But a lot of the regulations are common sense.

Finally take a look at the group of PPL theory students in Roskilde Flyveklub fall 2014. Really cool guys all of them.

Roskilde Flyveskole Students




Buying books and tools

Obviosly I need some books and tools for the theory course. The aviation and pilot supplies store in Roskilde Airport is very conveniently located in the building just next to Roskilde Flyveklub.

Basically here is a book for each of the courses – and they are all in Danish, which to me is somehow convenient when dealing with completely new theory.

A couple of important tools are required for the navigation course; that is the “computer” and the rotating plotter, which basically is a ruler with a rotating protractor attached.

ASA CP-RLX rotating plotter

The “computer” is a calculation and conversion tool that with its turning wheels and sliding grids makes you able to calculate speed, wind correction angles etc. and makes you able to convert all kinds of things from one unit to another.

Pooleys CRP-1W computer
I bought this Pooleys CRP-1W computer – good stuff!

Finally I also needed some aviation maps for the navigation course – or as they call it: Aeronautical charts (ICAO). And of course I need the Denmark map and the Copenhagen Area map, and they are by the way both available in PDF on the Naviair website for those with big enough printers.

Total price for all the good stuff was DKK 2.683,-

Books and tools invoice

Theory courses planning

After signing up for a membership in Roskilde Flyveklub, I signed up for the theory course commencing Monday, August 8th 2014. Already from the very beginning I had my considerations if I should go for the LAPL certificate or the PPL certificate. The theory course covers both, so I don’t need to decide before I have started the practical training. In the beginning I was mostly into the LAPL certificate mainly for financial reasons, but as we have already learned about the later possibilities to extend the PPL certificate with instrument rating etc. I quickly changed my mind. I just have a feeling that this flying thing will get too much under my skin to allow my self to setting up upper boundaries at this early stage.

Basically the difference between LAPL and PPL is that LAPL is limited to a take-off weight go maximum 2000 kg, and the LAPL certificate cannot be extended with e.g. an instrument rating.

The course consists of 6 subjects:

  • MET = meteorology
  • NAV = navigation
  • LOB = law and regulations
  • MYB = human capabilities and limitations
  • MIA = engine- instrument- and aeroplane
  • AD = aerodynamics

Here is the course plan:

Course plan

So basically 3 months of tough training is ahead. The good thing is that I am not alone – I have a dream in common with 13 other guys (not one single girl unfortunately).