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IREX success - 85%

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wzyho created the topic: IREX success - 85%

I'm an older student and flying for a hobby. I have my PPL and decided to do the IREX to be a "safer" pilot. I started self-studying Bob Tait's IREX book 3 months prior to my exam while holding down a full time job (did not subscribe for the video lectures), took a 2 week break in the 3 month period and then started cramming Bob Tait's practice exams (and other paper exams from the pilot store) about 3 weeks prior to my scheduled exam date. It was a first time pass, and I'm grateful to Bob for getting me through this exam.

I thought the IREX content was tough, as I felt that the IREX assumed a lot of knowledge from some of the CPL modules which I was not exposed to (or had forgotten!) as a PPL. Perhaps this was because I was working a full time job unrelated to flying as well, and I had to go back to re-learn a lot of concepts which I thought I had understood initially but did not.

Some general tips on the exam:
- a good night's rest! (I had work keeping me up till quite late in the evening, and only had about 5 hours sleep the night before. My fault!)
- read the F(ull) question! (because of the amount of information that is in the exam questions, it is very easy to get misled about what the question is asking. In the practice questions, I caught myself answering with track error rather than drift because the question gave information like ADF indicator, heading and FPT. If the question is asking about drift, all you need is the ADF indicator! Because I knew I was prone to making these mistakes, I was extra careful in the exam, and this exact style of question came up!)
- do ALL the questions in the BT book, and ALL the practice exams, better if you do them twice. There were a number of questions that were the same as the questions in the book and BT's practice exams.
- check and double check your answers (in my exam, the first 8 questions were on TAFs, weather, alternates which took me quite a long time to get through. I then started to rush the "gift" questions like MDAs on charts. And I ended getting some of these "gift" questions wrong in my KDR, while getting the more difficult (to me) weather and alternate questions correct. It was a bit annoying to see the KDR listing "know your localiser minimum" as a deficiency.)

My exam included:
1. IFR / Single pilot recency requirements - there was a trick where they included a number of approaches you did as co-pilot was out of the 90 recency period which meant you had to exclude those approaches when determining what additional recency requirements you needed.

2. Weather and TAFs and Lighting - The TAF questions included additional ACWPLS gotchas, like lighting and navaids. After working through a chunk of the TAF, I realized weather wasn't an issue and the lighting/navaids required alternates. Figure out whether it is a TAF or a TAF3 (and whether the 30 minute buffer applies). I think if you can't read a TAF, it is going to be difficult to pass the exam, just because at least 8-9 questions on my exam had a TAF/TAF3 to calculate weather or fuel alternates (one of my weaker areas).

3. Straightforward ADF (HAT) style calculations.

4. Straightforward NDB range - figure out whether it was over water, or over land, during night or day.

5. Coastal refraction of NDB signal - including giving you a range of a hypothetical NDB (over land and over water) and asking whether the NDB indication was reliable, and if so, what the real ADF indication should be taking into account coastal refraction.

6. Visual approaches by night - when can you descend below a DME step given certain facts

7. Night VFR passenger transport recency requirements - three take offs and landings at night within 90 days

8. Reading approach minima - this was my strongest area when doing the practice exams, but it looked like I got a couple of these wrong in the real exam which was annoying. I was probably too sleepy and may have misread whether the question wanted the ceiling (above AGL) or the minima (AMSL).

9. Calculation of LSALT - there were two questions here, one on LSALT given terrain and obstacle. And one on calculation of tolerance area with one ground aid (use 10.3 degrees and the 1 in 60 rule). There was a trick here, where the question was phrased something along the lines of "a 5nm buffer including a tolerance area of X extending from the destination in a semi-circle...", so you have to make sure that you DON'T include the 5nm buffer in the tolerance area when you're calculating it.

10. Weather - got the same question as in the BT book about hail being more frequent at mid-latitude thunderstorms rather than tropical thunderstorms

11. Route planning level given FZL and cloud ceiling.

12. IFR route plan - to check ERSA for recommended departure/arrival routes (I got this wrong, I don't know how - maybe my ERSA was not updated)

13. A bunch of AIP questions including (i) manoeuvring around thunderstorms not permitted before X DME (required you to identify FAF and DME distance from the approach plate) (ii) when to make a departure report (established on track and clear of circuit traffic) (iii) whether you have to compensate for wind on a SID (no when vectored, but yes if you are on a track) (iv) whether you have to compensate for wind during a holding pattern - there is a wind allowance provision for holding patterns in the AIP.

14. calculation of rate of climb given TAS and % gradient on a SID - they also gave you headwind so you needed to subtract headwind from TAS to get ground speed.

15. What the obstacle clearance was for a missed approach - 100 ft, same as in BT practice exam

All in all, the 8-10 weather/TAF/TAF3/alternate/fuel type questions took me about 1 hour, and I finished in 2.5 hours with about 45 minutes to double check my answers (which I did but clearly not properly enough since I still got a couple of "gift" questions wrong).

A pass is a pass, and although I felt I could have scored better, I felt it was a decent result given that it was a first attempt and all self-studied.

Thank you again Bob Tait and team!
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Stuart Tait replied the topic: IREX success - 85%

Congratulations 85% for self-study is a great result.
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