FAA Private Pilot Certification

I plan on getting my private pilot’s certificate next year. In the mean time, I’m going to memorize the question bank for the certification test. It’s actually a study guide which explains everything you need to know to be able to answer all of the questions. There are 11 units, each unit containing between 35 and 70 questions, and one unit containing 196 questions. Using what I learned at the School of Phenomenal Memory, I plan to attack this project, and we’ll see about how long it takes me 🙂

There are many different methods of memorizing textual information in GMS. I could choose to memorize the information as in-depth as I want. For this project, I won’t be memorizing the material word-for-word. Instead I will have all of the precise information in my mind, and I will reproduce it in my own words.

1 – Airplanes and Aerodynamics
1.1 – Flaps and Rudder
1.1.1 – Flaps increase wing lift, allowing for a greater angle of descent without reducing airspeed.
1.1.2 – The rudder controls the yaw of the airplane, rotation around the vertical axis.

1.2 – Aerodynamic Forces
1.2.1 – The four forces are lift, weight, thrust, and drag.
1.2.2 – When lift=weight and thrust=drag, the airplane is in un-accelerated flight.
1.2.3 – Bernoulli’s Principle states that faster airflow produces less pressure. This is the principle behind the lift produced by the wings.

1.3 – Angle of Attack
1.3.1 – The Angle of Attack is the angle between the Wing Chord Line and the direction of the Relative Wind.
1.3.1.a – Wing Chord Line is an imaginary line between the front and trailing edges of the wing.
1.3.1.b – The Relative Wind is the direction of the airflow relative to the wing.
1.3.2 – The Angle of Attack at which an airplane stalls is constant, regardless of plane, weight, etc…

1.4 – Stalls and Spins
1.4.1 – An airplane will stall when the Critical Angle of Attack is exceeded.
1.4.2 – An airplane will stall at the same airspeed regardless of altitude.
1.4.3 – A Spin occurs when one wing stalls less than the other wing.
1.4.3.a – A stall must occur for there to be spin.

1.5 – Frost
1.5.1 – Frost occurs when the surface temperature is at or below the dew point, and the dew point is below freezing.
1.5.1.a – Water vapor freezes instantly when it touches the surface.
1.5.2 – Frost disrupts the smooth flow of air over the wing, causing early separation.
1.5.2.a – Decreases Lift
1.5.2.b – Increases Drag
1.5.3 – Frost makes it difficult to impossible to take off.
1.5.4 – Frost needs to be removed before take-off.

1.6 – Ground Effect
1.6.1 – Ground Effect is the interference of the ground on the airflow around the airplane.
1.6.2 – Ground Effect affects Upwash, Downwash, and Wingtip Vortices
1.6.3 – Reduced Wingtip Vortices also reduce the Induced Angle of Attack and Induced Drag
1.6.4 – Ground Effect is noticed within one wingspan from the ground.
1.6.5 – Ground Effect can cause an airplane to float before landing, or allow an airplane to takeoff with insufficient airspeed. When the airplane leaves the Ground Effect area, the airplane will fall back to the ground.

1.7 – Airplane Turn
1.7.1 – Airplane Turn is a result of Horizontal Lift. The pilot needs to coordinate ailerons, rudder, and elevator to create Horizontal Lift.
1.7.2 – Rudder controls yaw, but does not create turn.

1.8 – Airplane Stability
1.8.1 – A stable airplane will return to it’s original attitude after disturbance. This makes it easier to control.
1.8.2 – Longitudinal stability is determined by the relationship between the center of gravity and the center of lift.
1.8.3 – Moving the center of gravity aft reduces stability and makes stall recovery more difficult.

1.9 – Torque and P-Factor
1.9.1 – Torque effect is greatest at low airspeed, high Angle of Attack, and high power.
1.9.2 – P-Factor causes the airplane to yaw left at high Angle of Attack.

1.10 – Load Factor
1.10.1 – Load Factor is the weight of the airplane plus centrifugal force.
1.10.1.a – Load Factor increases with airspeed.
1.10.1.b – Increased Load Factor increases stalling speed.
1.10.1.c – Load Factor increases with angle of bank.

So that took me right about an hour in total. There were quite a few new concepts to me that I needed to research a little before memorizing(upwash, downwash, and wingtip vortices for example). Often I hear it mentioned that memorization is useless unless you understand the material. In a way this is true, and in GMS, information is memorized more easily the better you understand it. You could say that the information is memorized *through* understanding. Still, even something that you don’t understand, as in the spelling of Bernoulli, can still be memorized easily with GMS.

As I go along, I’ll be describing to you what it’s like to memorize using GMS. It’s completely different than using rote-repetition. All of this information that I just memorized is in my mind, like a slide-show. I can view, and recite it forward and backward, and I can jump to any particular place instantly. When I am asked a question relating to this information, the images, which contain the information, are right there for me. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced before.

All information is encoded into images. One of the main skills developed in the School of Phenomenal Memory course is that of visual thinking. Visualized images can be manipulated in the mind very quickly with training. Attention-control is another important aspect. After all, if I couldn’t sit down for 2 hours to memorize, I wouldn’t be able to memorize 2 hours’ worth of information 🙂

Well, I’ll leave it at that for now. Unit 2 has about twice the amount of information, so I’ll be working on that tomorrow.


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