03 Jun 2014

Private Pilot Licence Balloons Ground Exam Syllabus

For student hot-air balloon pilots, here are some helpful reminder notes, advice & top tips...

Incremental learning is the fastest and the most comprehensive way of learning available to PUTs – so be inquisitive and stay curious! 

The syllabus for the Ground Examinations is available from the British Balloon & Airship Club (It is in the BBAC Training Manual document).

Remember the written exams were issued by the CAA in 2009 and written a couple of years before that – so you are going to need books & maps issued at that time too! Some things have not changed much though e.g. Meteorology…

At the moment there are five, hot-air balloon Private Pilot Licence PPL(B) theory papers (Valid at January 2018)

TOP TIP No.1 – Hannah Cameron CAA/BBAC Ground Examiner.
“The five PPL(B) theory exams are to be considered together as a whole. You will see as you read through this article that subjects “cross-over” – for example, you NEED to know some Air Law before attempting the navigation theory paper etc. and I would also very happily argue that some bits in the Air Law syllabus would be much better placed in the Balloon Systems exam syllabus and so on…”

TOP TIP No.2
“If I could give every student Pilot two pieces of advice for their theory exams it would be:
Always put an answer for each question (you would be amazed how many forget to do that)
and please remember to carefully consider each possible answer, then put the MOST CORRECT answer for every question on the answer sheet.
Good luck!"

1 - Air Law - 30 minutes (multiple choice) 20 questions.
Air Law / Aviation Law Syllabus
Recommended book(s)
Air Pilots Manual – Volume 2 ‘Aviation Law and Meteorology’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-066-7 – available at 2nd hand book stores – get this old version!
The British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) Training Manual – available from spares@cameronballoons.co.uk on behalf of the BBAC
The Air Navigation Order or “ANO“ is 244 pages of CAA legal but important ‘waffle’ for all aircraft 
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/765/pdfs/uksi_20160765_en.pdf - so where we can, we have given you a clue to the section you need to look up, thoroughly understand and revise!
Yes I know we are working on Air Law first but some of things you need in order to pass your PPL(B) intersect with more than one subject – so you will also need CAA Air Navigation: The Order and Regulations “CAP 393” https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP393REFERENCE_ONLY.pdf
IMPORTANT NOTE – THIS IS A NOW A SUPERSEEDED DOCUMENT BUT SOME INFORMATION IN IT IS REQUIRED FOR PPL(B) THEORY EXAMS!
Note: “CAP” documents are simply an abbreviation of “Civil Aviation Publication” documents.

Air Law Syllabus Topics
– Pilots Under Training (PUT’s) need a thorough working knowledge of all of these topics.

These are very important to learn! (Learn all of these topics please!)
Personal & balloon flying log books (contents, records and who to produce them to)
Qualifications for PPL (age, hours, recommendation, instructor flights)
PPL Licence (validity of licence, conditions for currency and recency requirements)
Paid instruction (who can charge, under what conditions, cost sharing rules for PPL flights)
Understand the 500ft Rule - Often termed as the ‘Low Flying Regs’ (Low Flying Regulations Rule 5)
Understand the 1000ft Rule - Often termed as the ‘Low Flying Regs’ (Low Flying Regulations Rule 5)
Understand the 1000m Rule - Often termed as the ‘Low Flying Regs’ (Low Flying Regulations Rule 5)
Know the exceptions to the ‘Low Flying Regs’ (Low Flying Regulations Rule 5)
Congested Areas
Altimeter settings (Understand what are and how to set spot heights, QNH and QFE)
VFR Visual Flight Rules (understand the minimum conditions at different heights)
Air law definition of day and night
Emergency Frequency & normal balloon frequencies (VHF)
Distress and Urgency Calls by radio
Dimensions and restrictions of MATZ
Dimensions and restrictions of ATZ
Airspace restrictions of a CTR and definitions
Airspace restrictions of a CTA and definitions
Lights on balloons (at night and for tethering)
Tethering and airspace (maximum height, lights, permission, streamers, proximity to Airspace structures etc)
Airspace (permission to fly close to)
Tethering (strength of ropes, use of restraints, types and uses of various different karabiners) 
Tethering limitations - Note that is different for different balloons
Tether Equipment (stress theory)
Airmiss or Airprox (how to report and the definition of both)
Reportable Accidents / Incidents (what is reportable, who to report to, when to report and how) 
Medical certificates (validity, classes of medical, injury and incapacity rules) Remember to use 2009 information!
Illness (when is it a prolonged illness, when are you unfit to fly and what do you when you wish to return to flying)
Illness (effects of head cold, gastro-enteritis, broken arm etc)
Pregnancy (flying during pregnancy – if you are a pilot or passenger) 
Carriage of passengers – BBAC advice for flying children (insurance limitations)
Alcohol & Drugs – prescription, over the counter and illegal (pilots, crew and passengers – limits and rules)
Temporary restricted airspace – definition of, where is the information found and what operational significance is it to Pilots.
Danger Areas (decode the reference numbers and understand when active)
AIC (categories, colours, sources & availability) online here http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php%3Foption=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=10&Itemid=17.html But PLEASE use the  textbook definition!

Emergency Signals (ground-to-air and air-to-ground and ground-to-air search and rescue signs)
Airspace violation (who do you report to and how) – this is virtually impossible to find by a PUT !  IMPORTANT NOTE – THIS IS A NOW A SUPERSEEDED DOCUMENT BUT IS REQUIRED FOR PPL(B) THEORY EXAMS! Start with Air Navigation: The Order and Regulations CAA Air Navigation CAP 393 https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP393REFERENCE_ONLY.pdf
Section1: Part 22 Aircraft in Flight: 160 Rules of the Air: After “g”
“If any departure from the Rules of the Air, or from any obligation in SERA the breach of which would otherwise be an offence under this Order, is made for the purpose of avoiding immediate danger, the commander of the aircraft must cause written detailed information about the departure, and of the circumstances giving rise to it, to be given within 10 days of the departure to the competent authority of the country in whose territory the departure was made or if the departure was made over the high seas, to the CAA.”

NOTAMS (Class 1 &2) (NOTAM = Notice to Airmen.) Now information is here http://notaminfo.com/ukmap but the exams are very old! So please use the answer in your (old) air law text book!

Know all and what documents are required as part of the regulations for an Airworthy Aerostat. This also is virtually impossible for PUTs to find! So here is the link!
SCHEDULE 9 ARTICLES 150(2) AND 156(3) https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP393REFERENCE_ONLY.pdf
(1) An aircraft must not fly unless it carries the documents which it is required to carry under the law of the country in which it is registered.
(c) on a private flight which is international air navigation, Documents A, B, C, G and I must be carried;
2 For the purposes of this Schedule:
(a) ‘Document A’ means the licence in force under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006a for the aircraft radio station installed in the aircraft;
(b) ‘Document B’ means in the case of a non-EASA aircraft the national certificate of airworthiness in force for the aircraft;
(c) ‘Document C’ means the licences of the members of the flight crew of the aircraft;
(g) ‘Document G’ means the certificate of registration in force for the aircraft;
Balloon Registration marking rules (There is a plate and sets of registration letters!) ANO, Part 2 Marking of an Aircraft, Number 1, Item 7 (Thanks to Ian Chadwick for helping to locate this one!) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/765/pdfs/uksi_20160765_en.pdf

& here are some other Air Law topics that are really useful for Ballooning!
Emergency signals from the ground (projectiles)
Lights on aircraft (colours, angles, failure in flight, landing lights)
Altimeter Settings in different types of airspace (ATZ / MATZ etc)
Lights on obstacles
Light Beacons at airfields
Quadrantal Rule

Example of a type of question in the Air Law Examination.
What does D120/14 signify on an Aeronautical chart?
a) Where to go for breakfast
b) Danger Area 1m to 2000metres at 2pm
c) Danger Area 14 with an upper limit of 12,000ft
d) Danger Area 120 with an upper limit of 14,000ft

 

2 - Airmanship & Balloon Systems - 45 minutes (multiple choice) 30 questions.
Airmanship and Balloon Syllabus - Remember the more you know on this subject the better Pilot you will be!

Recommended book(s). It is very IMPORTANT to read and understand every part of these manuals.

Manufacturers Flight Manual – download and read! your FREE Cameron Balloons Flight & Maintenance Manual here http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/support#hot-air-balloon-flight-manual-en
As the PPL(b) exams were written well over a decade ago - it is also useful (read essential) to refer to the 1992 Cameron Balloons Flight & Maintenance Manual, Iss.7 found on Cameron Balloons Support Pages (scroll down for) Manuals : Archive.

The British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) Training Manual – available from spares@cameronballoons.co.uk on behalf of the BBAC. It is very IMPORTANT to read and understand every part of this manual.

BBAC Propane Code & Properties of LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) – available in The BBAC Training Manual or if you are a member of the www.bbac.org it is in “Member’s Area”, click on “Information & Forms” on that page in a sub-section “BBAC Information & Codes”

Balloon Airmanship Guide CAA Safety Sense Leaflet 16a https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/20110217SSL16.pdf

TOP TIP No.3 
Questions tend to focus on safety preparing you for flying on your own and sometimes give minimum and maximum operational limits (so you need to know all your balloon manufacturer’s balloon operation advisory limits in case you have some of those questions in your exam, manufacturer’s limits will be within the answers parameters somewhere and if you know them, it will be easy to find them!)

TOP TIP No.4 
Know your conversions! e.g.lbs to kg (1lb is 0.453KG) and KG to lbs (1KG is 2.20lbs)

Airmanship and Balloon Syllabus Topics 
- Pilots Under Training (PUT’s) should have a thorough working knowledge of all of these topics from all the recommended reading sources.

Operating Conditions and limitations for all parts of your balloon (as specified in the manufacturer’s Flight Manual)
BBAC limitations for inexperienced pilots in terms of weather conditions
Permissible Damage for all parts of your balloon (as specified by the BBAC & in Manufacturer’s Flight Manual)
Maximum Continuous Envelope Temperature (as specified by Manufacturers Flight Manual) 
Flag Temperatures (different types) Note: for years there is just one type - so you need data from the archive manual.
Overheating (‘tell-tale’ heat-labels, what do they do, where are they and what should you do if it has been affected)
Overheating (flag fall out in flight and post-flight procedure, other checks and data recording)
Annual Inspection (frequency, paperwork, procedure)
Grab-testing (how often, procedures and limits that fabric should withstand for safe operation)
Emergency procedures (Various important procedures in the BBAC Manual etc) 
Parachute Operation (BBAC recommendation of how long & how far, types of deflation system and how to operate, when you can make it stall and how recify).
Question to discuss with your instructor!
Is it quicker to open the deflation system ‘hole’ at the top and let the hot-air out - to go down or is it quicker to add heat into the balloon and have it warm the air inside the balloon? The answer is also in the BBAC Manual!
Velcro Rips (securing of, operation of and height restrictions) Note: Use the archive manual too for more information.
Instruments (What equipment are pilot’s legally required to carry in addition to the balloon) This is tricky as the information correct today is NOT the same as the information needed for the exam! 

BBAC Safety Officer Reports (what, how and when to report)
Load Chart (what information is used to calculate lift and what height is it accurate up to)
Load Chart (know weights of typical equipment, tanks etc.)
Load Chart (temperatures, heights, maximum loading of material)
Load Chart (be able to work the chart “backwards” to determine balloon size etc.)
Altimeter settings (Understand what are & how to set spot heights, QNH and QFE) ALSO RELEVENT TO AIRLAW!
Pilot Light Failure (procedures for re-lighting and for complete failure)
Maximum Rate of Descent (Use the BBAC rate for the exams. This can be different for various types of balloons)
Maximum Rate of Descent (When close to the ground)
Maximum Rate of Ascent or rate of climb (Use BBAC limits)
Insurance (minimum insurance requirements)
Landowner Relations(LRO) (Pilot code of conduct on www.bbac.org LR BBAC course & choice of landing field or spot)
Landowner Relations (use of liquid-fire at low level) Liquid fire = whisper burner
Landowner Relations (recommended heights above animals, types of fencing indicating likely field use)
Landowner Relations (gymkhanas, riding schools, lungeing)
Landowner Relations (SA sensitive area system where to find them & how to get updates, what does red & green signify, is it in AGL AMSL in FT or Metres, types of SA,) Note: The Bristol area has a more colourful system and in America they call them PZ’s (Prohibited Zones)
False Lift (what it is and how to avoid it or prepare for it)
Thermal Conditions (what causes it and how do you prepare for it) avoid it
Curlover (what is it and where do you expect it) avoid it
Coanda Effect (what is it and when would it occur, why is it useful to balloonists)
Fire in the air procedure (The safest system to deal with this emergency scenario)
Fire on the ground procedure (The safest system to deal with this emergency scenario)
Fire Extinguishers (appropriate types for different types of fires – what is suitable for a propane or a fan engine fire)
Unavoidable obstacle – emergency drill procedure for unavoidable power-line contact and pilot light failure
Propane Properties (pressure and operational effect at different temperatures, procedure in the event of a fire etc.)
Propane (expansion of, density of, leak detection methods and prevention, contamination, explosive mixture)
Refuelling Procedures (BBAC propane code, safe refuelling, over-filing of cylinder hazards and prevention, ullage (the volume by which a liquid container falls short of being full, where to refuel)
How to store and refuel safely from commercial “104’s / 47kg” cylinders into balloon approved flight cylinders.
A great question to ask your Instructor is how & where would they get rid of fuel if they had to empty a balloon cylinder?
Flight Cylinders (Types, sizes, usable LPG volumes, valve types and correct operation of them, gauges, dip-tubes, cylinder-covers, correct orientation of cylinders for flight, in the basket)
Flight Cylinders (inspection of, cleaning of, testing of, effect of restricted flow)
Flight Cylinders (pressure-relief-valve = PRV, valve operation, PRV replacement, 10yr inspection)
Flight Cylinders (pressurisation and ‘spiking’ of cylinders and when and how not to do it)
Butane (how does it differ from (LPG) Propane & any operational changes required, inert gas e.g. Nitrogen ‘spiking’)
Flight Cylinders (storage of when not in use, maximum permitted and maximum temperatures etc.)
Flight Cylinders (fuel management in flight / how much fuel is used on average during flight)
Burner Test (When should it be done, how to do it for either vapour or liquid pilot light burner and possible problems associated and how to recognise & avoid)
Burner Pressure (minimum acceptable operating pressure and maximum recommended pressures)
Valve Leaks (procedure for valve stem leaks, hose leaks etc. in the air and on the ground)
Radio Use (Balloon Frequency in the UK, Europe and emergencies, radio check pre-flight)
Passenger Briefings (content of, when to do them)
Pre-flight checks (content of)
Pre-landing Checks (content of)
Paperwork (recording of flights)
Paperwork (balloon documentation, types of documents required and where they need to be, special limitations where and what are they)
Balloon log books what information is in them and what needs to be recorded in them
Wet (soaking) envelope drying procedure

& here are some other Balloon Sys. topics that are really useful (but we hope you will never need them) for Ballooning!
What to do if your balloon is draped on an electrical wire (Think: fuel off, stay still & only if you have to… bunny hops!)
https://www.westernpower.co.uk/docs/social-responsibility/Health-Safety/Public-Safety/Previous-Safety-Advice/WPD-Clearance-Guide-(1).aspx
If it is inoperable and there is risk of fire or other immediate hazard:
- jump clear of the vehicle, avoiding simultaneous contact with any part of the machine and the ground.
- try to land with your feet as close together as possible.
- where possible, continue to move away from the vehicle using “bunny hops” with your feet together until at least 15m from the vehicle.
- instruct other people in the vicinity not to approach the vehicle.
- do not return to the vehicle until given confirmation BY Electrical Power Company personnel that it is safe to do so

Example of a type of question in the Airmanship & Balloon Systems Examination.
What is the purpose of the tie-off point in a velcro-rip balloon which is situated a few metres above the mouth?
a) To help Pilot’s see that the rope to the parachute has not fallen out.
b) To stop the rope from dangling in the way of the burner during flight.
c) To provide slack in the line to cope with severe changes in envelope shape either from thermic or other turbulence.
d) To encourage confidence as the Pilot knows the control lines are in place, ready to be used.

3 - Human Performance & Limitations - 30 minutes (multiple choice) 20 questions.
Human Performance & Limitations
Recommended book(s)
Air Pilots Manual – Volume 6 ‘Human Factors and Pilot Performance’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-070-4

The British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) Training Manual – available from spares@cameronballoons.co.uk on behalf of the BBAC

CAA Physiology of Flight https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before-you-fly/Am-I-fit-to-fly/Guidance-for-health-professionals/Physiology-of-flight/

TOP TIP no.5
Being organised is a successful strategy to help you be prepared for anything.

Human Performance & Limitations (HPL) Syllabus Topics
– Pilots Under Training (PUT’s) should have a thorough working knowledge of all of these topics.

Breathing (know the parts of the respiratory system) and what they do
Breathing (percentages of gases in the atmosphere)
Breathing (effects of reduced pressure, carbon monoxide in the blood)
Motion Sickness (causes and cures) Fits, Faints
Effects of temperature on the body cold and hot
Respiration (define and understand the respiration system)
Oxygen (what height is Oxygen required above, what height is judgement impaired at)
Oxygen (the effect of altitude on the body, symptoms of Hypoxia & Hyperventilation, time of useful consciousness with increased levels of altitude (note not time of total unconsciousness!)
Circulation (define and understand the circulation system)
Circulation (arterial disease, coronary risk factors, blood pressure, stoke)
Alcohol (understand units of alcohol)
Alcohol (rate at which it is used up by the body)
Alcohol (recommended limits & time limits and the amounts permitted before flying)
Drugs & smoking (effects of smoking, prescription, over the counter and illegal drugs on the body)
Eyes (know the parts of the eye, short sight and long sight, empty field myopia)
Eyes scanning (Saccades) rapid movement of the eye between fixations (points where the eye stops & takes in detail)
Eyes (detecting movement and colour in the day and night and the time to adjust fully)
Ears (know the parts of the ear) and what they do
Ears (how alcohol affects the inner ear and balance)
Ears (Eustachian tube, effect of pressure changes during flight and if you have a head cold)
Ears (noise and age induced hearing loss)
Decompression & Scuba Diving (effect on body and blood) at different depths, Boyle’s Law
Scuba Diving (advice on depths and intervals before flying)
Barotrauma (entrapped gases)
Diet (exercise, obesity)
Sleep (best type of sleep, when is it hardest to stay awake)
Stress (types of stress, effects on concentration and performance and its causes)
Stress (methods of identifying and coping with stress and distraction)
Illness (effects of head cold, gastro-enteritis, broken arm etc) This is also in Air Law
Pregnancy (flying during pregnancy – if you are a pilot or passenger) This is also in Air Law
Fatigue (fatigue, shift-working)
Psychology (risk taking in groups)
Psychology (types of personality, how to work with old or bold Pilots as a student)
Psychology (effect of experience and expectation on outcomes)
Psychology (central decision channel and mental workload, information processing and situational awareness)
Psychology (skills, knowledge or rule-based behaviour,)
Psychology (erroneous mental models)
Psychology (accurate mental models)

& here are some other HPL topics that are really useful for Ballooning!
Make good use of your crew & resources (know your limits, practice, good briefings, delegate, have finesse! be kind)
Reduce workload – prepare in advance! PRACTICE, use checklists, use your own or familiar kit, practice, read, ask others, practice, take advice, listen to suggestions, learn incrementally
Altimeters – have a look and learn to use lots of different types (old fashioned needle ones are VERY confusing!)
Eat well and keep hydrated – don’t get hangry! (hungry angry) This applies to Pilot and crew!

Example of a type of question in the Human Performance and Limitations Examination.
At 6000ft a balloon passenger suddenly starts breathing quickly, they have blurred vision and muscle spasms. What is the problem?
a) Hypertension
b) Hypoxia
c) Hyperventilation
d) Hyperactivity

 

4 - Meteorology - 30 minutes (multiple choice) 20 questions.
Meteorology Syllabus
Recommended book(s)
Air Pilots Manual – Volume 2 ‘Aviation Law and Meteorology’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-066-7

The British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) Training Manual – available from spares@cameronballoons.co.uk on behalf of the BBAC

The BBC also has an easy quick weather systems study guide here (aimed at revising GCSE students) http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/weather_climate/weather_systems_rev1.shtml

Met Office Balloon Magazine Feature explaining their services for Balloonists
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/mohippo/pdf/aviation/ga/briefing-for-balloonists.pdf

Meteorology Syllabus Topics
– Pilots Under Training (PUT’s) should have a thorough working knowledge of all of these topics.

Wind (Surface wind and gradient wind, estimate one, knowing the other) (In ballooning the gradient wind is commonly known as the approx. 2000ft wind)
Isobars, Isogonal,
Wind (circulation around pressure systems, veering and backing, surface and gradient differences and definitions)
Wind (why does the wind drop at night)
Anticyclone and its associated weather
Anabatic Wind (where, when and direction)
Katabatic Wind (where, when and direction)
Mountain / steep ridge breezes, turbulence, northern hemisphere wind affects
Coriolis wind – beautifully described by https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/coriolis-effect/
Sea Breeze (characteristics, times)
Land Breeze (characteristics, times)
METAR (information contained, validity, updates, sources)
TAF (information contained, validity, updates, sources)
AIRMET (information contained, validity, updates, sources)
VOLMET (information contained, validity, updates, sources)
Forecast Terms (trends, tempo, CAVOK, magnetic, true etc)
Fog (different types of fog and why they form, definition of fog compared to mist)
Inversions
Cirrus clouds and what they indicate
Clouds (layer clouds, characteristics, causes and associated weather)
Thermals & thunderstorm activity
Clouds (heaped clouds, characteristics, causes and associated weather)
Precipitation
Rising column of air effects on the temperature and humidity
Evaporation and condensation of water
Lapse Rates (ISA definition, environmental, dry and saturated lapse rates)
Lapse Rates (understand how the base and tops of clouds form)
Lapse Rates (stability and instability associated with lapse rates)
Fronts (cold front characteristics, causes and associated weather)
Fronts (warm front characteristics, causes and associated weather)
Anticyclone and its associated weather
Depressions
Weather Systems (what is a COL and what would you expect) etc
Weather Systems (understand isobars, fronts and weather symbols)
Dewpoint
A great question to ask your Instructor. What happens to your balloon when flying over a big dense forest or large body of water?

& here are some other Metrological topics that are really useful for Ballooning!
ISA International Standard Atmosphere https://bmtc.moodle.com.au/mod/book/view.php?id=3760&chapterid=2182

Example of a type of question in the Meteorology Examination.
What is International Standard Atmosphere (ISA)?
a) It enables comparison between aircraft heights over a wide range of meteorological situations the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted an International Standard Atmosphere (ISA); it is a model atmosphere for which the average variation of temperature with height is specified. From this the corresponding variations of pressure and density can be deduced.
b) ISA is a sea-level pressure of 1013.25 hPa, a sea-level temperature of 15°C, a fixed lapse rate for temperature of 1.98°C per 1000 ft up to 36,090 feet (the theoretical tropopause height of the ISA), where the temperature is assumed to be -56.5°C
c) For practical purposes the ISA can be assumed to have sea level pressure of 1013 hPa at a temperature of 15°C and a lapse rate of 2°C per 1000 feet up to 36 000 feet with a corresponding temperature of -57°C.
d) All of the above.

 

5 - Navigation - 90 minutes (multiple choice) 25 questions
Navigation Syllabus
IMPORTANT NOTE – Before taking this exam you should have revised and understood all your PPL(B) Air Law - as this exam refers to parts of Air Law too ! (Actually, it is very useful to know all your Balloon Systems prior to taking your examinations too…)

Recommended book(s) and equipment
Balloon navigation – well, strangely there isn’t really a balloon navigation book – so you usually have to ‘pick through’ to find useful bits in fixed-wing books and online resources.

Air Pilots Manual – Volume 2 ‘Air Navigation’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-067-5
This book is quite useful but is entirely focused on fixed-wing – so stick to the PPL(B) syllabus and don’t get distracted by the interesting but not useful for the purposes of the PPL(B) examination topics. Do pick out relevant questions in the back of the book and try use them for practice though!

Working knowledge of the Maps used the exam
– It is worth learning the legends on the ICAO 1:500,000 map and Ordnance Survey (OS) 1:50,000 (pink cover) maps https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/docs/legends/50k-raster-legend.pdf

Note: you will be provided with full maps - including the legends in the theory exam and IMPORTANT some questions do require an understanding of air law).
OS guide for map reading – for beginners (aimed at children – but really useful for those who are new to map-reading)
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/docs/leaflets/map-reading.pdf  
with useful tips and videos here https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/education/

TOP TIP no.6
Know your conversions! Nautical miles to KM, Statute Miles to KM, Staute miles to NM and back again.
The unit of speed used in Aviation (and maritime) Knot (kn) is simply a nautical mile per hour (but no-one ever says that!) and is approximately 1.15mph.

Permitted Theory Examination Equipment
Protractor
Calculator (not a smart phone!)
Magnifying Glass
Ruler
Scale ruler – available from pilot shops 1:50 and 1:500 scale

Navigation Syllabus Topics
– Pilots Under Training (PUT’s) should have a thorough working knowledge of all of these topics subjects.

Start point (identify your launch point when given a grid reference, identity spot heights and distance between grids)
Grid References (understand and be able to use 6 and 8 figure versions)
Mid-point (after a few questions you are given a new ‘fix’ on the map)
Mid-point (Advice from the BBAC – This could be a new ‘fix’ do not re-draw your earlier answers to suit this)
Points of Reference (identify points of reference for flight planning and navigation)
Track (determine your current track, flight path planning and actions)
Heading (determine your current heading)
Bearing (determine a bearing to or from a position)
Bearings (understand magnetic, true and grid and the differences between them)
Understanding the OS Map symbols and features
Understanding the ICAO Chart symbols and features 
Speed, distance & time calculations
AGL, AMSL, FL, Latitude & Longitude – definitions and identify / use them
Landowner Relations (SA sensitive area system where to find them and to get updates, what does red and green signify, is it in AGL AMSL in FT or Metres, types of SA,) Also in Balloon Systems.
Altimeter settings (Understand what are and how to set spot heights, QNH and QFE) Also in Air Law
North – grid, true, magnetic variation & Isogonals 
Speed (calculate average speed)
Speed (calculate time of arrival at a point)
Air Law (minimum legal height above a point)
Air Law (permitted entry to restricted airspace and limits when, how)
Air Law (identify Danger Areas and other obstacles on ICAO chart)
Conversion (between statute miles, nautical miles, kilometres etc.)
Conversion (between knots, miles-per-hour, kilometres-per-hour etc.)
Latitude and Longitude (identify points on the map using Lat. and Long.)
Flight Duration (calculate fuel used and fuel remaining)
ICAO Chart (determine information about airspace and airfields from the ICAO chart)
ATC frequencies and where to find them 
Suitable landing / flying over areas / prohibited / restricted area definition – NOTAM. Also in Air Law
Cylinder sizes & usable volumes / usual estimated times taken to burn fuel in normal flight. Also in Balloon Systems
Danger areas how to recognise, what activities happen there and what are the restrictions. Also in Air Law
MATZ how to recognise, what activities happen there and what are the restrictions. Also in Air Law
ATZ how to recognise, what activities happen there and what are the restrictions. Also in Air Law

TOP TIP no.7
Read through the navigation exam question scenario carefully and refer back to it.
In the exam be really methodical - do not skip ahead to answer questions as many questions are linked. 
Be VERY accurate as being a bit off track will affect your subsequent answers.
Look for clues in the question to solve the answer.
Use all the examination time - review and chcek your answers
& bring 'blu-tak' to keep those big unruly maps still and fine OHP washable pens as they rub off - so can be used on the maps.

Example of a type of question in the Navigation Examination.
To follow

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