Mollymawk tests

Yes, I am alive. I know I haven’t posted anything in three years. There are many reasons behind this, but I will leave this for another time.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got into this aviation thing back in 2015. Since then, I have taken it further and completed a commercial pilot’s license with multiple engine and instrument ratings, and some other stuff. What does this all mean? I can now fly the big birds for money if an operator decides to hire me. But to the big question, how do you get an operator to hire you?

It is not a simple task, you have to submit countless applications and be prepared to never hear back from anyone. They say there is a pilot shortage, hmm…? If you are lucky you might be called to an assessment. What? You don’t know what an assessment is? Don’t worry I got you covered.

In the aviation industry assessments are what jobs interviews are in any other field of work. But since pilots are rich, (we are rich right? somebody please confirm?) assessments have to be complicated money and time consuming processes. I was partially lucky and got called to an assessment for an operator called SunExpress. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the job. I have nothing but good things to say about SunExpress. They are very professional in what they are doing and have high standards for their pilots. The reason I didn’t succeed in my assessment is purely my own fault.

It basically works like this: You get a phone call which is some kind of unofficial first interview. If they are happy with you after the phone call you get invited to do an online ITEP English proficiency test. If you pass the ITEP test you get invited to do some psychometric tests at SunExpress’ own premises. If you pass the psychometric tests you get invited to do a simulator test flying a full motion Boeing 737-800 simulator. The simulator was a lot of fun to fly but this is as far as I got. If you unlike me pass the simulator test, you get invited to a formal interview and if you pass the interview you get the job! Phew…

Boeing 737-800 Simulator
Boeing 737-800 Full Motion Simulator

So what are the psychometric tests? They are the Mollymawk psychometric tests, also used by other operators like CargoLux and Pegasus Airlines. They are split in two categories: skill tests and aptitude tests. The skill tests test your knowledge in math, science and English. Those were the easy ones for me. The aptitude tests test your memory, orientation skills and ability to multitask, divided in three computer “games” named “Working Memory”, “Spatial Orientation” and “Time Sharing”.

In order to do the Mollymawk tests you have to purchase two packages, one for the skill and one for the aptitude tests. Each package costs 150€ and if you fail one subject or game in one package you have to re-purchase the whole package to do the failed test again. The first time I did the Mollymawk tests I passed the skill tests but failed the aptitude tests, thus I had to re-purchase the aptitudes package in order to do the tests a second time. Luckily the second time I passed. You only get one second chance. In total I spent 450€, not counting travel expenses, as a part of what essentially is a job interview for a job that I didn’t get.

I felt that more practice would give me a better chance to pass the aptitude tests on the first go. The aptitude tests are essentially a form of primitive computer games. When you purchase the aptitudes package they give you 10 practice runs in each game, which you can play at home. They argue that the learning curve is logarithmic, and that after 10 practice runs you have asymptotically reached your optimum ability in playing the games, but I doubt that. As anyone knows, practice makes perfect. So I decided to code my own version of the games and help other pilots truly reach the optimum before they do the final tests.

I have created a website for Mollymawk test practice, where I have implemented my own version of the Mollymawk games. A user can register an account and purchase one of the three time limited packages for playing the games. The games may be played unlimited times!

I have also implemented an interface for the users to track their progress as they are getting better:

You may ask, why do I ask for money and not put it out for free if I truly care about the other pilots? Well, somehow I have to make back the money I lost on my earlier “job interviews”. After-all pilots are rich, right? We rich guys, right? We have no problems paying 19€ instead of 150€ for doing the tests a second time?

Anyhow, if you are a pilot and in need of my services I truly hope I helped and wish you the best of luck!

And remember, when in doubt go around! (preferably above 1000 feet GND in IMC, unlike me).

Flying airplanes and living life

So I haven’t written anything on this website for quite some time. Nothing much has happened since my last post, besides one little thing. I took my private pilot’s license (PPL), which I am very proud of. I am certified to fly small single engine piston (SEP) airplanes up to 5700 kg and land them on land, not water. This happened in the end of June 2015, so it has actually been a while. Since then I have logged a little more than 70 hours of flight time, mainly on Cessnas 172 and 152. In September 2015 I started working on my night rating (NQ) so I can also fly during the night. I still have one hour of flight left before I get this rating but the school, some school in south Sweden (ha!) that I went to, had their teaching permission revoked due to some administrative hurdles. Hopefully they will get it back some time in March and I will finish my rating.

One more thing that I have been doing is studying ATPL theory at TFHS, the aviation school of Lund University (can’t seem to be able to detach my self from this university). I’m still at the stage where I’m doing my school exams, before moving on the EASA exams. Those should be finished some time in early summer (ha-ha summer in Sweden) and then I should attempt the EASA exams. A really nice tool helping me in my ATPL studies is aviation exam. They are not paying me anything for writting about them here, I just really find them useful and I want to share my experience with other students.

So long people, be happy and enjoy life!

Oh and by the way, here is a video of the first flight of the year in snowy Sweden:

First solo and first cross-country solo flight

My 30th hour in the air is approaching. The required hours for a PPL license are 45. I really like flying, it’s something that grows on you. So far I have performed a few hours of solo flight, which means that you are alone in the cockpit flying the airplane. The cross-country solo flight is a little longer version of a longer flight where you navigate to a nearby airport. Enjoy the videos!

Flight lessons

Last year in September I started taking lessons towards a private pilots license (PPL) for aeroplanes. There is an aviation club nearby (http://www.eslovsflygklubb.se/) that also works as a pilot academy. It is a great feeling seeing the earth from above =)

Here come some videos from my first few flight lessons. More will come, subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to get updates immediately.


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Dirty Filthy PCBs

I just received 10 PCBs that ordered from dirtypcbs.com a couple of weeks ago. I have to say that the quality is amazing. For $14 they are not dirty at all! The lack gold plated pads, unlike PCBs from OSHpark, but if that is none of your concerns then it’s a go! I don’t claim that OSHpark is obsolete now, but for simple prototyping when you want to be allowed to make mistakes, dirtypcbs are filthy enough to allow you to do that.

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Mooltipass compile and flash guide for MacOSX

Mooltipass

Mooltipass is an open source offline password keeper that started off at Hackaday as an idea from Mathieu Stephan. I am one of the few lucky beta-testers and as such I would like to explain in this guide how to compile and flash its firmware from source. This guide is written for Mac OSX 10.9.

1. First of all: I DO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY IF YOUR MOOLTIPASS AND/OR DVD PLAYER EXPLODES AND/OR YOUR WIFE DUMPS YOU! FOLLOW THIS GUIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK, IT REPRESENTS THE UNOFFICIAL VIEW OF THE VOICES IN MY HEAD.

2. Second, get the required tools. If you don’t already have MacPorts, download and install it from their website.

3. Once this is done, install git, binutils, gcc, avr-gcc, avr-libc and dfu-programmer from MacPorts. Just a note: I already had xcode installed on my mac, so this did it for me. If you install all of these tools and still have problems at compiling, try installing the Command Line Tools.

sudo port install git binutils gcc48 avr-gcc avr-libc dfu-programmer

4. Get the latest source code from github:

git clone https://github.com/limpkin/mooltipass.git

5. Define that you are a beta-tester ;) and compile the source code:

cd mooltipass/source_code
sed -i "" "s/XXXXXXX/BETATESTERS_SETUP/" src/defines.h
make

6. Set your mooltipass in DFU mode:

  1. Disconnect your mooltipass (if connected).
  2. Insert your smartcard upside down, with the chip-side up.
  3. Connect your mooltipass.

7. Flash your newly compiled firmware:

sudo dfu-programmer atmega32u4 erase
sudo dfu-programmer atmega32u4 flash mooltipass.hex

8. Disconnect your mooltipass, remove the smartcard, connect your mooltipass and insert the smart card.

9. Profit?

Folk racing

Racing is something that I always wanted to do but never really got to it. A couple of weeks ago I went folk racing with a friend at a nearby track. It was great fun! This month I booked a second time and in the future I will probably get my own crappy racing car provided that I find a parking spot for it.

Here is a video from the race a couple of weeks ago:

WiFi Thermal Printer with Arduino

I have been working on a wireless thermal printer for an application that I have in mind.

The system is composed by the following parts:

The WiFi shield uses the SPI bus which leaves the serial port free for the printer. In the video below you can see a simple example of Internet-to-Printer connectivity. The system, as a standalone system with no connection to a PC, is started up and it pings Google. When a successful ping response has been received it prints the letter “P” with the printer. More information could have been printed here, but since I use an Arduino Diecimila with very little memory, the program just fits on the microcontroller as it is.


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DIY Cellphone, Part 2

The last couple of days I have been trying to put my cellphone together. Using soldering paste with lead requires good ventilation. The fumes are poisonous and you shouldn’t breathe them. That’s why I had a big fan by my side. Your friends are; soldering paste, flux for the hard ones, a soldering iron, a tweezer and patience.

I discovered that I didn’t receive the correct LiPo charger and I haven’t been able to power the phone in order to program and use it. I have contacted the supplier (Electrokit) and I am sure the they will find and ship the correct one. Still I have to wait over the weekend before I can use my phone, which is not fun =(

Here are some pictures from the soldering procedure: