More good news! Today I managed to pass my Air Law theoretical exam. I managed to score 85%, you need 75% to pass.

I was equally unsure of my chances of passing than I was for the ELP Test last week. I did a some practice tests and even a practice exam. And I failed at most of them (with a score of about 65%).

PPL vs. ULM Exams

As a PPL Pilot you must pass a theoretical exam for 9 subjects. As a ULM Pilot, in Belgium, you MUST do only one: Air Law. Optionally, you must do another exam to be allowed to operate the radio. I haven't done that one yet, but I hear it's similar to the ELP exam.

The other subjects must also be known though, because during the practical exams you will receive questions about these subjects.

The Exam Practicalities

In Belgium, you must enroll for the exam via e-mail at the federal authority of mobility (DGLV). You receive a request to pay around € 100 to participate in the exam and then you receive a date to go there.

If you are in Belgium, the easiest way to get to the exam center is by train. Take a train to the Brussels-North train station. The offices of the DGLV are right next to the station.

Once there, you receive a badge and register yourself. Then you can go upstairs with your badge, hand in your phone and get a seat behind the appropriate workstation.

Then you get a multiple choice exam - in this case - of 20 questions on the subject of Air Law. Since we're in Belgium, I could only choose Dutch, French and German as a language - not English.

The exam for ULM is normally the same as the Air Law exam for PPL, but some questions may focus on ULM specifics.

The Tricky Questions

After completing all the questions, I counted 13 question of which I was (almost) sure I had the correct answer. So there were 7 questions where I had some doubt. There weren't any questions that I was totally clueless, but the answers are designed to make you doubt.

There were usually two answers that are clearly wrong, and two that were similar to each other.

For example: one question was what it means that the structure of a ULM must withstand a load factor of 6+. One answer was "it must withstand 6 times the maximum weight" and the other was "it must withstand 6 times the maximum weight during level flight". The first answer is obvious, but the second answer can make you doubtful. But reading and reasoning correctly helps.

Here are some of the questions I was unsure of, as far as I remember them.

Military CTR

One question was if I was allowed to fly through a military CTR when it's active. Two possible answers were "It's forbidden for civil aviation" and "you can if you have two-way radio contact and clearance prior to entering".

I doubted because I remembered reading somewhere that military airspace doesn't allow civil aircraft. But I also remember that many things are allowed if the ATC gives you clearance.

I looked it up in my course material, and in Belgium the use of military airports is forbidden for civil aviation. But crossing the CTR is subject to ATC clearance.

Safe to say, this is then one of the three questions I got wrong!

Right of way Gliders vs Airships

One question was if a glider and an airship are on converging courses, who has the right of way.

The answer was the glider has right of way. This is a little contra-intuitive to me because I always imagine a glider is easier to maneuver than an airship. But the airship is powered by a motor so it is more free in its movement.

Closed or open fields?

Two questions related to opening or closing an uncontrolled aerodrome.

First of all, those aerodromes have a signal square and this signal indicates the aerodrome is closed:

Red square with yellow cross, indicating a closed aerodrome.
Closed aerodrome signal square, source wikipedia

This, however, means the aerodrome is open but you must take special precautions when landing due to the state of the runway:

Red square with a single yellow diagonal, indicating an open aerodrome with special precautions for landing
Open aerodrome signal square, source wikipedia

The question itself talked about a "red square with yellow diagonals". I was confused by the plural of "diagonals". Why not show a picture? Why not say "X" instead of "diagonals".

Eventually, I said the aerodrome was closed! I think that was correct.


Lessons Learned

My strategy to follow the class room lessons first, then start practical lessons and then plan the exam only a year later IS NOT SO SMART.

I thought the experience would make the material easier, but it has not. Only in a few cases could I use my experience for the questions. But it was hard to find the time to learn the material again in depth.

Especially if doing PPL, I would advice to do the exams directly after the class room lessons.

Read the questions in detail. Be calm. Don't get put off by practice exams which may not even be accurate.

Running Costs

Exam fee: € 103.00