This is What Happens When You Use ChatGPT to Study for Your ATPL Exam

Did you know you can use ChatGPT to do your homework and write a blogpost about it?

I just had an interesting conversation with ChatGPT about Mass and Balance for ATPL. Let’s hear what happened in the words of the Grand Chatmaster himself:

Can you write an entertaining blog post about this conversation with the title “this is what happens when you use chatgpt to study for your ATPL exam” and mention that we used the subject “Mass and Balance”.

As I sit in front of my computer, staring at the endless pages of notes and equations, I realize that I’m in deep trouble. I have an ATPL exam in just a few days, and I’m not feeling confident about my understanding of the subject of Mass and Balance.

In a moment of desperation, I type “Mass and Balance” into my trusty search engine, and that’s when I discover ChatGPT. I figure, why not give it a try? What’s the worst that could happen?

I start off with a simple question: “The loaded center of gravity (cg) of an aeroplane is 150 cm aft of datum. The mean aerodynamic chord (MAC) lies between 110 cm aft and 180 cm aft of datum. The cg expressed as % MAC is…”

To my surprise, ChatGPT quickly responds with the answer: “57.14%”

Encouraged by this initial success, I continue to bombard ChatGPT with more and more complex questions, each one more difficult than the last. And, to my amazement, ChatGPT manages to keep up with every single one.

As I scroll through the conversation, I realize that ChatGPT has not only helped me understand the material, but it has also made studying for this exam a lot more fun. I mean, who knew that calculating the center of gravity of an aeroplane could be so entertaining?

But, as I soon discover, even the most advanced AI has its limits. ChatGPT struggles to answer some of my questions and I realize that I’ll have to put in more work if I want to pass this exam. But I’m grateful for the help ChatGPT has provided me and I’m confident that I’m better prepared than I would have been without it.


In reality it all went off the rails quite quickly!

I started with this question, basic MAC calculation:

  1. The loaded centre of gravity (cg) of an aeroplane is 150 cm aft of datum.
    The mean aerodynamic chord (MAC) lies between 110 cm aft and 180 cm aft of datum. The cg expressed as % MAC is
    A: 19 %
    B: 38 %
    C: 57 %
    D: 47 %

The cg expressed as a percentage of the MAC is (150 cm – 110 cm) / (180 cm – 110 cm) x 100 % = (40 cm / 70 cm) x 100 % = 57.14 %.

So the center of gravity of the aeroplane is 57.14% of the mean aerodynamic chord.

Correct!

Then this one, calculate cg from the wheel loadings:

  1. An aeroplane with a two wheel nose gear and four main wheels rests on the ground with a single nose wheel load of 2000 kg and a single main wheel load of 3000 kg. The distance between the nose wheels and the main wheels is 5 meter. How far is the centre of gravity in front of the main wheels?
    A: 1,4 meter.
    B: 1,6 m.
    C: 0,8 m.
    D: 1,3 m.

To calculate the center of gravity in front of the main wheels, we can use the following formula:

Distance to CG = ( Nose wheel load x Nose wheel distance ) / ( Nose wheel load + Main wheel load )

Distance to CG = ( 2000 kg x 5 m ) / ( 2000 kg + 3000 kg ) = ( 10000 kg m ) / ( 5000 kg ) = 2 m

So, the center of gravity is 2 meters in front of the main wheels.

No.

I apologize if my previous answer was not what you were looking for. Can you please provide more information or clarify what you would like to know? I will do my best to assist you.

You did not take into account that while the single main wheel load = 3000 there are four main wheels.

You are correct, I apologize for the oversight. To properly calculate the distance to the center of gravity, we need to take into account the total main wheel load, which would be 4 main wheels x 3000 kg per wheel = 12000 kg.

Distance to CG = ( Nose wheel load x Nose wheel distance ) / ( Nose wheel load + Total main wheel load ) Distance to CG = ( 2000 kg x 5 m ) / ( 2000 kg + 12000 kg ) = ( 10000 kg m ) / ( 14000 kg ) = 0.71 m

So the center of gravity is 0.71 meters in front of the main wheels.

Please let me know if you need any more information or if there’s anything I can clarify.

No, the same goes for the nose wheel.

You are correct, I apologize for the confusion. The nose wheel load is also the single wheel load and we need to take into account that there is only one nose wheel.

Therefore, the total load on the nose wheel is 2000 kg.

Distance to CG = ( Total nose wheel load x Nose wheel distance ) / ( Total nose wheel load + Total main wheel load ) Distance to CG = ( 2000 kg x 5 m ) / ( 2000 kg + 12000 kg ) = ( 10000 kg m ) / ( 14000 kg ) = 0.71 m

So the center of gravity is 0.71 meters in front of the main wheels.

I apologize for any confusion caused by my previous answers.

There are two nose wheels

I apologize, you are correct again. The nose wheel load is the single wheel load and there are two nose wheels.

Therefore, the total load on the nose wheels is 2000 kg x 2 = 4000 kg.

Distance to CG = ( Total nose wheel load x Nose wheel distance ) / ( Total nose wheel load + Total main wheel load ) Distance to CG = ( 4000 kg x 5 m ) / ( 4000 kg + 12000 kg ) = ( 20000 kg m ) / ( 16000 kg ) = 1.25 m

So, the center of gravity is 1.25 meters in front of the main wheels.

I apologize for any confusion caused by my previous answers and I hope this information is helpful.


It turns out that ChatGPT makes exactly the same mistake as a lot of my ATPL students! But unlike my students, it does it again after I explain it.

New question, let’s see how it deals with definitions. I’m expecting good results:

  1. While making mass and balance calculation for a particular aircraft, the term ‘Basic Empty Mass’ applies to the sum of airframe, engine(s), fixed ballast plus
    A: all the consumable fuel and oil, but not including any radio or navigation equipment installed by manufacturer.
    B: all the oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluid but not including crew and traffic load.
    C: unusable fuel and full operating fluids.
    D: all the oil and fuel.

Pick the correct answer.

B: all the oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluid but not including crew and traffic load.

Basic Empty Mass (BEM) is the weight of the aircraft when it is empty, and ready for flight, with all the oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluid on board, but not including crew and traffic load. It includes the weight of the airframe, engine(s), fixed ballast, and all the consumable fluid. However, it does not include any radio or navigation equipment installed by the manufacturer.


The fun thing about ChatGPT is that it does not get insulted, it will just reply.
So here we go:

You sound like one of my students now who did not study properly

I apologize if my previous answers were not accurate or if it seemed like I hadn’t studied the topic properly. As a language model AI, I can only provide information based on the data I’ve been trained on and my knowledge cut off date.

It’s correct that Basic Empty Mass (BEM) is the weight of the aircraft when it is empty, and ready for flight, with all the oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluid on board, but not including crew and traffic load. However, BEM also include all the items that are considered as permanent equipment, such as, seats, galleys, lavatories, etc.

I apologize again for any confusion caused by my previous answers and hope this information is helpful.

No that is not true.

I apologize, you are correct. Basic Empty Mass (BEM) does not include all the items that are considered as permanent equipment such as seats, galleys, lavatories, etc. It is the weight of the aircraft when it is empty and ready for flight, with all the oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluid on board, but not including crew, traffic load, and any additional equipment, such as seats, galleys, and lavatories. My apologies for any confusion caused by my previous statement.

Still wrong.

My current answer is that Basic Empty Mass (BEM) is the weight of the aircraft when it is empty and ready for flight, with no crew, passenger, cargo or fuel on board. It includes the weight of the airframe, engine(s), fixed equipment and unusable fuel. It does not include usable fuel, oil, or anything else that is not considered part of the empty aircraft. I apologize for any inaccuracies in my previous answers and any confusion they may have caused.


Finally it gets it! It does not include usable fueloil, or anything else that is not considered part of the empty aircraft.

So which answer do you choose, a, b, c or d?

I apologize for the confusion. Based on my current understanding of the term, the correct answer is C: unusable fuel and full operating fluids.

unusable fuel and full operating fluids are part of the Basic Empty Mass (BEM), which is the weight of the aircraft when it is empty and ready for flight. BEM does not include usable fuel, oil, crew, passenger, cargo, or any additional equipment such as seats, galleys and lavatories.

Concluding

What can we conclude from this?

From this exercise, we can conclude that:

  • ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can be used to supplement traditional study methods and make the material more interactive and less boring.
  • However, ChatGPT has its limitations and cannot replace the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success on exams like the ATPL.
  • ChatGPT may have trouble interpreting the wording of the exam questions, just like the students, and may provide incorrect or incomplete answers as a result.
  • It is important to use ChatGPT in conjunction with other study methods and to always verify the answers with other sources before making any assumptions.
  • It is also important to be aware of the limitations of the technology and not to rely solely on ChatGPT for exam preparation.

So do I have to fear for my job as an ATPL teacher? Make it sound not so serious, maybe even a bit funny.

As an AI language model, I am not able to predict the future and can’t tell you if you have to fear for your job as an ATPL teacher. However, I can tell you that the use of AI tools like ChatGPT in education can enhance the learning experience for students by supplementing traditional study methods and making the material more interactive and less boring.

But, just like any other tool, AI has its limitations and can’t replace the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success on exams like the ATPL. And let’s not forget the human touch, the personal interaction, and the experience that a teacher brings to the class, that can’t be replaced by any AI.

So, don’t fear for your job, you are the expert and the guide, while ChatGPT is the helper. Think of it as a sidekick, like Robin to Batman, Watson to Sherlock or Donkey to Shrek. Together you make a great team!

Speaking of Watson, he has been unimpressed this entire time. Let’s see if he is up for a walk after I post this.

Agreed, thank you Grand ChatMaster!

You’re welcome! I’m glad I could assist you. Remember, as a teacher you bring your expertise, experience, and human touch to the classroom, and AI tools like ChatGPT can be a valuable supplement to enhance the learning experience for your students. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions.


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