delara newsDelaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH VOL 36 NUMBER 3
Wally Kenyon W8WLK
Flight Safety continued…
Flight Safety is a teaching institution and they do everything possible to provide an excellent environment for learning. That said, it could get kind of interesting if your simulator session was scheduled for 0 dark 30. The classrooms could handle 20 pilots or more but the sim has just you and your fellow crew member. If both of you were receiving instruction, then each session could take up to two hours or more with a break in the middle to stretch your legs a little and switch places. Sometimes, if you were lucky, there wouldn’t be another pilot to fly with you so they would put an employee in the other seat. That way you only had a half session. All of the pilots were in the same boat…if you flew for a living and you couldn’t pass a check ride then you couldn’t fly. I remember a joke that if a person was having a rough time, they might ask if you remembered the phone number for the truck driving academy promoted on TV and that they might need it. So, along with the flying which was actually fun and sitting in a classroom for most of the day, there was a certain amount of pressure. I remember one time I could have sworn I heard the sound of bagpipes. I followed the sound and there was a guy in an empty classroom playing his heart out…and it sounded good! That was how he handled pressure. I just hope he didn’t need to play it on the plane. The check ride had two parts, the oral and the actual ride in the sim. I never had any problems with the oral because I had an advantage. You still had to understand how things worked, but I would read through a page either in the aircraft manual or the checklist and then I would memorize it as a picture. I would be asked a question and I would pull up a picture and read off the answer. If you bobbled something from the manual or the procedural part of the checklist they would ask the question a different way so that you could work out the answer. It would be bad if they asked something and you didn’t have a clue but just about everything was covered in class so if you paid attention you probably wouldn’t have a problem. But, if you were asked an emergency question from the checklist, you had to get it right and in the correct order because there could be a number of things you had to do fairly quickly. With these questions they couldn’t cut you any slack. There was one thing that I did that amazed the instructors. I went back and they were making everybody do it and that was to memorize the instrument approach procedure you were flying from course intercept to the missed approach procedure. And, you had to get it right because you had to do it all. From my very first lessons in instrument ground school, it was explained to me that you had to know the approach’s inbound heading as well as intercept altitude, lowest altitude and time if it was a timed approach. The big thing though was the missed approach procedure. There was always a climb and usually a turn to a heading to intercept a radial or something and enter a holding pattern. You had to get all that right too. So, the sim operator tells you what approach to expect (he makes it sound like he’s a radar controller) and the copilot tunes and identifies the radios from the approach plate* and then passes it to the pilot. The pilot confirms the approach and commits the pertinent information to memory and passes the plate back to the copilot who checks everything as the pilot tells him what he just memorized. Believe me, the last thing you want to happen is to shoot an approach with only one engine and go missed and you don’t remember what to do. However, remember this is a two man crew so if you forget something, you calmly ask your copilot to confirm what you are supposed to do and all is not lost. There was one scenario that could be interesting and that was if the pilot lost all of his instruments and the copilot had to fly and shoot an approach. Normally, for me the copilot didn’t have the pressure the pilot does and gets to relax a little but now all of a sudden the pilots switch jobs.A flight simulator is a great learning tool, you can practice scenarios that you could never do in a real aircraft. I was very fortunate that the company I worked for provided its pilots with the best instruction. It really helped when something happened in flight and you knew exactly what to do.*All of our aircraft carried a complete set of Jeppesen Approach plates for the US and Canada. We had plates for Mexico and the Caribbean in the office if we needed them. You have one plate for an approach that has to be shared between two pilots and the captain can’t hog it because the copilot needs it to call out altitudes and missed approach point etc. So, memorizing it made the most sense to me.