Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This is a boring story, but it's what we did today.

We have hired a new pilot for our flight operation, and he completed his Citation 550 training course last Friday at FlightSafety in Toledo. His ride went well, thank Jebus, and the Transport inspector who conducted it said he was very impressed with our new pilot. however, as it's his first jet type rating, Transport said we had to do some training in the actual airplane before they would sign off on his PPC.

So that's what we did this morning, and it was pretty cool. Our Transport inspector expressed an interest in riding along for the airborne training, so the three of us hopped aboard one of our jets and got ready to blast off for an airport 40 miles away. I sat in the right seat, our new pilot sat in the left, and our Transport guy sat on the divan just behind us, with a headset splitter so we could all chat. I showed the new guy some of my techniques, like using the thrust reversers to slow the jet while taxiing rather than riding the brakes, and we agreed that it put less wear on the airplane, and that taxiing with our buckets our probably looked really cool to anyone who happened to be watching us.

//The thrust reversers in our airplane are essentially big pieces of metal that pop out of the engines and change the direction of our jet thrust. The engines don't stop and start spinning backwards or anything, it just changes the direction of the engine airflow toward the front of the airplane rather than the back of the airplane, which helps us to slow down when we land//

The skies were hazy but the weather was good otherwise, and I got to stare out the side windows as we covered the 40 miles to our destination in less than 9 minutes. We set up for an ILS approach, which the new guy did perfectly, and landed with a full-stop. Years ago I used to see Canadian Airlines 737 aircraft conducting training at this airport and they would do touch and goes, but our aircraft checklists really aren't set up for that so we finished each landing as a full stop.

Besides, we weren't in a rush or anything. Trying to rush through training is pretty counterproductive in a number of ways - the person receiving the training might get overloaded and not learn as much, and it also increases the chances of missing an important item on the checklist. I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I would feel pretty stupid if I forgot to put the gear down before landing, or if I tried to takeoff with full flaps because I was in a hurry to get onto the next exercise.

We turned around and launched off a different runway to get some experience with crosswinds, and as we leveled off and the new pilot set up for a localizer approach, I pulled one of the throttles back to flight idle, saying "pretend engine failure!", just so there was no mistaking my intentions. He did the memory items, and I told him the engine was toast, so we went through the shutdown checklist, simulating the various actions we would be taking. The new guy came in for a simulated single-engine landing, which was also uneventful. We both noted that a single-engine approach really doesn't require much more power than a dual-engine approach, and noted that operating single-engine in our jet is really not a big deal at all.

We touched down, stopped, configured the jet back to a normal setup, and launched off for a final time, heading about 20 miles away for some airwork. We set up the plane in the take-off configuration at 5,500' and the new guy pulled the throttles back to idle. We slowed, and once we were at 120 knots or so, we simulated a take-off. I pushed the throttles to take-off thrust, and after a second or two, I pulled one of them back in an effort to simulate an engine failure on take-off. The new guy handled that just fine also, and we climbed on one engine to 6,500'.

Man I love our little 550's. Even on one engine, we have enough thrust to climb at a fairly great rate, and engine failures are a real non-event. They are a lot easier than in a propellor aircraft as we don't have to feather any propellors, and we only have 1 lever per engine to worry about.

I gave the new guy back the second engine, and we headed home to Pearson. We got in line and were vectored for an ILS approach, which was also uneventful. We landed, and that was that - the Transport guy said he was satisfied that the new guy had his act together and was unlikely to accidentally put the jet into a farmer's field somewhere. He shook our hands and buggered off, leaving us to put the plane to bed.

1 comment:

Aluwings said...

FWIW, I think you were 'bang on' to not do touch and go's without a proper checklist/procedure etc...

I liked today's story. Not boring, but insight into a typical 'behind the scenes' day at work. Again - fwiw.