Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The check pilot course I am on is fascinating so far; we spent the first three days in groundschool, talking about how to fill out the paperwork, about IFR procedures, and about how to conduct briefings and debriefings.

Okay, that stuff was pretty boring, but it got better. At the end of the third day, the class was presented with a few dozen events that might occur on a check-ride, and we discussed the grade we would give the candidates, and why.

As it turns out, it's pretty much all voodoo; there are very few cases in which a grade on a checkride is cut-and-dry, and most of them end up being grey areas in which we are expected to use our experience, judgement and discretion to arrive at grades.

Our class had about 20 people in it, from all aspects of the industry, and including about 10 Transport Inspectors doing recurrent training also.

I thought it was really interesting that one inspector might give a candidate a '1' (failure) on an exercise that another inspector would give the candidate a '3' (meets the standard) on. 99% of all the scenarios we discussed ended up being debated at length by everyone in the class, with lots of different opinions and grades assigned to the same events.

Doesn't that give you the warm fuzzies? :)

Anyway, moving on, last night we each created scenarios that would include the mandatory elements of a checkride (1 precision approach, 1 non-precision approach, hold, single-engine landing, V1 cut, etc)

Then today we conducted briefings on each other, and then got into the Citation 550 simulator here in Ottawa and conducted rides on each other.

Here's the scenario I prepared last night, and inflicted on the guys today.

If you passed this scenario with me on an official checkride, you'd earn a Citation 550 Type rating and an IFR renewal (assuming I checked off the correct boxes on the offical form). I still have a good ways to go before I'm signed off to be a check pilot, and a lot more experience to get, but I'm moving forward.


1. Start at main ramp in YOW (Ottawa) – Weather is 200’ceiling 1/2sm visibility
2. Regular checklist use
3. Engine Start – HUNG START on Second Engine
4. Reset, then normal engine start
5. Normal taxi, takeoff runway 32, Ottawa 1 SID

Trainer 1, Ottawa Tower, winds 250 at 11, cleared for TO runway 32, contact departure 128.17, good day.

6. On climb, AIR DUCT O/H

Trainer 1, good day, radar identified, climb and maintain 5,000’, cleared direct YOW VORTAC

7. Vectors to practice area, freeze location.
8. Steep Turns
9. Stalls (if applicable)
10. RH FUEL FILTER BYPASS after upper airwork is complete.
11. Vectors for ILS 07 – Weather set for 250’ 1 sm – vector to at least a 9 mile final

Trainer 1, maintain 3,000 until the glidepath intercept, cleared for the ILS runway 07 Ottawa, contact tower 118.8

12. At 100’, plane on runway – REJECTED LANDING

Trainer 1, pull up and go around, traffic on the runway. Climb to 3,000 and contact departure 128.17

14. Vectors to hold at YOW VORTAC – prefer parallel or offset entry

Trainer 1, runways are closed due to disabled ac, you are cleared to hold at the YOW VORTAC to hold NW on the 320 degree radial, maintain 4,000, expect approach clearance for VOR runway 14 at hold entry + 15 mins

15. New weather suitable for VOR 14 approach – 600’ 2 1/2sm

Trainer 1 you are cleared for the VOR runway 14 approach via the straight-in, contact Ottawa tower at KISUT on 118.8

16. normal landing (assuming crew has attempted restart of engine in #12)

Trainer 1 contact Ottawa ground 121.9


17. Start at threshold of 07 – Weather is 100’, RVR 1200 – Ottawa 1 SID

Trainer 1 Ottawa Tower, winds 070 at 14, cleared for takeoff runway 07, contact departure on 128.17 after take-off.

18. On takeoff roll @ (V1 – 10%) - DUAL GEN FAILURE– rejected takeoff
19. Reset to runway 07 – Weather is 250’, RVR 1200
20. On takeoff roll @ V1 – LH ENGINE FIRE leading to ENGINE FAILURE – Fire will go out with use of bottle, but engine will not restart

Trainer 1, Ottawa Tower, contact departure on 128.17

21. Climb to 5,000’
22. Radar Vectors for ILS runway 32

Trainer 1, Ottawa departure, maintain 3,000. You are cleared for the ILS runway 32, at GREELY, contact Ottawa Tower on 118.8

Trainer 1, Ottawa Tower, good day, winds 060 @ 11, cleared to land

23. Single-engine landing


Trainer 1, Ottawa Tower observes smoke and flame coming from your left engine. What are your intentions.



I got lucky; it ended up flowing pretty well, and the guys did a good, professional job in dealing with the various crappy things I threw at them.

ps the towing mishap I mentioned in my last post turned out to be minor - Our mechanics took the plane apart and found no real damage, just some scraped paint on a small non-structural area. I'll let you know how much the new paint will cost as soon as I find out - it's aviation, so I'm thinking around 15k when all is said and done.


Anonymous said...

Trainer 1 had a bad day.

Aluwings said...

Looks like a good exercise. But after 30 years of doing scenarios like this, I'm really glad someone invented AQP (Advanced Qualifications Program (?)) Is that the correct term?

It not only trains the pilots for more realistic things that really happen (i.e. NOT three engine failures and three weather changes in three hours), But more importantly it provides a way to "Check the Checkers."

If one inspector is always failing pilots on a certain exercise, while others are passing, then maybe the checker needs to be re-evaluated about what the standard is... etc..

And if too many pilots are failing the same exercise, then it raises alarms that the training system itself may have a problem.

I hope this kind of training bcomes more widespread as it is much more valuable, IMHO!

Anyway - As I said, I think you've come up with good program. I HATE that VOR 14 approach in YOW! ;-)

Dave Starr said...

As a very junior and unqualified pilot ... but a guy with a lot of years in the aircrew training business (as in pilots already type qualified but learning to cope with the realities of line flying) I'm wondering if the check pilot course included anything more along the lines of CRM? When I worked in this area for the USAF, a lot of the annual re-qualifiation training included non-aircraft specific objectives such as seeing how long the crew would follow an erroneous vector toward high terrain, would they accept holding without an EFC time, and, after Teneriff, given low visibility and radio chatter that made it clear another aircraft was probably on the runway, would they accept a takeoff clearance without question, etc.

A favorite of mine was a "canned" scenario where they were given a tricky approach ... with systems failurs of course ... and when they had the beast on the runway (or the overrun) and safely stopped the flight examiner/IP would ask what the POH minimum runway length required for their configuration was ... which, of course, by design, worked out to more than the available runway they had been cleared for and accepted. They would get so focussed on system faults such as no flaps, no thrust reversers, etc that the "big picture" was sometimes lost.