Tuesday, March 24, 2009



A pic of an instructor-station panel in the Citation 550 Simulator at FlightSafety Toledo.

•Lucky you, today is your annual checkride on the jet. You have been studying aircraft systems for weeks and have just finished up the training program at FlightSafety International, sweating in the simulator while the instructors tried their very best to put you 6 feet underground rather than 35,000 feet above it. You survived their sadism and got them to recommend you for the checkride, so the hard part is pretty much over already.

•If you pass your checkride, I will renew your instrument rating and your Pilot Proficiency Check, which will let you fly in cloud and also charge people money for your pilot services on the jet.

•We meet just inside the main doors at FlightSafety and head to an unused classroom for the ground-briefing part of the checkride.

•I have already gone through your flight training records to make sure that all the required training items are covered and that there aren't any nasty paperwork surprises that could derail the entire checkride before it begins.

•When we sit down I take care not to sit directly across from you - instead I sit next to you, which is less confrontational and more reassuring. Then I start to go over my briefing, which I am recreating for you now. Notice also that I never, ever say "Fail" or "Test" when referring to the checkride.

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•Introductions

•How are you doing? Did you sleep okay? Are you feeling well? Did you manage to get a quick bite to eat? I can wait a few minutes if you'd like to load up on a bagel or muffin. Are you sure? So, are you ready to do battle with the sim?

First of all, this is going to be a walk in the park. The standards are no tougher than the ones you have already shown you can meet. The training you have been doing for the past few days is a lot more difficult than this ride, and it will probably be anticlimactic for you.

•In training you had multiple emergencies, one after the other. During the ride we will NOT have multiple unrelated emergencies, and we can go at a much slower pace. Additionally, if you would like some extra time during any part of the ride, just ask for vectors or a hold to give you as much time as you need before moving on to the next phase of the ride. It looks good on you to ask for extra time rather than rushing through anything. We have the sim all day, and there are no outside time constraints. We will try to keep the ride as real-time as possible, and I will attempt to avoid artificial repositioning. If we do end up repositioning the sim, take as much time as you want to get re-oriented before continuing with the required items on the ride.

•From time to time you may notice that I’m writing things down during the ride. My writing things down does NOT mean that you have screwed anything up; I could be writing good things as well as things to bring up during debriefing.

•During the ride you may think you have messed something up. As long as the sim is still going, the ride is still going, so try to put any perceived errors out of your mind and move on to the next phase.

•I have prepared a weather package as well as an outline of required ride sequences. The weather during the ride will be at or below the minimum weather required for the approaches being conducted, and I will make sure the simulator is set for the correct weather. Just like real life, if you see the runway environment on an approach, then LAND! Otherwise, conduct a missed approach at the appropriate time.

•We will be doing the ride in this general order:

•We will do at least 1 normal takeoff, 1 crosswind takeoff and 1 rejected takeoff. We will do at least 1 hold, and at least 2 approaches. One of those approaches will be an ILS. We will be doing at least 1 normal landing, 1 cross-wind landing, 1 rejected landing (with missed approach) and one single-engine landing. During your ride we will also be experiencing some abnormal operations and emergencies, and you will have at least 2 engine failures. Also in the mix will be your required RVR1200 (1/4 mile) low-visibility items, including a rejected takeoff at RVR1200 and an RVR1200 V1 engine cut. Some of these items may be combined. As per CASS 724 Schedule 1, I will not be requiring you to demonstrate steep turns or stalls, assuming you have met the other requirements of CASS 724. Have you met the requirements? (check for signed letter from sim instructor testifying that candidate is proficient in steep turns / stalls).

•You will be evaluated according to the Aircraft Flight Manual, Aircraft Operating Manual, Pilots Operating Handbook, Canadian Air Regs section VI and VII, your Company Operations Manual, your company Standard Operating Procedues (SOP's) and any other applicable documents.

•You will be expected to control the aircraft within the performance criteria listed in TP 14727 Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane). Are you familiar with the Guide? (If not, then provide a copy of the guide to the candidate and go over the relevant performance criteria for the relevant PPC exercises to be demonstrated that day.)

(For readers of the blog, typical performance limits are things like maintaining altitude within 100 feet, heading within 10 degrees and speed within 10 knots while dealing with whatever emergencies I throw at the candidate)

•Use as much or as little automation as you are comfortable with during the ride - I expect you to use the autopilot and/or FMS just like you would in the real airplane.


•Fill out paperwork, including PPC Form 0249E

•Do you have any questions so far?

•We will try to keep the ride as realistic as possible. The Pilot Flying (Captain) is generally expected to initiate the response to an emergency, but there are 2 crew on this ride, so help each other out as you would on a normal flight in real life and you'll succeed together. Operate according to your company SOP’s and your emergency checklists. If you see a fault, assume it’s real unless otherwise advised. If it’s a sim fault I will inform you immediately. If it's a fault caused by an incorrect or inappropriate action or response to an emergency, I will not correct it. Again, don't rush! If you require more time to complete a checklist or briefing, ask for a hold or extended radar vector and I will accommodate as much as possible.

•When we get into the sim, you don’t have to wear the headsets there, but to keep it as realistic as possible, I’d like you to tune the radios. I will act as ATC, Ground Control, Dispatch, Maintenance and any/all other entities you might interact with. I also do want to hear all the radio calls that you would normally make. Here’s an alcohol swab to wipe out the oxygen mask so you don’t get the plague from the previous candidate.

•If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask. During the ride, if you have any questions about a clearance, a ride sequence, or want to clarify anything I have said that might be confusing, please ask.

•I know it’s easy to say, but do your best to relax, and take your time.

•Do you have any more questions before I ask you a few questions about the aircraft?

8 comments:

Aviatrix said...

My blood pressure and heart rate goes up just reading that. If I read it again I might burst into tears.

Ron said...

Sounds like fun to me!

Matthew said...

I've never done a sim checkride (I fly little planes like the Cirrus for fun) but actually this sounds like it would be enjoyable if your employment didn't depend on it. Maybe that's just me, a little plane pilot wanting to be a big jet pilot! :)

Aviatrix said...

It's fantastic if your employment--and entire career, no one wants to hire a pilot who can't get through a ride--didn't depend on it. If I won the lottery I'd spend lots of time checking out in cool airplanes at FlightSafety.

But other than that. You want to throw up.

vislu said...

"We have the sim all day, and there are no outside time constraints."

Huh? Business aviation must be a whole lot different than Airline Training were we are time-constrained all the time. One crew barely scrambles out and the next is climbing over them to get in...

Otherwise, pretty familiar. And I'm like Aviatrix -- palms already sweaty...

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Sulako! Closest thing t a sim that I'll ever experience.Acy=tually there is something menacing about that "nice guy" demeanor. Sort of a Jack Nickolson thing. smiling too much, too nice. Then the fangs come out.

Flying Europe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flying Europe said...

"Again, don't rush! If you require more time to complete a checklist or briefing, ask for a hold or extended radar vector and I will accommodate as much as possible."

Seems like you have unlimited Sim-Time available? Makes it sound easier than it is I guess...

Well written,

FE