Sunday, 18 December 2011

Boeing 737-3/900 Type Rated

Perfect timing for Christmas celebrations, two months after enrolling in the B737 Type Rating course, the group of people I trained with and myself are now qualified First Officers and will start line operations within just a few weeks.

The training isn't complete yet as we still have to complete the Base Training (6 to 10 circuits flown on the actual aircraft, without passengers) and the Line Training which will last around two months.
The Line Training envolves normal operations however the first few flights are supervised by a third pilot (safety pilot) and all flights are flown with Training Captains only.
At the end will come the Line Check which we will have to re-take twice a year from then on.

The LST (Licence Skills Test) goes through the same process and has to be re-taken once every 6 months during recurrent simulator training (RST), to keep current with emergency procedures and failures management.
As pilots, we are tested all the time and in some ways the training never stops.

The Full Flight Simulator sessions included all the aspects of the fixed base training but added much more complete decision making processes and line operations.
We reviewed pretty much all the phases of flight where we could have any kind of engine issues (failure, fire, overheat, abnormal vibrations, high EGT, severe damage, etc ...) whether this is on the ground, on the apron, during take-off, just while taking-off (between V1 and VR), after take-off, in cruise, during descent, on landing, etc...
Some airports have circle to land procedures (visual maneuver) in place and we practiced them in the simulator.
We are now CAT III ILS approaches qualified.

We reviewed so many failures or critical scenarios that I stopped counting. The worst we had were probably the loss of all AC power, manual reversion (complete loss of all three hydraulic systems, which makes it almost impossible to move the flight controls and maneuver the aircraft) and double engine failure on take-off.

Next step: First flight on the real aircraft.

Airborne life continues...


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

B737NG Type Rating - Simulator Phase (2)

Learn it the hard way, make the mistakes!

That's what the Fixed Base part of the simulator training is all about. 

The first 5 sessions were designed to learn and practice normal SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) on A to B flights. All the rest of the training is focused on systems failures, emergencies or non-normal situations, different types of approaches and decision making, on top of the usual SOPs work. The Full Flight sessions will bring the opportunity to practice again some of the situations we've been through before, but it adds the motion, more realistic airline environment (talking to Ops for example) and our required self-performance is set much higher. Yet the fixed base part feels really tough as every session brings more new stuff. The instructors let us make the mistakes and we learn from them.
It is undoubtedly much more intense than the Instrument Rating (IR) of the initial airline pilot training (which wasn't easy either).

Some of the failures and situations covered in the last five fixed base sessions include:
- APU (Auxiliary Power Unit, used to provide power and bleed air mainly when the engines are not running) Fault, i.e. not working,
- Bleed trip off (bleed air is compressed air taken from the engine compressor stages or from the APU, and is used to provide pressurisation, air conditionning and equipement cooling),
- Soure off (when a power source is no longer supplying energy as it should),
- Aborted engine starts for all kind of reasons (wet start, hot start, hung start, ...),
- Landing gear stuck in the up or in the down position,
- Loss of System A and Loss of System B (those are 2 of the 3 hydraulic systems (the third one is the standby system), driving flight control surfaces but not only, thrust reversers, landing gear, flaps and slats, brakes, spoilers, etc...),
- EEC Alternate mode (Engine control),
- Engine failure, Engine shutdown in flight,
- Engine Overheat,
- Engine Fire,
- Engine severe damage,
- Auto Speedbrake failure,
- Double FMC failure (resuming conventional navigation, manual calculation of speed references),
- Rapid depressurisation followed by:
- Emergency descent,
- Flight deck Window overheat,
- Rejected take-off,
- Passenger evacuation,
- Display failure,
- Stabiliser out of trim,
- ... and a few more.

There is a course of action for each of them, almost all systems are redundant and none of those conditions should develop in an uncontrolled situation. That's if we apply the correct procedure, and those simulator sessions are here to train to do exactly that.
Some of those situations require memory actions (Boeing refer to these as memory items) and a lot of decisions are to be made.

During Full Flight simulator sessions, some of those failures will be practiced again and lots of new failures will be introduced. There will be occasions when several failures will happen at the same time with procedures requiring to do opposite actions, resulting in the crew having to make a (correct) decision.

But the training is not only about failures and emergencies. We have to practice all kind of approaches on each flight, as well as go-arounds, take-off and approach briefings, and all normal checklists.
Amongst approaches we've been flying so far, other than the usual ILS Cat I, we did a few non-precision approaches (NPAs) such as LOC (Localizer only) approach, VOR-DME approach, NDB-DMEs, and circle-to-land (visual circuit after breaking off from the approach on one runway, to land on the same runway in the opposite direction, probably the most interesting type of approach).
There are two ways to fly NPAs, using VNAV (the FMC creates a vertical guidance based on DME, GPS and IRS position) or VS (Vertical Speed) as we would fly an approach on a Cessna.

Airborne life continues...

Monday, 21 November 2011

B737NG Type Rating - Simulator Phase

Final straight line to the right hand seat: the simulator phase.

It starts off with the fixed base part, a dozen sessions as pilot flying and pilot monitoring, before getting onto the full flight training.
It is called "fixed base" as the motion is not used on those simulator sessions. For this reason, we don't hand fly the plane a lot.
This part is typically designed to help us get to know all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), do-lists / checklists, the flows, standard calls and the Pilot Flying / Pilot Monitoring tasks.

The first five sessions are focused on normal operations. Basically, we enter the plane configured in the nightover/secure setup. The Pilot Flying (alternatively Captain and First Officer) completes the preliminary and setup flows while the Pilot Monitoring does the walkaround (checks the aircraft externally). This includes FMC basic setup (route planning, departure and arrival, speeds and altitudes restrictions, weather (temperature, winds) in the climb, cruize and descent segments, ...). This can take up to 10 - 15 minutes and those first simulator sessions are there to practice what we've been doing in the Procedure trainer (cockpit mock-up) and FMS trainer.

When both pilots are in the flickdeck and the final loadsheet has received, we complete the final FMC setup, make the take-off performance calculations (and decide of an appropriate thrust setting, e.g. derate thrust, assumed temperature), do the checklists and get started with the briefing. This would normally take another 10 to 15 minutes.
Then comes the pushback and startup sequences, taxi-out and take-off. For each of those phases, and for each pilot, there is a number of procedures, calls (out loud) and things we have to do. This is what SOPs are all about and it does take a while to remember them all and do it quickly enough. Everything is done from memory and then only we read the checklists, as opposed to do-list only, or checklist only, in general aviation.

Fixed base session 4 was a complete flight from A to B, ILS approach at B, go-around as a result of not being visual by the decision altitude, come back for another approach and land with weather merely above minima.

The next fixed base sessions introduce all kinds of emergencies and failures, I'll come to that in the next post.

Airborne life continues...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

From the jumpseat

Thrilling reward after four weeks of intense studies, I got to jumpseat a few flights, enjoy the incredible view and do some of the work (walkaround, PA - Passenger Announcements, and ATC communications).

This is not the average day at the office for a huge proportion of people on this planet.
Yet the job of an airline pilot comes with drawbacks, but some of its aspects like the view and the flying in itself are simply extraordinary.

Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning doesn't look very attractive in the first place, now when it comes to relishing the sunrise over the Alps, this is worth living for.

Airborne life continues...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

B737NG Type Rating - Part 2.2 (CBT, SOP, Perf)

After a second week of CBT (Computer Based Training) we're now done with the Technical training, assessed with a final exam.
We then had different lectures to attend on topics not covered in the CBT, more related with actual airline operations.
I'm impressed by the consistency and quality of the training provided.

We've started practicing the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in the Procedure Trainer, which in fact is a cockpit mock-up. My sim partner is a well rounded guy who worked in the Army as a pilot. Different experience means great conversations, there are so many different paths that lead to the right hand seat of an airliner that in the end, no two pilots share the same story.
Along with the proceduring training, we have had a few lectures on SOPs, and I backseated a simulator session, useful to see all this in action.
We still have to do the Performance and Mass & Balance calculations training (and the related exam).

Finally, we spent a couple of hours in the Control Tower (ATC) and the Approach room, talking with air traffic controlers about procedures we, as pilots, might not understand or find necessary in the first place but which are there for a reason. Those guys are doing an amazing job and are there to help us, it's always useful to see both sides of the headset microphone.

Airborne life continues...


Sunday, 30 October 2011

B737NG Type Rating - Part 2.1 (CBT, FMS)

CBT or Computer Based Training is our self-paced method of learning the technical side of the Boeing 737 Type Rating.

There are a total of 50 subjects to be reviewed as part of the CBT.

They are grouped into main topics, these include:

- Air Systems (Bleed air, pressurisation, air conditioning),
- Airplane General,
- Anti-ice equipment,
- Communications,
- Electrical,
- Engines and APU,
- Fire Protection,
- Flight controls (Primary and Secondary),
- Flight Instruments and Displays (Autoflight, VNAV, LNAV, Flight Directors, Standby instruments),
- FMS (Flight Management System) and Navigation (ADIRU - Air Data Inertial Reference Unit),
- Fuel systems,
- Hydraulics,
- Landing Gear,
- Warning Systems (Warnings, EGPWS, TCAS, ...).

The CBT program is actually very well designed and allows you to manually make inputs into the different systems and see their effects.
The CBT self-learning sequence is spread over two weeks, along with classes and reviews with flight instructors. It is supplemented by the FCOM (Flight Crew Operations Manual) which we have to know thoroughly, and which is in fact much more detailed.
The CBT however is a Boeing-based program, not airline specific.

An example of how detailed it gets would be the Landing Gear warning activation:
- The horn will activated when the flaps are between 0 and 10,
- Below 200ft RA (Radar Altitude),
- With one engine failed,
- 1 thrust lever less than 20°,
- All gear not down,
- With Flaps between 15 and 25,
- 1 thrust lever less than 34° with 1 engine failed,
- or 1 thrust lever less than 20° with both engines operating,
- Flaps 25 or more.

For every alert or warning light, there can be many different causes and many different actions to be taken, or even combination of warnings that lead to a different condition.
If the ZONE TEMP light illuminates amber, then CONT CAB indicates a duct temperature overheat or failure of the flight deck primary and standby temperature controls.
ZONE TEMP for FWD CAB and AFT CAB (Foward and Aft Cabin) indicates a duct temperature overheat.
If ZONE TEMP illuminates during Master Caution recall, then CONT CAB indicates a failure of the flight deck primary or standby temperature control.
Either FWD CAB or AFT CAB indicates a failure of the associated zone temperature control.

It can easily get confusing with hundreds of different warning lights in different locations.

We also started learning the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in the Procedure Trainer, which I'll explain in the next post.
Finally, we spent a couple of hours in the FMC trainer to have a go and practice all the things this fantastic system has to offer.

So far, this aircraft looks absolutely fantastic!

Airborne life continues...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Boeing 737NG Type Rating - Part 1

The Type Rating started off with an introduction and welcome into the airline. There are a lot of things to take onboard, such as the rostering system (basically, your work schedual), commuting, duty hours and limits, aircraft manufacturer's amendment to existing procedures, etc...
And paperwork, again.

The next few days were focused on CRM (Crew Ressource Management), accidents studies, SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures) and their use and situational awareness. The lecturer was well experienced and made it all clear and interesting. Hats off.

Then came the safety and emergency training. The theoretical part covered Cabin Crew and Pilot's security and safety drills, cabin crew's flight routine, dangerous goods and law, normal and non-normal procedures.
Finally, it was completed by the practical training:
- Ditching drill in a swimming pool,
- Doors mock-ups,
- Fire drills,
- Evacuation from the aircraft slides.

We had to sit several exams.
Quite enjoyable overall.

Airborne life continues...

Last photo is Nice (NCE) airport as seen shortly after takeoff)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Transiton and B737 Type Rating program

Glider towing was a very good experience.
Figures-wise, this represents some 1300 tow flights, on a 6 days on / 1 day off pattern, up to 14 consecutive flying days on some occasions.
I had the chance to do tows up to FL120 (12,000ft) for the National Test Pilots School (EPNER in France, equivalent of the British Empire Test Pilots School or the USAF Test Pilot School).

Figures stay figures, however it taught me a great deal of experience. I have had one engine failure on take-off (towing a heavy loaded two-seater glider), one occasion where the glider had its spoilers/speedbrakes stuck in the out position giving us a negative rate of climb on the initial path, several cable breaks, etc...
We operated in some serious weather conditions, with winds up to 40 kts, CBs forming all around on a daily basis, ...
When the airfield was flooded after heavy rains, we were to used the paved runways only.
Landing on the South-East side of the field, the Landing Distance Available was 120m (390ft), not much for this sort of planes.
Overall, an enjoyable and very valuable experience.

As always, good things come to an end, but yet the next step is one of which I have dreamt for years. Hired by a European airline, I started the Boeing 737NG Type Rating a few weeks ago and I should be flying the real aircraft around Christmas, first flights with passengers in January.

Type Rating program:
Week 1: Introduction, which covers topics such as our company's culture, CRM (Crew Ressource Management), SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures), Safety, Emergency Procedures, Survival and ditching training, Dangerous Goods, Fire and smoke drills, Operation of doors, ...
Weeks 2 to 4: CBT - Computer Based Training (Aircraft general knowledge and systems), FMS training (FMS simulator), SOP's training (cockpit mock-ups), Performances calculation, Mass & Balance, RVSM.
Weeks 5 to 10: Simulator training (60h of fixed base and full flight (full motion) simulator, and a further 20 hours as observer) and briefings.
LST: Licence Skills Tests (1 day),
Simulator Circuit Training (1 day),
Base Training (6 to 10 circuits on the actual aircraft, flown without passengers).

Airborne life continues...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Getting a pilot job in Europe

Don’t hold your breath, I am not announcing a major pilot shortage and I don’t think this will ever happen, at least not in Europe.
A lot of schools are advertising their courses with some very misleading comments such as “now is a good time to train, airlines will desperately be looking for pilots by the time you complete training”.
In the past decade, this has been half-true for not even a year, around 2007. They were certainly not desperate but a lot were hiring and the requirements were quite low.
This hasn’t lasted long though and rather than waiting for this sort of economic climate to come back, if you are looking for a job you should focus on what you can do in the current, fairly poor, climate instead.

This post is my own thought on the topic, hence not everyone will agree and share that same opinion. I may have very little experience in the industry, this process did help me get several job opportunities, and this is also the sort of attitude some of my friends had when they got their first pilot job.

Most pilots fresh out of school will just send a couple hundreds of CVs and wait until the phone finally rings. It sometimes works, it did for me, but there are a lot more things you can do to get a pilot job.

Right, first thing first, let’s talk about LUCK.
There isn't any absolute solution, there is no key, but luck does happen and it can be triggered.
Don't think luck doesn't come to you because you are not that kind of person.
Luck is not a simple character trait, it is a skill in its own.
Of course, you can get lucky or unlucky but those who tend to come across luck many times in a row most likely act in order to make it happen.
I'm not blaming those who are not in that position, just enlightening that the lucky ones tend to be the ones who create a positive environment.
A famous Professor did some work on that, you can look it up or google it: Richard Wiseman, Book: The luck factor.
Basically, one way to do that is to trigger opportunities. Which is, to get to meet the right people in the right place, listen to their expectations and position yourself on this demand.
Having a stable and steady life isn't really going to help you get opportunities, for a start.
Create a network, get to be the one that creates links between people (one of them being well-positioned) and help others before expecting others to help you.

Right, how do you do that in terms of real life?
You don’t look for these people, you don’t sell yourself to them. In fact, you shouldn’t need to, you just have to place yourself in a positive environment.
Here are a few examples:
- I worked on a big soaring airfield for 5 months. Within this lap of time, I met at least 50 retired airline pilots, got to talk to them and I eventually met other pilots who heard my name during random conversations. That’s a good start.
I met a Boeing 757 Captain well placed in his company to pass on my CV.
- Just a few days before I left, I received a phone-call from a chief pilot flying light twin-turboprops in remote islands. He got my contact details via a retired pilot I talked a lot with, one of those guys you could spend hours and hours talking to without getting bored as they have so many stories and life experiences to share.
Anyway, this chief pilot was looking for a pilot with glider towing experience because he operates on small trips with steep approaches, the kind of things you do as a tow pilot (I later learnt he had been a towing pilot himself a couple of years back). I realised I didn’t even applied to them as they were asking for a lot more hours than I had.
I turned the job down, having already signed my contract on the 737, but I kept him in my contacts.
- Other experiences, other luck? Probably. I recently met a nice guy at an airshow, I was one of those wearing a yellow high-vis jacket on the other side of the fence, as a photographer. We started talking about photographic equipment, and it is only after a while he presented himself as a member of the recruitment team of a corporate airline. Luck stroke twice, his company was looking for a Learjet first officer.
I am not saying that’s the way you get a job, but that’s at least a good way to get an interview.

Second tip, you need to plan everything.
Do not rely on a single project, you’d better have a second plan and even a third one.
Try to act in order to make things happen, and if they don’t, move on.
You should get organised with a Plan B, a Plan C and a Plan D. Once you have sent in your CVs worldwide, just put Plan A on the side (Plan A: an airline or small operator will eventually get back to you regarding your application, and call you for an interview). Don’t rely on that because it may well take years or even never happen.

Using my own experience, once I finished training, I knew I wanted to build my hours to fulfil the requirements of various operators asking for 500 to 700 hrs.
In case I wouldn’t get a place as a tow pilot, I applied to ground crew jobs on various airports.
I talked to a guy who told me his flying club would be happy to have me for the season, as a tow pilot. I relied on that, and when I went to the airfield, a guy got the place before I did and was already trained. Because the soaring (glider) season had already started, most of the gliding clubs had already found a tow pilot. I applied everywhere, called every single flying club, until one told me “I know this one place that’s looking for a pilot”. That was the National Soaring Centre, offering the best (or should I say, the least worst) conditions in the country.
I got the Chief pilot’s number and called him straight away. He told me they had not far from a hundred of CVs already and a few guys coming at the end of that week, but if I wanted I could pop up and bring my CV the following Monday, a week later.
The next morning at 6am, I was on a train to the airfield, a CV and a headset in my bag. Once arrived, I asked to have a chat with the Chief pilot, who was away for the morning, I waited and finally got to talk to him briefly around noon. He appreciated the move but told me he had already arranged appointments with other pilots the next day. I insisted, told him I was ready to go fly, and probably with a CV as good as the others'. He went flying and I waited until late afternoon for him to land, insisted again and finally convinced him to let me have a go. We went flying and did some general handling, various stalls, steep climbs and steep approaches, short landings and precision landings. Well fun despite the day-long wait, after what he offered me the place without any more delay.
A lot of positions in the aviation industry work like this one, you have to fight for it. If you don’t, someone else will.

Also, be realistic.
I highly doubt more than half of those who train to be commercial pilots will ever get a flying job. Pilot schools either hide statistics or make them look like if everyone is getting jobs. This is really not the case, the fact you complete a pilot course in no way means you will ever get employed as such.
For this reason, when there is an opportunity, whatever that is, don't turn it down unless you have a very serious alternative or very good reasons to do so.
Stop dreaming on excellent and very rewarding Terms&Conditions, as a low-timer non-experienced pilot you stand very little chances to start with more than decent working conditions.

Right, how about if you can’t get a hold of a flying position?
Getting yourself a ground job such as flight dispatcher will certainly help you more than working at MacDonald’s or going back to your old job in a civil engineering office.
Why? I can see two reasons. The first one is the experience you will gain as a ground crew, this is usually not a requirement from the airlines but they do appreciate this kind of background. For you, this is also a good opportunity to discover the airline world from a different perspective, not to mention the fact you’re still seeing airplanes on a daily basis. Then there is the possibility to network. Depending on what company you work for, you may come across lots of pilots working for a lot of different airlines. Some will be uninterested and some others might be training captains or chief pilots, you never know. Always carry a CV with you, in a folder.

- The following story happened to a great friend of mine, he had been dispatching on a busy European airport for a while when he got to see several times the Chief pilot of a major airlines. Having a CV on him as always, he kindly gave it to the chief pilot and mentioned how much he’d like to have a formal interview with him. Unfortunately, the latter refused. On the third occasion he saw him, he suggested again the idea of an interview, and when the chief pilot declined, he told him “right, I’ll keep the load sheet then, unless you changed your mind?” (in a humorous way, of course). He got called for the interview a week later…

So, how about what you read on the internet? In particular, web forums such as PPRuNe?
Those forums surely can be useful as they broadcast aviation news, which is a good way to stay current, knowing who’s recruiting, who’s not and who may well be in a couple of months. You will find there a wide range of interview questions and sim profiles as well, very useful when you finally get that phonecall inviting you for a selection.

However, you will also find a huge amount of gloom and doom, bullying and trolling. If you feel turned down or need some motivating perspective, don’t go on there.
Bear in mind a lot of those people spreading depressing (and often false) news are not pilots themselves, some of those who are pilots may have failed to get employed for various reasons. Some others may have dreamt to become pilots but never tried.
To compensate, they feel better telling you how bad it is.
You’d better spend your time actively looking for a job and networking than wasting it reading depressing comments on PPRuNe.

A lot of these people saw a light when they came across an advert for a pilot school. They were not interested in aviation in the first place, but imagined they just had to pay to get their licences and will soon land a very well paid job on a big shiny jet, full of prestige and glamour. For most employed pilots, this is utterly unreal.
You may land a job on a twin engine jet, but you better be happy to fly single props because this is most likely what you’re going to end on for quite a time, before actually getting your hands on a jet or a turboprop.
You need to be realistic. For a lot of pilots, their lives are nowhere near what people think they are.

The Aviation world is a bit like a lake full of crocodiles.
When a newcomer jumps in the pool, eyes wide open, he has great chances to end up very far from expectations. Some will get interested eventually, and a lot will not.
When those guys end up not getting jobs, while seeing classmates living the dream, they start getting frustrated, they openly blame the schools, blame the airlines and blame those who get jobs.
They also blame the networking or recommending system. It seems unfair to most, because you do bypass the long queue of waiting pilots. Now, you can choose to blame others, or be in the position where others might blame you for succeeding.

Good luck to all those looking for a job.
This certainly is far more difficult than the training itself, and sometimes you do everything you can and it just won’t work. Hang on to it and keep trying.
I know this sounds a lot easier than it is. My advice won’t get everyone a job.
But no book or website dares talking about the real job hunting, how it really happens.

This may open the eyes of those living in a fairy world.

Airborne life continues…

Monday, 15 August 2011

Boeing 737 FCOM, SOPs, QRH, ...

The First Officer contract signed, I am just days away from jumping into the new and exciting - to say the least - adventure.

Myself and the other people enrolled in the TR course have been provided with a set of documentation relating to the Boeing 737 Type Rating.
Those include the different volumes of FCOM (Flight Crew Operations Manual), accounting for several thousands of pages, FCTM (Flight Crew Training Manual), Ops Manual, Performance Manual, etc...
We are not expected to know everything until then but a lot of these documents is going to be really useful during the Type Rating and we will eventually have to learn a substantial part of its content.

Basically, the FCOMs cover topics from Limitations to SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), Performances, Aircraft systems, Instruments, etc...

I have ordered a technical book that helps understanding the FCOM, and I guess a lot of work is waiting for us.

I am leaving my current job as a tow pilot within the next few days, and although it was a pretty good experience, I am definitely looking forward to flying the line.

To you all, positively looking for a job, I wish you the best of luck.
It is a very tough industry with a rather low demand for pilots, especially inexperienced, and sometimes having the right qualifications with the right profile just isn't enough.

Having had several work opportunities in the last few weeks, I consider myself lucky and will try to post and share some information regarding that in my next post, whether this is a general aviation job or an airline position.

Airborne life continues...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The most beautiful American Airliner

“Allo, my name is L. from ..., may I speak to ...... .....?”,
“We’re please to let you know you have been successful in our selection process”.
The very friendly lady then told me I will be starting the Type Rating course on the Boeing 737NG this automn.
I have dreamed of such a call for years, the Boeing 737NG has always fascinated me, and this is just about to become real.

Thank you all of you who have showed your support.

I took the assessment recently and as any selection process, most didn't pass. I feel sorry for them, but I guess this is all part of the game.
I prepared a lot for it, spent hours and hours going through the entire ATPL books, I prepared for the simulator assessment and I think it all worked out pretty well on the D-day as I have never flown such a great flight before and I did my best CRM (surely the flights on the Kingair did help a lot on this side of things).

Looking forward to flying the most beautiful American airliner,

Airborne life continues...