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...

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