Wednesday 19 January 2011

Boeing 747-200 - European Skybus

Just a few pictures I took in the 747-200 Full Flight Simulator at European. We did not get the chance to fly it unlike others as it was in maintenance, but were offered a second free flight on the 737 instead.
Still very impressive inside!

I'm back in sunny France since then, and due to get back to flying the King Air within the next few days.
Looking forward to this.

Airborne life continues...

Monday 17 January 2011

MCC Boeing 737-200, Phase 2

The most enjoyable part of the whole training finally arrived: flying the Boeing 737-200 Full Flight Simulator, in a multi-crew environment.

It would be a tough job to describe all the things we've covered within the 20 hrs flying our pocket rocket, but as a summary, here are the flight details:

Day 1: 2 hrs as Pilot Monitoring (PM), 2 hrs as Pilot Flying (PF),
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) familiarisation, checklists and cockpit layout (The 737-200 shares most of the overhead panel with the NG (New Generation) series (from the 737-600 to the -900)). Radar vectored departure out of London Stansted, standard climb-out procedures, normal manoeuvres, use of speedbrakes, operations of Flight Director and Auto-pilot, ILS/DME back in Stansted.

Day 2: 2 hrs as Pilot Monitoring (PM), 2 hrs as Pilot Flying (PF),
Departure and arrival briefings, crew communications, emergency radio communications and coordination.
Rejected take-off drills: below 80 kts, between 80 kts and V1, at V1, after V1, and go-around procedures.
Use of abnormal checklists.

Day 3: 2 hrs as Pilot Monitoring (PM), 2 hrs as Pilot Flying (PF),
Conduct a commercial flight with emergencies.
1st sector: Dean Cross 4C departure (SID) out of Edinburgh EDI, Talla VOR to 12 DME arc approach and ILS in Glasgow GLA.
2nd sector: New Galloway 2H departure from Glasgow, Lanak 1A to ILS/DME back in Edinburgh.
Use of de-ice and anti-ice, pressurisation failure (slow leak and explosive decompression), emergency descent with the oxygen masks, CAT I ILS/DME to minima.

Day 4: 2 hrs as Pilot Monitoring (PM), 2 hrs as Pilot Flying (PF),
Departure Dover 7R out of Stansted, airways route to Boulogne BNE, About 1D arrival, ILS/DME, go around and missed-approach procedure, visual/DME approach rwy 23.
Low visibility take-off (LVP), situation management, pilot incapacitation, microburst / windshear on final.

Day 5: 2 hrs as Pilot Monitoring (PM), 2 hrs as Pilot Flying (PF),
LOFT (Line Oriented Flight Training).
1st sector: Birmingham BHX to Prestwick PIK, Trent 1G departure, Turnberry 1D arrival, ILS to minima.
2nd sector: Prestwick PIK to Birmingham BHX, New Galloway 1K SID, Chase 2B STAR.
Although there was no emergency to deal with on this last 4 hour flight, the route is short and the workload gets fairly high. The SID have early turns (at 1nm DME), and we were required to hold at destination, and fly the procedure back in Birmingham due to no radar available at destination.

A very interesting week indeed.

Airborne life continues...

Sunday 9 January 2011

MCC Boeing 737-200, Phase 1

After a month break, time needed to get our licences issued by the CAA, we're finally back in Bournemouth for one of the last steps of the training: the Multi-Crew Cooperation course.
It's broke down into two parts, starting off with the ground school, followed by 20 hours in a Boeing 737-200 Full Flight Simulator, 10 of which are flown as Pilot Flying (PF), and the remaining 10 hrs as Pilot Monitoring (PM).

It has nothing to do with Captain / First-Officer roles. The aim is, in part, to learn the tasks distribution among the two pilots. As "single-pilot Instrument Rated", we are taught to fly an aeroplane in which we perform all the tasks ourselves. Moving onto the airline, the flight crew is composed of two pilots, and we now have ground handling agents, cabin crew (flight attendants), company staff whom we can speak to over the radio while airborne, etc...
The roles (PF / PM) are usually swapped over every other sector, undependently of who's the Captain and who's the Co-pilot. And despite the designation of Pilot Monitoring (which used to be Pilot Not Flying), he is actually sometimes doing a tougher job than the pilot flying.

The simulator training is done in a Zero-Time Training Device, a six-axis full motion simulator, which allows to go straight on the plane and start the line training after a type rating. Unlike most type rating simulators, there's no need for touch-and-go training prior to flying with passengers.
Why is that useful during a MCC course? Well, it gives that extra bit of realism, and this is basically our very first experience at handling a swept wing jet, on a proper simulator.

As I haven't started the simulator training yet (other than learning the checklists, SOPs and cockpit layout), I can't comment on that part of the course.

However, the Phase 1 - Ground school has been focused on a lot of different aspects. Off the top of my head, those are the topics covered:

Oxygen rules,
Communications among the flight crew, flight attendants and handling agents,
Cabin crew emergency messages,
Leadership / Followership, envisioning, Situation awareness,
Altitude briefing,
Take-off Congifuration Warning (TOCW),
N1 / EPR gauges and icing errors,
Top of Descent (TOD) calculations and corrections,
Non-stabilised approaches and Go Around,
Approach limitations,
Checklists (Normal, Non-Normal and Expanded) and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures),
PF / PM roles,
Handling a jet (flying on attitudes and thrust, Mach/IAS),
Airbus' and Boeing's philosophy on Automation, GPWS and EGPWS, TCAS, Flight director and Autopilot,
Refueling with passengers,
Slot time (reviewing plan, ordering fuel, notams WX, briefs F/A, exterior walk around, cockpit checks, departure briefing, load sheet, push/start,...),
Windshear / Microburst recovery,
B737-200 Flaps schedule (Take-off, Approach, and Go Around),
Conducting effective briefings,
Re-briefing an approach after a runway change,
Workload periods,
B737 Operating procedures (who does what on the flight deck), challenge/response, ...