Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Out of the rollercoaster (succesfully)

I am glad to be able to post this: Last Friday Sarah and I had our skill test (or exam) and got through it succesfully.

At the moment I am writing this with a beer in the backyard on a nice summer evening. And only now I feel I can start to reflect well on the roller coaster ride that the type rating was. It really felt like that and now it is as if you just stepped out of this roller coaster ride and are still dazzled by the ride. It was at least as intense (if not more sometimes) as the MCC/AJFC courses I followed September/October last year.

During the last few sessions we covered some complex failures, practiced skill test items and got introduced to some Low Visibility Operations. The latter one was quite interesting since the autopilot does a lot of things for you when approaching the runway (even the landing can be done automatically and must be done so in a lot of Low Visibility cases). However monitoring all the systems, and procedural constraints are more important in these scenario's. Constraints include things as; what do I do when I loose a certain system below such and such height, and how do general failures impact my ability to operate in low visibility circumstances. But as I said, this was only an introduction and would not become part of the skill test.

I need to give a thanks to the 3 instructors who taught us the A320's ways. They prepared us well above standard so we could pass the exam with confidence. They were stern at times, but it has all been for the better! :-)

Below I added a few clips made during one of the sessions in the simulator. The quality is not superb but it gives an impression of a couple of things we did in the sim. Again thanks to Zeb to capture these moments with his phone. I am still wondering how he survived on the flight bag he was sitting at during the windshear encounter... haha.

The plan to go to Cyprus for Base Training still stands. We are most likely leaving for Cyprus at the 27th of July to do the starts and landings early morning on the 29th. That will also be the day we will return back to The Netherlands. Unfortunately I am not gonna make a long holiday out of it. I hope to be able to go on a holiday in the 2nd half of August to the south of France to visit my girlfriend, Elise. In between that there are some additional courses planned that will cover; the dealing with fires (on board), getting out of a plane after ditching, etc... I hope to get a nice story out of that mid august.

Closing off with the clips below ;-) Talk soon

Taxi onto the runway, for an interesting flight as you can see in the next few movies

During this Take Off we encountered windshear, as you can tell from the computer's announcement and the large sidestick deflections suddenly after take off

Emergency descent, first time we did this

Landing without slats, instructor applaudes ;-)

Monday, July 06, 2009

12 done, 4 to go





After 12 simulator sessions we still have 4 sessions to go including the skills test (exam), next friday. Since last time I wrote on my blog Sarah and myself have made good progress, although the Airbus is hard to get to know. It is so much automated and it can fly in various modes. In stead of flying the aircraft yourself the computers do that for you as long as you tell it what you want to do and where you want to go. In monitoring this process you just need to keep thinking ahead of the airplane and now what mode it will enter or you want it to enter in the different phases of a flight. Having said this, with good crew coordination it is a great airplane to fly, also in the event of failures.

I have included some pictures which were made by Zeb during backseating one of our sessions. He was able to witness an emergency descent and unexpected windsheer encounters shortly after take off amongst others. There is also video of this, I will try to upload that between now and 1 week time.

Groundschool training is finished, except for the Low Vis Operatons section. But the main exam was passed with a score of 94%. So I am really pleased with that. It cleared the way to focus on the simulation sessions.

Sarah and I have also heard that we will probably do our base training at Cyprus. There we will make 6 starts and landings planned on the 29th of July somewhere early in the morning around 0400h AM. I am looking forward to that as you can imagine.

More coming soon... ;-)
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

As promised - picture from the cockpit


As promised, as soon as I got a picture from the cockpit I would upload it. So here you see me and my flight buddy Sarah preparing for a flight from Bruxelles to Amsterdam. We are located at the gate at Bruxelles airport and almost ready to start the engines. Big thanks to our instuctor Dennis who made the picture.
During this session we focussed procedures and flows to set things up in the various phases of the flight. We are still exploring what the aircraft can do and figuring out how it thinks.
That's it for now, talk to you soon.
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