Saturday, October 8, 2011

First Day in the sim

Day one in the sim was last night. Went well overall. Arrived at the simulator site (my airline doesn't own the sim, we use an outside company) at 4:15 PM for a 4:30PM show.

I passed another pilot and inquired if he was my Captain. Sure enough he was.

He has been on the plane for 5 years as an FO which is equal to how long he's been at the company. I let him know I'm new to the plane but have been here for 4 years this month. We met the instructor. He was the same instructor I had for FMS training.

At 4:30PM we got down to briefing what would be done. It was the Captains first time in the left seat, my first time in the right seat. We'd do a normal flight. Start at the gate, taxi, RNAV departure, RNAV approach to a missed, come back to a localizer approach and land. Simple.

The instructor was happy we weren't both new hires as things go faster. When he has two new hire FO's together (happens sometimes due to lack of Captains) it takes then an hour to an hour and ten minutes to get off the gate! None believe it takes that long, but for many it's their first time in a simulator. It's most pilots first time in the "real" plane after having spent two weeks behind a cardboard mockup.

I'd been in the jump seat of this plane a few times commuting so I ad an idea of how things looked and sounded.

It took me a bit to figure out how to get into the seat. Different handles than my last. I took a few moments to get orientated then got down to business. Even with a few questions on my part we got off the gate in 20 minutes. My questions were mostly, "so this is how that works?" and "ah now I get it.

The Captain taxied a bit rough, it was his first time using a tiller. Taxi checklist done I went through my before takeoff flow as the Captain lined the plane onto the runway centerline.

My takeoff. At VR I pulled back on the yoke and immediately noticed more effort is needed than my last plane. Decent  climb out.

Total VFR flight at night. Vectored for the approach I rattled off a briefing. Still getting used to the PFD and FMS. Decent approach. On the missed I didn't hit the TOGA buttons just right. Caught it on the PFD and pressed them again. Localizer approach was fine. Landing was a thumper.

The site picture on final is VERY different than what I've seen the last 4 years.

Captains turn. He got used to flying with his left hand. I got used to using the FMS. Things went fairly well. The instructor helped me out a bit with the FMS. Four hours went by quickly.

Tonight is another simulator session.

Tonight we will have a normal departure, smoke in the cabin, non-precision approaches and as always a few missed approaches. There are no surprises in the sim. Every session is in my training folder.

Overall this plane is much easier to fly than my last. Hand fly anyway, I just need to master the automation.


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