Monday, October 27, 2014

Fooled them again!

I'm good for another year.

On the second day of my annual training I took my written exam. Not only did I score the top score in the class, I was the best pilot in the class! It helped that I was the only pilot in the class. The annual training is supposed to be conducted in classes of 10. Not sure what happened.

Because I was the only pilot my instructor filled in as the Captain for the simulator ride.

First day in the sim was busy. I was in the most unreliable aircraft in the world.

We started in San Francisco. Normal reduced visibility takeoff. Right at V1 as I lost an engine. Climbed out. Emergency declared, checklist run, brought back in for an ILS. Not just any ILS...the ILS to 19L.

San Francisco is surrounded by high terrain. The missed approach procedure must be executed percisely. If a pilot just flies straight ahead they will impact terrain and make the news.

Single engine ILS approaches really aren't too complicated. Once stabilized it's just like any other approach. The "fun" happens during large thrust changes....liked a missed approach.

We broke out right at mins. I looked outside and saw the runway. Right around 80 feet I heard, "Go Around! Go Around! Vehicle on the runway!".

"Go around, set max thrust, flaps 9!" I said as I pushed the thrust lever full forward. Things got squirrely fast as I had to make a left turn while counteracting the full thrust from just the left engine. It wasn't pretty but I made the turn and climbed out. Done.

Brought in again for the same approach. Vehicle was moved. Done.

More approaches including more single engine, flap failures and fires. Finished an hour early. Done.

Spent the rest of the day with my family.

Day 2 of the sim was my "check ride". Long time readers might know I'm a vegetarian. I was a vegan, but got tired of avoiding cheese. Airport food has cheese, chicken or both. I guess I'm a vegan who eats cheese ?

I said that to say this. I used to eat a (don't judge me) McDonalds Sausage McGriddle for breakfast before a checkride. That was my good luck charm. Worked for about 6 years. I choose not to eat them anymore.

Worry not I found a new one! It's called an Apple Fritter. It's full of fat and bad stuff....but no eggs!

apple fritter

I passed day one of the sim by eating one. Naturally I had one on day 2 as well.

My "checkride" was a line flight in real time from LGA to DCA. I had a different Captain who was also a check airman.

First though I had my oral. I've been studying for 2 months but was still nervous and iffy on a few questions. The examiner noted my shallow answers on a few things, but I met the standard.

The check airman I was supposed to fly with apparently didn't get the memo as he was late. Almost like a real flight I was delayed by 30 minutes. I had the aircraft set up when he arrived. If he had not arrived I would have lost my qualifications on November 1st. That meant I would have been off my next few trips with pay as it wasn't my fault I lost my qualifications.

Last year I chose to fly on my checkride. This year the Captain chose to fly. Kinda odd not flying on my checkride and I'd actually prefer to fly than be the non-flying pilot. Eh.

Minor MEL for an ice detector. Took off runway 13 with the Whitestone climb. That's a procedure I'd done a few times in the real aircraft.

Normal flight otherwise in real time. Minor en-route issues. Landing runway 19 with an LDA approach. In and done. No issues. Very easy checkride.

After that we did all the crazy stuff. Deicing, taking off on a contaminated runway, purposely flying too close to a mountain and having to escape, severe turbulence, heavy wake turbulence up high and low, stalling the aircraft high and low.

The low stall was very eye opening. It was modeled after the Colgan 3407 accident. I was flying in icing conditions, full flaps, at MDA and told to just let the aircraft stall. It's a very demanding recovery as the aircraft was just 400 feet AGL, slow and low. An aggressive recovery will cause a secondary stall.

The high altitude stall was also interesting. The aircraft dropped over 1000 feet before a recovery was complete. Being so high and slow means a very graceful recovery or a secondary stall followed by the stick pusher activation.

After that we did one more landing. On very short final the Flight Attendant call button rang followed by a baggage fire warning. Yep she was calling to report a fire in the baggage compartment that spread to the cabin.

Emergency declared. I made a full stop, heavy braking rollout and the aircraft was evacuated.

Now I'm off for 2 days. Easy 2 day on Wednesday. Day trip on Friday and I start a new month on Sunday.

Long live the apple fritter.


  1. Nice job on the pass! The baggage fire incident seems unfortunately realistic with all the lithium-ion battery problems in the past few years :/ . Good thing for you and your pretend passengers that it happened so close to landing!

  2. Nice job... Glad you found a replacement for the McGriddle... Heres to another year!


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