Friday, March 29, 2019

I'm a Bus Driver....again

About 25 years ago I drove a school bus in Nacogdoches (not a typo!), Texas while attending college. I would get up at 4:30 AM. Back the bus out at 5:30 AM and make two bus runs finally parking the bus in the University parking lot around 8:00 AM and then head off to class. That afternoon I'd fire the bus up, make two runs and park the bus around 4:30PM. It was an odd job for a college student. I only made like $6.50 an hour...but it was fun.

I said all that to say this. I am a (Air)Bus driver! Passed my final check ride last week. I head out to CLT this afternoon for IOE tomorrow. It's odd to be doing all of my IOE out of CLT instead of DFW. It is what it is. I do a simple two day CLT-MCO-CLT-BWI then BWI-CLT-ROC-CLT and finish on Sunday. Later in the month I go back to CLT for a SJU turn to complete IOE. The SJU turn is needed for my international qualifications. At my airline it just means I can fly waaaaay out over the water, into Latin American and around high terrain. We all...well MOST of us...know SJU is part of the United States.

More later.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Passed the first gate

Just finished my systems validation and my procedures validation.

The systems validation is the new "oral". It's a 100 question exam covering the aircraft that I have to score 85 or better on.

The Airbus systems was entirely self study with an Ipad app. There was minimal review in person. I started studying back in January while still flying the MD-80. I am happy to report I got 99 out of 100. The one question I missed was on fuel transfer. Eh. Not bad.

The procedures validation was done in a semi mock cockpit. It's a bunch of touchscreens and a thrust lever quadrant. It's good for muscle memory but there's no outside view so it's all pretend. My partner and I rocked the validation finishing very quickly. All along this journey instructors have mentioned how we are doing much better than average crews. I credit my partner as having been on the Airbus for a few years and me being the over prepared person that I typically am.

Two days off and the real sim starting Saturday.

The Airbus is waaaaaaaaaaay easier than the MD-80.

Monday, March 4, 2019

It's an entirely different kind of flying all together

I'm almost done with week 2 of Airbus ground school. I've been in the sim (used as a FTD meaning no motion) a few times. It's an entirely different kind of airplane.

It took me a bit to get used to the idea that flying with the side stick is just inputting a command then releasing. A 360 degree turn is done hands trimming. Very odd feeling.

The trusting in automation is also new. Starting an engine on a MD-80 involves me turning off the packs, opening the cross flow valves, the Captain holding the start switch, clicking a timer while I watch the gauges and introduce fuel at the right time all the while being ready to cut off fuel if things appear to be going in a bad direction. On the Airbus I turn a dial...then move a switch. No timer. I'm still not used to looking away.

My systems validation and procedures validation is in two days. My partner is a 8 year First Officer coming from the Airbus and upgrading to Captain.

More to come.