Monday, June 26, 2017

HUD's Hoods and hazards

I promised myself when I started writing the blog that I would only write it when I wanted to rather than feel obliged each day, the last 3 days have been exhausting and very long and if I'm honest with myself they have been pretty stressful too at the same time. This is always expected on a type rating as its an incredibly intensive course of training.
 If you can imagine that you get only 7 training sessions in a simulator to learn every procedure, emergency and method of flying the aircraft there is little wiggle room to be able to re-do exercises that are difficult to get first time, this is on an aircraft with over a million parts and worth in excess of $50 million.
Its tough, its really tough and I am not the sharpest tool in the box and this requires every bit of concentration that that can be drawn upon.
With this in mind the last 3 days have hectic, the normal run of a day starts at 9:30am prepping in the college for the days training ahead, we then have a briefing of every aspect and procedure that we are going to achieve during the session. For instance one training sim sessions today consisted of:

  • Aircraft preparation
  • Taxi and taxi Checks
  • Rejected Take offs 
  • V1 Cuts ( Engine failure or issue and still having to take off and deal with it in the air)
  • Normal Take of climb procedures using HUD
  • Engine Fire
  • Steep turns at 45 degrees
  • Single Engine ILS Approach Hand flown
  • Single Engine Landing and Missed approaches Hand flown
  • Fuel system failure circling approach and landing 
  • Flawless approach and landing 
  • Shut down and securing procedures
All of this has to be accomplished to test standard in 2-2.5 hours 
We then get a break of 10 minutes to pop to the loo and then have to do the same thing all over again except James and I swap seats as there are jobs of for the flying pilot to do and the non flying pilot to do in all of these sections of training. No chance to eat lunch or a cuppa. With then have a debrief for an hour or after the session.
If you are unlucky in real life you might have one of these incidents happen over the course of each 1000 hours of flying rather than all of them in 2.5 hours. It quite honestly is a lot to take in and execute day in day out. 
James and I certainly feel that its a bit much to expect but here we are all the same. 
Todays session for me was a good one, the penny dropped for me on a few of the aspects that I had been struggling with but I'm still cream crackered and mentally battered. 
The more I fly this aircraft the more I love it,  I have to admit its quite amazing  but to actually fly it without fire, smoke , engine failures and system failures every 5 minutes will be quite a treat.
I am enjoying the course but its very very tough so I am glad we are having a day off tomorrow. 
Not that it will really be a day off as I will be in the books prepping for the end of the course but that will be studying at my own pace, interspersed with a visit to the gym.

Thoughts for the day:
  • I can't believe how quickly the course has gone so far
  • I am shocked to realise that its a year ago today that I had my stag do before I was the luckiest man in the world to marry my best friend Naomi
  • Blimey it was also a year ago then that I broke my hand and had to have surgery to put it back together
  • Next weekend I should be meeting up with my new plane

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fully motional ......

****Please do feel free to leave a comment on the blog, would be great to hear from you ****

Where do I start with today......
well a catch up of the passed couple of days, I decided not to blog as we were given 4 days off from training here after passing the ground school exam but James and I still went in each day to practice on the fixed simulator to go through procedures, start up, calls, and working through the checklists.
For me this was really beneficial as it kind of gave me the standard to work to as James has over 2000 hours of airline flying with these practices as a standard working methodology with two pilots.
So we drilled the work load from each of us then swapped roles and did it over and over in the hope that it would get us where we want to be.
Had a shot at sunbathing in 46 degrees heat and lasted for an hour in the shade
Yesterday we both took a well deserved full day off to let the brain relax before this mornings session.
Today is quite a big day here as its the beginning of the second half of the course and its just flying flying flying. I am writing this at 10pm here, I got back to the hotel at 8pm and am now revising for tomorrow.
But back to today.
We met our new instructor today, which I'm not going to say too much about as I'm hoping working with him will improve but we had an hour and a half briefing on what our flight was going to be about today. I was to be Captain for the first flight of 2 hours, flying out of New York and then doing some training air work at high altitudes. The list of our manual air-work was:

  • Taxi failures, including brakes and nose wheel steering
  • Standard take off (which still make me smile in this plane when I push the throttles to max)
  • A hand flown full departure in IMC on a SID (Standard Instrument Departure) 
  • Then it was time for steep turns at 45 degrees manually flown which I wasn't great at but got there
  • Stalls in all 3 different configurations
  • Unusual attitude recovery from both high and low nose attitudes
  • A max rate descent
  • Emergency Decent in Oxygen Masks
  • Dutch Role recovery at 45,000ft
  • A hold 
  • Then a hand flown arrival to ILS back in Tettoboro Airport
My new office 

I went first and went through each exercise which took 2 hours, we had time for a 5 minute glass of water with no lunch and then straight back in and up with James in the left seat and me as co-pilot. 
I kind of wish James had gone first to be honest as his hand flying skills for the difficult tasks was great to watch and I learnt a bit from that.
I am quietly pleased how it went but it could definitely be better. The instructor said that I was just about at test standard which I am happy with as its the first time I have ever done stalls or steep turns in very fast jet.
Going back to my instructor days if a student was ever at test standard in a single engine piston plane after doing the air exercises once I would have been amazed. 


We then had an hour long debrief at the end of the day and I think both James and I were at bit knackered at the end after no food when we started at 11am and did all that work and then finished in the college after 7pm.
I miss this lady

Thursday, June 15, 2017

half way there, half time the whistle blows

Well what a day today is.
Today was the end of the ground school section of this course. The course is made up of ground school for nearly 2 weeks and then there is 2 weeks of simulator training.
(Although we have started some of the simulator training already)
So to celebrate the end of the ground school portion of the course we had an exam to test that we weren't asleep during the classroom time we have attended and that we have learnt what we have been taught. The subject matter has covered the entire systems of working of this aircraft the Global Express XRS.
So this includes the Electrical systems, Hydraulics, mechanical, jet engines, fuel systems, bleed air, air conditioning, ice protection and then all of the flying procedures including ,emergencies, navigation, performance and limitations.
Quite a lot to squeeze into a few weeks and the hours have been long and that doesn't include the weeks I did at home before I came out to try to get a base understanding before getting here.
Well I am pretty pleased that the work has paid off as we had our ground school exam today and I managed to pass it with 92% and will be cracking on with the rest of the course.
For the time being we have been given a few days off in between the sections of the course and will be meeting our new 'Flying' instructor on Monday who we will be flying with each day for the next two weeks before our final flight test, which by all accounts will be a pretty arduous affair.
For the moment though its time to take a break for 24 hours, relax and let the brain reset and prepare for the next section.

Thoughts for the day:

  • I am glad I managed to pass the exam today, I don't like exams
  • Its been great to be able to FaceTime my wife each day now due to finding out why the internet gods weren't allowing us to before 
  • I am going to treat myself to something nice for dinner tonight
  • Well as I write this I am sitting in an Irish Pub eating a curry
  • I really hope Bangladesh beat India to get into the final of the Champions Trophy
  • If Bangladesh don't beat India I won't be taking a taxi tomorrow as most of the taxi drivers here are from Bangladesh
  • I miss Naomi
  • The more I learn about this airplane the more I can't wait to fly it for real 
  • It would be really nice to hear from anyone in the comments section of the blog if you enjoy reading it

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Well thats more like it

I am chuffed to bits this evening that I managed to achieve what I was wanting to and also prove to myself that I can actually do this today.
I have to be honest and say that as I said yesterday that I feel lucky that I have a great sim partner to be on this course with.
Normally when you are doing training like this you swap between pilot flying and pilot monitoring on each flight,  James had a chat with me this morning to offer for me to get back in the flying seat again today as my confidence had taken a bit of a knock yesterday.
After our ground school session for a lot of the day we were off to the sim to Fly for a few hours. I took on the left seat again and it was night and day from yesterday.
In fact I felt the most comfortable that I have felt yet in a jet. I was able to do a lot of hand flying and intercept and fly an ILS all the way to a reasonable landing.
I am extremely grateful to James for helping to get me over this blip and I am sure there will be many more along this road, but I am happy to be smiling once again and not bruising my forehead on my desk........
For now I have to get back into the books as we have our ground school written exams on Thursday, its going to be an in-depth test on all of the days we have done in the classroom so far, from the electrical systems, hydraulics and how the air conditioning works. The maximum and minimum speed limitations for various stages of flight.......
Off to the study books I go.............

One note I would like to write is it would be lovely to hear from anyone reading this in the comments box done below, I've noticed there are people reading it in the USA, Holland and even Russia, it would be great to hear from you who ever you are.

Monday, June 12, 2017

today's the day

Since I have been away I have been really strict about what I eat and drink.
Basically I only drink water, or mint tea (hot water with mint leaves in it) and I only eat fresh food and no bread or potatoes. There's lots of lovely fresh fish and fresh meat here so thats been my staple diet with only fruit allowed in between meals.
I have avoided coffee, chocolate, deserts and sugar as much as is humanly possible.
I am embarrassed to say that prior to coming over I was the heaviest I have ever been, a mighty 110.4kgs. Obviously too heavy and unhealthy especially as I'm now passed forty and work in an industry where holding a medical certificate is very important to keeping on flying.
I am chuffed to bits today that I weighed in this morning at 106.5kg before heading off to college which is a huge loss in my mind during a few weeks and has spurned me on to keep going to get myself below 100kgs initially. (I might have a glass of wine then)
I am enjoying doing some exercise every day whether its swimming, cycling or running/x-training in the gym for a minimum of 45 mins flat out after a warm up, which to be honest seems to be as good for the brain as it does for reducing the body fat %.
I have 5 minutes to myself this morning so I thought I would follow up yesterdays post with a few pictures of what I was talking about.

Harvey is loving the rain in East Devon

Graphs graphs and more graphs

Thoughts for today:

  • I am going to have a better day today than yesterday
  • I think I might combine my gym training to a run, cycle and a swim like a mini triathlon
  • Strange to think its only 5am in the UK whilst I am writing this 
  • I really do hope I have a better day today 
  • I think I'd quite like to roll around in a muddy puddle too

Pretty glad that today is over

That was a toughie.
Not too pleased with my performance today  but I've been assured by plenty of pilots more experienced than me that you just have days like today in the sim.
I just had one of those days and will be glad to assign today to history though and just need to be better tomorrow.
I think that some days when you do intensive training like this that every now and then the brain waves a white flag.
Fortunately I have a great sim partner like James who has a few type rating courses under his belt and sat and had a good chat with me after and settled my frustration down a bit.
We spent the morning on one of the more frustrating topics for pilots to have to go through on ground school and that is Performance.
This involves a gazillion calculations using about 150 different graphs to calculate the landing distances on various runways in even more different conditions.
Then we have to work out different weights, configurations of the aircraft in lots of different temperatures. All in all pretty mind boggling when you think that all of this is done by the onboard computer on the aircraft, but just incase the computer goes on strike we have to be able to crank out the paper graphs and we will be examined on it on our ground school exam later this week.
All in all definitely not one of the days I will reflect upon once this course is over and finished.

Thoughts for the day:

  • I really enjoyed looking back over some of my Africa flying posts on my blog last night when I couldn't sleep. Its good to have a diary/blog to remind you how things were at the time
  • I really need to get wifi at home in the UK, its doing my head in not seeing Naomi
  • I'm chuffed my dog Harvey had a great day jumping in mud puddles today with his dog pals
  • Tomorrow I will be better at flying the sim than I was today

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Vancouver to Honalulu...... who'd have thought it sat here in Dubai

I'm a little disappointed today as we found out that todays lesson and simulator session with Mohamed is the las time he will be teaching both James and I.
He's been brilliant. 
A great guy to learn from. 
The kind of instructor who is instinctively able to see if you've understood something and if not comes at it from a different angle.
We are meeting a new instructor Graham. So it will be good to see how it goes with a new face.
Today was a long old day. To start with it was ground school covering the pressurisation of the aircraft and air conditioning. In technical terms it was all about Bleed Air systems and the redundancy systems that kick in if there is a failure.
We also covered some of the things that we had questions about that were perhaps a little wooly in understanding.
After that it was time for the full motion simulator with James. It was interesting as we had a flight from Vancouver to Honolulu. 
The full motion sim is amazing, within two minutes you easily believe that you are there for real. Its incredible, you are taxiing the aircraft around on the ground around the hangars and taxi ways.
After take off we went through the drills for engine fire, electrical failures and got to use the RAT which is pretty noisy. (RAT= Ram Air Turbine which deploys like a little propellor from under the aircraft in case of needing emergency power)
After the emergencies we decided not to head out over the pacific and return to Vancouver where the first landing was completed well and feel so realistic its crazy.
It felt like the start of a large learning curve today, I didn't exactly feel ahead of the plane but I didn't feel massively behind it either which was good. 
Having James there as a capable bloke next to me is great as his experience is really helpful with thousands of jet hours in his book.
We received pretty good feedback from Mohamed so all in all a good days work.
Back to the hotel after and when I got in I felt suddenly really drained, obviously the brain had been busy today, so it was off to the pool for some exercise and blow those groggy feelings away.
With that done and a good session in the steam room and a quick freeze in the plunge pool I felt loads better and ready to get some study to round up the days learning and write my notes up for revising.
Thoughts for the day:
  • Can't quite believe I've lost 3kgs in weight since I left home with exercising and healthy eating 
  • Loving flying in the sim, makes me really want to get in the real thing
  • I'm glad I worked hard before coming out here as it stood me in good stead
  • I wish I had wifi internet at the house in Honiton to be able to FaceTime with Naomi

Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh my word its Hot, Simulating and Snowing

Well I've flown the plane for the first time, all be it in the simulator, mind you saying that the instructor didn't go that lightly on us with an engine failure, engine fire on two separate occasions during an hours flight.
But we were able to land where we wanted to, Montreal Canada.

I'm a bit disappointed as we are not allowed to take photos of our training going on in the simulator etc at the College for some reason so I'm not able to post photos of what I am doing. Those who know me will know how much thats killing me.
James, the other chap on my course is more experienced than me in flying larger jets as he has been on a South African Airline for the passed few years flying CRJ's so a lot of this is intuitive to him but he's providing me with a lot of support and is a really nice guy too. We are going to be spending a lot of time together doing the sim work and he's a good guy to be spending it with.
Right now as I sit here I am on a day off as Friday here is like a Sunday back home and no-one works, so I'm heavily in the books prepping for the ground school exam towards the end of next week.
Aside from the books and the simulator I took a few hours out at the end of the day the other day and went to the Emirates Mall. Wow.
Ok so picture it.
In the desert in Dubai, its pushing 46 degrees C in the daytime, you go into the mall and there is lovely air conditioning and then right in front of you is a Ski slope !!!
With Actual snow. Much like the snow dome in Birmingham or up in Glasgow. From boiling hot to snow in 50 paces. Its so surreal that its hard to get your head around.
I have rather a ropey picture but you can see what I mean.
The Indoor snow dome in Dubai
Thoughts the for the day:
  • I miss my wife
  • I can't believe that there will end up being another election
  • I can't believe that I predicted there would be a hung parliament
  • It's a week since I left home, in some respects I feel like I've been here for months
  • I miss my wife

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Nice to meet a great instructor

One of the electrical systems

What a great day.
Its really refreshing and positive to meet and be taught by an instructor who is obviously very very good at his job. Today I met and was taught by Mohammed from South Africa who was an engineer in his former work on aircraft all over the world including Japan, Africa, and many others.
His style of teaching today has been terrific and its made the very difficult subject matter very clear and helpful to learn.

Today's topics were Navigation equipment, and my big demon of Electrics. Lots of DC electrics and AC, Batteries generators , and then the back up systems for those.
If I am honest I was dreading the lectures on Electrics as its a subject that I have never really understood very well ever since school and trying to understand, volts, watts, Kva, solenoid and resisters but today went really well thanks to a good teacher and that really does make all of the difference.
We have been introduced to the initial simulator which we will start using later on in the week to start learning the procedures of this aircraft and start doing the drills for it. One thing is for sure, the more I find out about this aircraft the more I want to get into the driving seat.
For the time being its revision back in the hotel and writing up the notes form today and then revise tomorrows subject matter.
Its a really early start tomorrow so I'm going to try to get an early night.

I visited the local Mall and saw this indoor umbrella display

Monday, June 5, 2017

Trying to study but I think the mind tank is full.

Its been a bit of a day here today, kind of a day of death by powerpoint as it really was very dry study material about engines, engine systems and the computers that power them......
It was a bit of a refresher really as most of this material was covered during Commercial Pilot license exams both in the UK and in the USA for my FAA Commercial exams.Its quite good being taught this subject matter by an engineer, and an engineer who was in the RAF and working on the exact type of aircraft that I'll be flying.
He's flown in them and repaired in all sorts of conditions including war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan  so we are certainly learning from the horses mouth.
But still today involved lots of very technical information about electrical generators and the unbelievable amounts of redundancy in this plane and how incredibly safe it is.
I'm sitting here at my desk at 11pm and doing a little revision on the day and rewriting my notes on the above topics.
When I arrived back to my hotel room today I literally fell straight asleep as I was catching up on some tv.....
 I am finding that rewriting my notes taken each day and keeping them up to date with additional notes is a great way of keeping them fresh in my mind.
I have to admit though by the end of the sessions today my mind tank was pretty much full and over spilling.
Tomorrow we have a new instructor coming in for the day as we end up being taught by all of the instructors on the Global Express training team so it will be a bit of a change.
I had better get back to my studying.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Day one

Day one at type rating school........
an early start with the shocking news on the tv of the terrorist attacks in London, utterly shocking and a total waste of life in the centre of the capital. I'm not really sure what to think of it all but I will write below about my day at flight school but it may feel a little muted.

An early breakfast for me in the dark with it being Ramadan and then off to the training college which fortunately for me is a short walk. Even at 7:30am its 34 degrees here....... bonkers warm.

The first day was just like any first day at school with signing lots of paperwork and verifying of licenses etc and I was lead off to my classroom to meet my colleague James on who is also on the course and our instructor Paul.
The classroom is space aged, with massive touch screen displays and Paul keeps the lessons going well and so far I feel I can keep up with the information flow and not too out of my depth.

The day started with an introduction to our course which lyes ahead and then it was straight into it with Fuel Systems, pressurization onboard computers, warning and caution systems.

The day whizzed passed to be honest but always with an aching thought of those poor people in central london. I got back to the hotel where I am staying and thought a bit of exercise might help so shorts on and off for a swim I went to try and clear my head a bit.

I can't quite get my head around it, with suicide bombers at a children's concert and now people just out and about in London. I feel for the brave emergency services, I really do.
Unarmed police officers running at armed men with suicide vests on, its just not enough to feel proud of people who will do that but I don't know what does it justice ?. I feel sure that the bravery of those officers and members of the public have stopped this from becoming a far larger incident.
It just makes me feel sad.

HUD's Hoods and hazards

I promised myself when I started writing the blog that I would only write it when I wanted to rather than feel obliged each day, the last 3 ...