Friday, June 30, 2017

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast......(thats for you cousin Derek)

Here I am.
Sat at Dubai airport in the CNN lounge, which is a surreal place. They have done a cafe/restaurant out like being in the CNN news room. It has wifi, plugs and comfy chairs where I will be sat for the next couple of hours as true to form I have got to the airport ridiculously early.


This amidst sports cars that are for sale, Harrods and a multitude of other seriously expensive shops.
Heres me wondering, does anyone really come to an airport on their way to a family holiday or a business trip and then look at a Mercedes Benz or Lamborghini Diabalo and make an impulse buy for hundreds of thousands of pounds ?
Anyway amongst the glitz, glamour and gold I digress.
Seriously masses of gold.
This morning I had my final flight in the sim as an assessment for my competency to be a pilot on a global express and I'm happy that all went really well on a very busy flight between Zurich and Geneva.
Literally as soon as I had finished the flight I received details from my company letting me know they had booked a flight back this evening so that I could get home quick sharp, unfortunately I'm not getting to fly direct but it will mean that I am on home soil on Saturday morning.
I managed a quick swim in the pool to chill out for an hour and then finalised my packing to head home.
I'm not going to bore with too much about the sim session today other than to say I wasn't on great form after being quite ill last night, I think I must have eaten something dodgy as I was non too well through the night and only got to have about 2 hours sleep.
It did focus the mind somewhat at 6am when heading into the college to hit the sim but it was a good flight and all went well.
There were no major surprises which was good and I have been signed off at the end which I am really happy about and will be heading off to work on the real thing soon enough.
I feel absolutely knackered after a very busy month and I think I will reflect on it more over the coming days when I get back home and enjoy a nice walk with my wife and Harvey the dog and let the grey cells (not that there are many left) have a breather.
For the time being I will be happy to get back home unpack, unwind and enjoy a bit of reality.

Thoughts of the day:

  • I don't think I will eat the night before the next time I have an important flight
  • I really appreciate the help from my family and friends when I am away,  Naomi, Tierney, Mum, Dad, Ed, Derek, Julian, Andy to mention a few...... I am humbled by your support
  • I am shocked at how good the customer service is at Gulf Air to fly home, puts BA to shame
  • I will be happy not to have to miss my wife 
  • The nervous excitement I have about flying this new plane mixed with an intoxicating fear in the knowledge of how much it costs is a whole new feeling for me
  • In the words of Ace Rimmer from Red Dwarf........... 
  • Smoke me a Kipper, I'll be back for breakfast......



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



Up and away again..... heading North, a long day and then home.....

At Starbucks in Beirut, thinking about where I'd like us to go away holiday this year The phone rings..... "Can we leave to...