Thursday, June 6, 2019

Ride the training train

Training goes on, and on, and on… I do get to work with clients once in while now though, so far, it has all been in the GFS. I’m looking forward to an eventual chance to take a crew into the Sim, but I have no clue when that might happen. Getting the approval to work the class room appears to be many weeks away yet.

Some of the training did bring on a fun bit of coincidence. The Europeans came up with a new requirement for upset training to be included when anyone is learning a new jet. Since I am to (eventually) train EASA pilots, I had to take the training. An old acrobatic pilot being forced to toss a $20 mil simulated jet around a simulated sky? Sign me up!

The coincidence came in the form of my training partner for the Sim session. He was one of the clients I had worked with in the GFS, had just passed his type ride, and this was the last bit of training he had to do before heading off for home. It doesn’t get much better than flying with someone you helped train (even if just a minor bit of help). We did a total of three hours together, doing all kinds of things that will near get you dead in an airplane; massive wind shear hits low to Mother Earth on both take off and landing, wake turbulence rolling the plane to knife edge just a few hundred feet off the ground, and traffic conflicts with intruders both above and below. Even with all that we had a little time remaining in the Sim.

Sim time is rare and expensive so we generally don’t let any of it go to waste. Without warning or a pre-brief, the instructor failed both engines with the airplane 5000 feet in the sky and just barely within gliding distance of a usable runway. Since that is an altitude prone to being filled with migrating feathered friends, this is one of the more likely scenarios one might see out in the real world. No time for checklists or setting up an approach, fly-by-wire system gone and flight controls degraded with only one hydraulic system left, and no hydraulics for gear extension or brakes. Take your best guess at the runway you can reach, eyeball the rate of descent, call for flaps and gear when you think you have the runway made, and make it work. I think the Europeans are on to something with this training requirement, though the bird hit / all engines inoperative exercise wasn’t part of the deal.

This week is something new as well, teaming up with one of the program’s more experienced instructors to make up a crew for the GFS. The reason? We will be practice dummies for the program’s newest instructor. Since I went through the same thing not too long ago it should be interesting to be on the other side of that exercise. I also had a chance to sit in with a bunch of other instructors while representatives of the manufacturer of the airplane updated us on the latest support news. It was a very technical discussion which dug pretty deep into the minutia of system functions, approved procedures, and documentation. It might not be rocket science, but it isn’t tying your shoes either. It is rare to find myself in a room full of people who are more than equal to my inner airplane geek. I also got my hands on the maintenance training manuals for the airplane, pleasing my inner mechanic geek as well.

Which is good because my inner sailing geek isn’t nearly as pleased. Kintala sits forlorn in a FL boatyard, waiting for someone to take her back to sea. I try not to think about her much. With it being the hurricane time of the year we should be pushing north. It has been several years since we were last in the Chesapeake Bay and, even as I write this, I can picture Fishing Bay and our friends at Oak Harbor. But, being on the boat as long as we were taught us many things. One of the most important was that there are many parts of a voyage over which we have no control. Navigating that bit of the passage is the only real responsibility we have, doing it well - or not - is what matters. The “where” and the “why” and the “how did we get here?” Those don’t really matter much at all.

Eyeball it, and make it work.

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