From mid-June, 2014 to Aug 5, 2014, I lived in a hotel in Charlotte and worked very closely with a class of pilots that were new to the Dash-8 airplane and Piedmont Airlines. The training was intense; starting with book and memory work related to systems, limitations, winter ops, flight operations manuals, normal and emergency operations, policies, etc.
We practiced flow patterns related to checklists and normal operations, and immediate action items to deal with a variety of emergencies. Testing and review was constant, and we each had to pass through this before getting near the simulator.
Once in the simulator, we had six lessons to learn maneuvers. You could get additional ‘add’ lessons if you needed it, and most do. In my case, along with my partner Calvin, we needed 8 lessons to be approved to take the Maneuvers Validation Checkride. Each lesson consisted of 2 hours of pre-brief; 4 hours of simulator work; and 1 hour of debrief. Calvin and I passed our MV ride on August 30, 2014!
There was no time to celebrate. The next ‘gate’ to get through was LOFT – Line Oriented Flight Training. This represents three additional simulator lessons (2-8-1) that are designed to show you what the real world experience will be like. The pace changes here, and there are no, or markedly fewer, engine fires, failures, and other emergencies.
In my case – we passed our MV at night; and started LOFT the very next morning. I personally had a very hard time with this first LOFT lesson, but the instructors here are excellent; and my partner Calvin was a significant support system in getting me through. The next two LOFT lessons went well, and Calvin and I passed our Line Oriented Evaluation – FAA based checkride on 8/5/14.
I was very disappointed to hear that night that I had to stay in Charlotte until the next morning to get additional admin training. I had wanted to leave at 3:30 am for home (I never slept more than 6 hours here), but that would have to wait. In the morning – I got a call that I’d actually be doing my supervised operating experience (SOE) in Charlotte, and thus wouldn’t be going home at all!!!! Argh!!!! I’d be flying in an airplane the next day???!!!
As it turns out, I hadn’t been home and didn’t have my uniform with me. I also reminded them I’d like my family to know when they might see me again; and something changed after I hung up. I was nice – I got lucky. My SOE was changed to Salisbury – my home base – and I was allowed to drive home by 1pm that day (6th). The next day I’d have off, and the day after I’d actually be doing a ride-along in a Dash.
This is the best thing ever – but I haven’t had the time to sit back and reflect…… such is the airline business.