March 02, 2014 (Sunday) Flying the Simulator

This is my first shot at flying a current professional simulator that models a turbojet aircraft. The classroom session yesterday that started me off was very informative, and kept me engaged for the entire time. To experience instructors giving me clear guidance and operational information.

I’m excited to be here and pleased to be┬álearning new things about turbine flying. Beverly is a real trooper for supporting my dreams and making sure that I get out there and get it done.

This trip is not without stress however. The snowstorm I have been watching is still building by the time I went to bed last night. I was worried about being stuck in a hotel room 5 miles from an important goal, and not being able to get there because of the snowstorm hitting me locally. I was also worried about my wife and neighbors back home that would have to deal with the aftermath without my being there. I allow myself to worry about things that were beyond my control, and the result was a limited four hours of sleep before my big day in the simulator.

I tossed and turned in my bed until 3:30 in the morning, when I gave up and opened the curtains. I saw that only 2 inches of snow had fallen overnight, and turned on the news to get an update on the weather. The latest storm track had delayed the snow until the afternoon. There was still a threat, but it appeared that the work we set out to do today would get done in time.

Today I’d have two instructors assigned to work with me, Jim and Kyle. I started out with Jim, and our mission was to fly the Kingair BE-200 up to 3000 feet and then 6000 feet; heading north of our departure airport. This first mission lasted somewhat less than two hours and included some basic maneuvers.

These maneuvers included:

  • Turns
  • Steep turns
  • Slow flight
  • Stalls
  • Vmc Demos
  • Several approaches

After short break, next up was Kyle. His approach was to start me out with several approaches at Decatur airport. The first I’ll less not going to offer me, and I strayed out of parameters. He decided not to count that one since I got to a full deflection before executing the missed approach. We tried it again.

The second ILS was also to minimums and I had it nailed until the last few hundred feet. This time, as soon as I stared to destabilize, I executed the missed approach immediately. That one was considered solid, and I start to improve there. I would say that by the end of my session with him, he was comfortable that I could fly this airplane safely, but did not have the impression that I was the most awesome pilot he’s ever encountered.

Now it was time to take a lunch break, and the nearest Subway ended up being the lesser of just a few evils. I was certainly feeling a lack of sleep by now, but I was pretty keyed up with what I was learning. I ate my lunch in silence, and was actually looking forward to the afternoon session.

Next up was Jim again. I think I like his style over Kyle’s, and I can communicate with him more readily. I sure hope it’s not just because he thinks I do a better job. Then again, maybe I do a better job because he inspires confidence. I’m not sure what it is but I do know the confidence is part of this game.

Jim and I got started, I can tell you that all these maneuvers came out better. I was very happy with my own performance and Jim seemed to be happy as well. Looking back it might be that the work Jim was doing was different than the work Kyle was doing. I would expect my approaches not to be up to my normal level, particularly since the speed of the aircraft was different and so many procedures were new to me.

These maneuvers included:

  • Hot start
  • Hung start
  • No light start
  • Failed engine on runway
  • Failed engine on takeoff vfr
  • Failed engine on takeoff IMC with an ILS
  • Cross country to KUID from KALD
  • Chip detected with no oil pressure

Jim and I ended up doing at least two approaches in this afternoon session. Both of those came out pretty well, as well as the other maneuvers we did.

I actually had a good time this entire day, and ended up entirely exhausted and ready to get some sleep.

By the end of the day we had begun to realize that the big snowstorm was going to pass to the south of Champaign. It looked like it would not interfere with the training I was trying to get done out here, but could instead block me from getting home.

Truly Living My Dream; or at least building it.