Tag Archives: training


I had my 6 month checkride today. When I was still in the right seat I only had to go the sim once a year where I alternately went through a checkride (called a Proficiency Check or a PC) and a training event (called Proficiency Training, or a PT). The same deal applies now that I have upgraded, but the time frame shrinks to 6 months, so every year I now do both a PC and a PT. Today was my PC.

Because the simulator is in Charlotte, my day started off with a deadhead out of Dayton that got me into Charlotte at 10:30am. My checkride wasn’t until 2pm (with a 1pm show time to do some paperwork and the oral exam portion) so I hung out in the crew room and got some lunch while I waited. At noon I headed outside and caught the shuttle bus over to the training center. Once there I headed upstairs to the briefing room. My sim partner for the day (another captain I went through upgrade training with) was already there and we talked over some stuff until our instructor showed up at 1pm.

By 1:30 we were wrapping up the paperwork and oral exam and another instructor stuck his head in to let us know he was out of the sim. We headed down and through a random process (ok, my sim partner said “pick a number between 1 and 10” and I went with 7 which apparently meant I was going first) I ended up throwing by bag in the left seat and strapping in to get started. The ride started with the aircraft at the gate in Pittsburgh plugged in to ground power. It took about 10 minutes to get stuff set up and run through the checklists before we were ready to push back. After getting cleared for pushedback I had my FO (actually a Captain, which meant at least in theory he knew what he was doing) start the right engine. It hot started (meaning the temperature inside it spiked to about 700 degrees C VERY quickly) so he shut it back down and after I set the parking brake we ran the appropriate checklist. With that taken care of (and a mock call to Maintenance) we moved on and I started the other engine. This time the engine started fine but the starter (think a big leaf blower but in reverse with the air coming in and causing the engine to start spinning) didn’t stop when it was supposed to. A simple button push (back up with a checklist… there’s always a checklist) solved the problem.

After getting two stable running engines we taxied out into a rather nasty day with 1/4 mile visibility and strong, gusty winds. The taxi checklist and before take off checklist got us to the end of the runway where after re briefing the departure to take into account the reported windshear in the area I lined up on Runway 28R. In the sim you pretty much can guarantee something is going break or go wrong, but anticipating it can get you in trouble so often times it’s best to just do what you normally do and react once stuff starts going bad. With that in mind I put up the power and we started rolling down the runway, which in the reduced visibility disappeared about 800 feet in front of me. We made it to V1 (the speed at which you can no longer reject a take off) with out incident and then just as I was about to rotated my FO called out that our airpseed indicators had failed. That was an odd one and I half thought about rejecting the take off even though we were past V1 but after seeing that my airspeed matched the standby airspeed indicator, and it is highly unlikely that both systems would fail at the same time, I kept going.

The plane lifted off just fine and as we climbed through 200 feet and I called for the gear up, the speed jumped up about 60 knots and in order to compensate I had to pitch up so much that we were climbing at almost 8000 feet per minute (normal is 1000 to 2000). Within a few moments everything seemed to settle down and I got the plane cleaned up and the autopilot on. Turns out what had happened was we got a huge windshear (a loss of 60 or so knots) right on the runway which led to what seemed like an airspeed indicator freeze. Then, as we came out of the shear and got the increasing performance on the back side, the airspeed jumped up.

And that was just my first take off.

From there I did some air work. The steep turns were ok and my maneuvering stall, while acceptable was a little ugly. After that it was time for the approaches. To facilitate that one of our emergency window exits popped open. While my FO ran some checklists to deal with that problem I got us headed back to PIT. We got lined up for an ILS and everything went well until about 50 feet off the ground tower (ok, our sim op) called for us to go around. So around we went. As I called for the flaps up they started moving just fine but as they rolled through 3 degrees on the way to 0 they stopped moving. Typical sim world stuff.

The good news was the weather drastically improved to clear and a million so I was able to get vectors back around for a visual approach which I managed to plant pretty well despite a gusty cross wind. Following that we reset at the top of the runway as the weather came back down to 1/2 a mile and fog.

This time on rotation my right engine blew up. Literally. As I started (slowly) climbing out the engine fire bell went off. Not a big deal, we have fire suppression back there and the plane flies just fine on once engine. However before i could actually call for a checklist or anything the left engine fire bell went off as well. We only have two engines on the CRJ, and now both of them were burning although the left one was still generating power but I had no idea for how long. I had my FO get us a tight vector to join an approach back down to the runway. I told him not to even bother with a checklist as we didn’t have time. By the time we had the approach set up and briefed we were joining the final and about a minute later broke out of the clouds where I manged an ok landing. We came to a stop and then I started the evacuation process. Or sim op stopped me before we got to far and reset us 3 miles out with the visibility back up to unlimited.

The winds were now blowing directly across the runway at 26 knots (right below our limit) and gusting to 35. I manged to muscle the plane down to just over the runway were I caught a nice sized gust. Despite that I did get it on the ground but it really wasn’t that pretty. To make a point the sim op spun my nose wheel (think much made fun of Jetblue landing in California) which made the plane start sliding off the runway. Using a whole lot of braking I was able to keep us on the pavement and get the plane stopped. At that point I talked through what I would do (call the fire trucks, get a bus for the people and let maintenance tow the plane away) and then we were done.

After a 15 minute break my sim partner got in the left seat and I went back to my old home on the right. Stuff came back pretty quickly, but it already felt odd sitting over there. He managed to do everything just fine and after an hour and a half we were done for the day.

A quick debrief and I was snagging a ride back to the airport (my first ride in a convertible… and a Porsche Boxter at that) to catch a flight home.

On one hand I’m really glad I only have to do these rides every six months. On the other hand there are 5 fingers. No, really, on the other hand, it’s always a good experience to prove that you do in fact have what it takes to deal with stuff when it starts to go bad.

Like Riding A Bike

So I haven’t flown in 2 weeks now. That’s actually not that long of a time to be not flying, but after about a year of rarely going more then 3 days and a few months of no more then 5 day breaks (other then when I was down for training for upgrade) 14 days is a really long time. And the interesting thing is that because I’m just sitting reserve, there is no end in sight to not flying.

It doesn’t really matter in theory. I’m getting paid either way, and the likelihood of me forgetting how to fly is slim to none, but every once in a while I wonder how far behind the curve I’ll be when I finally get back in the plane. It probably won’t be too bad, but especially now when I’m in the left seat, if I haven’t gone through the flows and routine in a while I always feel like maybe I’m forgetting something. There are checklists in place to prevent that, but the feeling just doesn’t go away some times.

The good (if you can call it that) news is I have sim event some time in September, so I’m in the process of (slowly) studying up for that. I keep surprising myself with how much stuff I actually remember. I guess that’s a good thing.

Wonderful Rochester, NY

Finished up day one of IOE. So far so good. Today we went DaytonWashingtonWhite Plaines NYPhillyRochester, NY. Started at 6:30am and finished up about 20 min late at 1:00pm. Oh yes early mornings ROCK!!

Rochester is actually pretty nice right now. I went for a walk around the hotel (it’s freaking huge by the way) and it was about 75 out. I can picture in the winter that wouldn’t have been so nice a walk. Tomorrow we head back to Philly and then south to Charleston, SC. Oh wait, there’s a hurrican kicking up down there. Hmm… Re route anybody? If we do go, I’m thinking it is going to be the captain’s leg 🙂

Anyhow, that about does it for me. I have to be up at 3:30 tomorrow. For those of you not in the know… that’s really early.

Vacation? What’s That?

Finished up training down in Charlotte over the weekend. My check went alright. I managed to make some really dumb mistakes, but then again, there is no such thing as a perfect checkride. We had a LOFT session the next morning and then I was done with the sim. I waited around until Sunday morning and then drove up to Lewisburg, WV and left my car at a friends house there. Caught an Express flight (1900 baby!) back down to CLT. I felt like I had just been there. Oh wait… I was. From there it was a mainline 757 up to Hartford and home. It’s funny I’ve been back in Amherst more in the past 2 months then the past 2 years. Go figure. I’m here until Sunday when I head back down to LWB and pick up my car to drive to Dayton, OH. A friend of mine is looking at a house to rent there. I start IOE on the 13th with a nice 4 day trip. Hopefully I can be moved in (somewhat) by them. Time will tell I guess. No linkies in this one. I’m on dial up again.

Delayed Vectors

We were a day behind in the sim because our first day was canceled because of some captains who busted a check. Today was supposed to be our day off but we were going to play catch up. We get over to the sim at 5pm and sit around and wait for our instructor to show. It’s a new guy, not our normal one. Well, 6pm rolls around and nobody is there. Chet calls out normal instructor to find out what is going on and finds out he never called the back up instructor. We then call scheduling and they tell us we aren’t even scheduled for the sim today. Turns out today was supposed to be our day off and we are in the sim at 6am tomorrow. Grrr. I guess that’s just the way things are.

Pictures… they are from my cell phone so the quality is sort of bad. I’m going to take my regular camera with me some time if I think about it.

Close up of ED1 and ED2 sitting on the runway

The sim in the back is the CRJ200. The little one up front is a 757 that mainline uses.

My sim partner Chet.

Shame On Me

I know… I know. No posts for a while. That’s what happens when you are trying to move your life from one side of the country to the other. That and no high speed internet. I have pictures and stuff from my move and other things but with a 28.8k connection there is NO WAY I am going to upload them. I’m about a fourth of the way through training. So far so good. More later when I have time/a good connection.