Professional Pilots -
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 21:30
Very thoroughly. I have not come across any professions that are being subjected to such stringent tests once in every 6 months. The duration of the checks is three days.
In addition to being checked, a pilot also undergo a line orientation flight training every 6 months. The training is conducted as if the airplane is flying in real life with the Captain and his First Officer. In the older-model Boeing 747, before computers were added to the cockpits, the training crew complement would also include a Flight Engineer as well. In the flight simulator, the pilots and flight engineers must be able to maintain their currency and skills for all types of emergencies during take off, landing and instrument flying. If a pilot has been on leave or has not flown for more than 28 days, he would be checked out by another training personal for recency in case he forgets some routine procedures.
Personally, I think this is a necessary routine to keep pilots hone on their flying skills as hundred of lives are in their hands should they make a mistake. In the simulator, one learn from one mistakes but no lives are being lost.
Every airline has a different check profile but they would all include some of the mandatory exercises stipulated by their country's Civil Aviation Department or the Federal Aviation Administration in the US.
A sample of a Pilot's Check Flight would include the following:-
Aircraft Systems - full day Computer Base Training and tests.
Memory items on all Emergency procedures
Any latest amendments or procedures in flying
Line Orientation Flight Training
A simulated flight profile over a specific route with many emergencies thrown in to see how the pilot handle the situation.
Some of the mandatory exercises given include the following:-
Systems failures, example, hydraulics, electrical, navigation equipment, etc
Loss of pressurization caused by an explosion
Loss of an engine followed by a diversion
Landing Gears collapsed followed by passenger evacuation drills
Landings in severe wind shear or strong cross winds
Any other emergencies as and when the examiner feels that certain training are necessary
Certificate of Test
The mandatory checks would include:-
Aborted take off
Engine failure after take off
Single engine go around
Single engine landing
All Weather Operations (Automatic Landing Procedures) Check
Mandatory exercises would include the following:-
Aborted take off
Engine Failure after take off
Going around on single engine
Automatic landing in poor visibility with one engine
Co-pilot taking over controls when the Captain is incapacitated ( heart attack)
Instrument Rating Test
Test proficiency on the manual handling of the aircraft without the aid of the Auto Pilot with an engine failure and going around in poor weather.
Carry out an Instrument Approach using an Instrument Landing System in adverse weather.