Tomorrow I’ll have to go for a simulator check again. I wrote a blog before that I’ve worked at a Simulator company before called CAE. I think that is a good way to start this blog by telling a little bit about this before I write about the check itself.
I worked as an operator for CAE a few years ago before I was type-rated on any aircraft. At CAE they had around about 15 different full flight simulators. The simulator is a one-on-one copy of the real aircraft cockpit but you are missing the passengers in the back. My work as an operator was to make sure every simulator was ready to use for the next flight crew. On each and every aircraft during the nightshift, we had to perform a basic flight. At some time I knew from every aircraft all 12 different ones. How to set them up for a flight. (like in the picture above)
After 2 years I was asked to do my type-rating on one of the aircraft, the Challenger300. You first start with theory and thereafter you are almost non-stop in the simulator. Also called the “box of terror”. This is where they teach you how to operate the aircraft, they show you everything this aircraft is able to do. Maybe not everything but a lot nevertheless. I finished after about 1 month I think. It was the heaviest course I’ve done so far. This is so much work in such a short period of time. But I made it. (about my flying history)
CAE let me do the type-rating to become a so-called Seat-support pilot on the Challenger 300. I was helping out pilots on their check rides if they didn’t bring a second person themself. I was happy because this simulator really gives you the feeling you are in the real thing. If you land hard in the simulator it could possibly really hurt you. I did around 300 hours on this machine and learned from every session I did with different persons. Experienced captains, first officers, and guys going for their examiner ratings.
After 1 year working there, I got hired by the company I still work for on the Challenger. As a commercial operator, you have to go into the simulator at least once a year. Our company does 2 times a year. Some operators even do 4 times a year. During these 2 day sessions, you have one day of training and one-day exam. But to be honest every session feels like an exam.
In the simulator, the instructors fail a lot of systems of the aircraft because it would be too dangerous to do it in the real aircraft. You do engine failures, fires, and many other problems you might be able to experience in real life. You hope to never have any of those problems but it might and that’s why you do it in the simulator.
You never really know the scenarios the examiner has thought off but the basics are always the same. “EVERYTHING BREAKS DOWN at a moment you won’t like it to fail.” that is how you can say it.
In the picture, you can see what the examiners have to do with you in your check-ride. the FFS means that it’s only in a FULL FLIGHT SIMULATOR and M means mandatory. This is an older form, but on this one, you have everything on 1 page that makes it easier.