I wish I could go to the simulator and be excited to learn new things and repeat knowledge, I wish I could see it for what it is supposed to be, a training session, a chance to learn and practice things that, ´Knock on Wood´ we will never have to experience in real life. But to tell you the truth, I get neverous at least a month before I have to jump into the ´panic box´
I have tried to come up with ways to make the simulator feel like a more joyful experience, but without sucess, if you have any tips, feel free to share, I appriciate it! It is not only the training itself but also that fact that it is a check, that it is graded and put into your records f o r e v e r. Knowing that you are being watched and judge on every single move you take, glancing at the instructor in the back taking notes and you wonder what you did wrong, and you will do wrong, you will forget the simplest little details you know you would never forget in real life, ´brain farts´ as my instructor expressed it.
Some exercises we practice on every simulator check, every six months, such as single engine, rejected takeoff, circling approach and other mandatory procedures that the authorities require from us, in addition, we get random surprises such as landing gear failure, pilot incapacitation, it can be just about anything.
I asked you on my Instagram @pilotmaria if you had any questions about a pilot’s ´Recurrent Training´ (this was meant to be specific about our simulator training and not the ´Initial Training´ but by the questions you sent me, I understand that you have a lot of questions about the initial training too, so I will answer them on a YouTube Q&A style video soon, make sure you subscribe to my Youtube to not miss out, youtube.com/pilotmaria)
@santiago_ottonello asked: `Do you have to study pre-sim session? As an active B737 pilot, are you “scared” or nervous about the TR revalidation, or is it just a normal procedure?
My answer: First of all, very good question, thank you so much Santiago. We get pre-study e-learning CBT style and exams that we need to do pre-sim. They take roughly 5 hours to complete, but it’s a lot of information so I try to spread it out over several days to make sure I don’t get over saturated with information. I am not scared for the check, I know I am capable of flying the aircraft but I do get nervous, I get nervous for every check and of course I always want to leave there with as good grades as possible so I always put a lot of pressure and effort into it.
@nishant.thakur_6129 asked: What is Recurrent training?
My answer: Every year we need to revalidate our type rating, show proficiency that we are capable of flying the airplane. They also have us fly procedures that we in everyday life wouldn’t fly just to make sure that we can fly them in the unlikely event that they would occur. It’s a training session in the simulator, but also a check.
@_nimigupta_ asked: In recurrent training, do the TRE/TRI follow a certain set of the pattern for the pilot’s simulator training, like engine failure scenario this time, and then hydraulics failure for the next recurrent training time, or they choose randomly any scenario?
My answer: Thank you so much for your question, it is a really good question so thanks to you so much for asking it. So, we have a few scenarios that we have to go through, that is a requirement on every check, such as engine failure, circling approach, non-precision approach, single engine approach flown manually, CAT III approach, go-arounds etc these things we do every six months. In addition we practice other scenarios flown in an `as real as possible´ scenario where the instructor can give us any failure, and most likely multiple of failures at the same time, it can be anything from hydraulic failures to flight control failures and electrical, we have no idea before, they want to see our ability to problem-solving and correct use of the checklists (only a very few checklists have memory item, all other failures must be done by checklist).
@wrongsomerights asked: What happens if you fail? Will you still be able to fly then?
My answer: No if you fail they will take you off the line, but you don´t lose your job, you will be given extra training until you, and the company feels comfortable and happy that you are up to standards. A fail doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you don’t know what you are doing, we all went through the same training, we all know how to fly the airplane, it can be as simple as having a bad day or nervosity getting the better of you.
@2shakyab asked: This time period, six months and one year is it regulations by your operator or by the authority?
My answer: The operations regulations require all pilots to complete an OPC (Operator Proficiency Check) every six months and the Aircrew Regulations require all pilots to complete an LPC (Licence Proficiency Check) every year. Every six month we do ´just´ an OPC (I still get as nervous for that too) and then every year we do an LPC plus OPC combined, that, the one that I just recently did. You can read more about it here: easa.com/training This is a direct link to the EASA regulations that I fly under, unfortunately, I can not answer for how it works in other parts of the world under different regulation, but I can imagine it works similarly.
@kalynn_willis asked: How do you prepare for a random simulator? Or do you know what will happen?
My answer: Some items are mandatory on every check, such an engine failure, go-arounds, CAT III, rejected takeoff, circling, non-precision approach to mention a few, so these I can prepare myself for. What I do, I sit at home, with my eyes closed and go through the procedures, all actions, memory items and call outs and say them out loud to myself. We also have an online course with an exam that we have to do before we go for our simulator check, on the online presentation you will see what systems they will be focusing on and I read extra about these systems in out manuals.
@robtribble asked: How many hours of simulator training is required every six months? Is your revalidation of you type rating done during a revenue flight, or special training flight, or in the simulator? How many hours for that?
My answer: Hi Rod! For the simulator each pilot has to do at least two hours each, so a minimum of four hours all together. The company I fly for schedule us for five hours in the simulator giving us an extra hour if there is something, in particular, we want to practice once the check is complete or if the instructor feels that he or she want us to do a particular exercise again. Our LPC (Licence Proficiency Check) is done every six months and that is to keep our type rating valid, this is done in the simulators since items such as engine failure on takeoff, missed approached for various reasons and other failures are mandatory, it is better to practice these in a simulator than in a real aircraft. In addition to our simulator training, we also have a minimum of one Line Check a year that is done in the aircraft, we fly three pilots on this particular day, the third pilot being a Line Training Captain, TRE or Check Pilot making sure that all our SOPs are in accordance with the company. I hope it helps, let me know if I didn’t answer your question in full.
Thank you all so much for sending your questions, I loved reading them and I hope I answered them for you.
Have an amazing week!