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Training "Big" aircraft pilots in "little" planes...

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Training "Big" aircraft pilots in "little" planes...

Old 20th Jul 2015, 20:48
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Do not be scornful, DAR, of "long expired PPL training handling skills from the first days as a pilot!"

Primacy. What you learn at the very beginning when you were a teenage erk in ATC, that is still engraved on your brain at the deepest level and will still be there quite possibly to save your butt in much later flying life. All the time in teaching gliding, my typical student was somebody just retired, who yearned to regain his youth, and was surprised and delighted to find those first lessons were still available, the skill of flying had been dormant for years but still there, by gum, even with an old chap in his seventies! who ended up doing stalls and spins in a K8 glider (solo, as there is only one seat in that model) from a 5,000 airtow down to 500 feet, just to celebrate the joy that he could still do it!

I am currently reading a book much praised by reviewers, called Skyfaring, by Mark Vanhoenacker, who gave up a career in business to do his ATPL training at Kidlington, Oxford Airport. He then flew as first officer in an Airbus on shorthaul, then as first officer in transworld flights in a 747.

He remembers his instructor telling him to enjoy his last solo flight, because unless you later decide to fly privately, YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN IN YOUR LIFE BE ALONE ON AN AEROPLANE. .....commercial jetlines do not have two pilots merely for redundancy. Everything about how they are designed and operated assumes the presence of two pilots."

How sad. And yet even though you always have another pilot sat next to you, chances are that rostering practice almost never permits aircrew to form teams and get to really know each other.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 21:26
  #22 (permalink)  
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Yes, Mary.... In my youth, I was a co pilot on Aztec, and then Cheyenne, with either of two Captains. Each plane was a single pilot operation, but they were both happy to have me along, particularly on long hauls, and with a positioning flight. We formed excellent teams, and I have great recollections of those days. I learned a lot, and helped a little (including saving a PT-6 from self destruction once, which made everyone smile). But I got away from being a crew member, and reverted to solo flying. Indeed most of the GA modification approval flight testing I do is solo, other than the occasional time I'm not type qualified, or cannot be insured.

On about half of those occasions, I'll find myself flying with a "company" pilot, whole emulates the "big plane" philosophy. In my earlier days, my briefings were poor, and the result would be cockpit confusion, as I was deliberately entering a stall, and company pilot was getting REALLY nervous, as he had not stalled a plane in years. My briefings got a lot better - fast!

But still, I found that generally, I was flying with professional pilots who were somewhere between uneasy and truly alarmed with me flying the plane wholly inside its limitations, other than test to 1.1 of Vne, and sometimes spins. It un nerved me that professional pilot was uneasy about any flying of an aircraft they were seemingly qualified to fly, and I had to for approval requirements. This extended right back to several different flights in 172's where I declared I would spin the plane to the great dismay of the company pilot.

I opine that no pilot should be uneasy about spinning a 172, when that spin is purposefully entered, as a part of a flight test program! I then found myself managing the recovery of the plane, and the other pilot! So now I Usually go alone...

For those pilots I do fly with, I see the ball wandering all over the slip indicator, assigned speeds or attitudes not well controlled, and asymmetry not well managed. I'm not super pilot, particularly, as I might not have flown that type before, I expect the "company" pilot to be at ease with these things, and a part of their base skills, but it is not that way as often as I would like to see....

The "big airplane" environment - even with the company 172, does not seem to be demanding nor supporting the maintenance of complete basic flying skills in pilots. The skill will return when I remind them [to step on the ball], but it should be instinctive....
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