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Glass Cockpit introduction in type ratings.

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Glass Cockpit introduction in type ratings.

Old 19th Dec 2010, 03:26
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Glass Cockpit introduction in type ratings.

Imagine your student has never flown a glass cockpit aircraft and also this is his first experience in a full flight simulator after completing CBT. He lines up for take off and actuates the TOGA button. After that,things happen fast for someone who has just graduated with a CPL and is now undergoing a type rating on a 737/A320 or similar. Maybe the last few months have been on a Duchess or Seminole and now he has a job as an airline first officer if he can just pass this type rating course .

From the simulator instructor point of view,the question arises of how to best introduce glass cockpit flying with all its bells, whistles and automatics and not forgetting the seductive and ever so compelling flight director. Fly the bloody flight director, is an oft-heard mantra in the simulator.

One instructor may favour starting from scratch by saying this is a twin engine jet with two throttles and wing mounted under-slung engines. It has a powerful stabiliser trim system and the flaps extend slowly at first. It goes like the clappers so you need to be ahead of it. Never operated a jet engine before? Well let's learn how to fly the aeroplane properly by hand before we start on using the automatics.

Perhaps the student should make his first few take off's without a flight director and autothrottle and learn basic flying manoeuvres such attitude flying, while climbing, descending, and straight and level, all at varying airspeeds to get used to the pitch changes with power changes. Soon after we can fly circuits and landings and a few ILS - all without automatics. Perhaps a brief introduction to asymmetric handling.

And then by session two or three the big day arrives when the automatics are introduced one by one. Our student has now learned to crawl before he learns to walk. And if he makes an initial mess of the automatics at least he will have already mastered the basic handling skills to seamlessly resort to manual flight until the problem is sorted.

Another sim instructor may not be keen on that method of training a new airline pilot. He might prefer to throw the student into the deep end, with an eye on the costs involved with a simulator syllabus where the aim is to graduate with a type rating and be fully right up with operating the automatics. After all, the rest of his life will probably be on automatics and good automatics skills will generally keep you out of trouble in the first place. Therefore, the argument goes, hit the student with the importance of button pressing skills, right from his first simulator session. Leave the hand flying to minimum legislative requirements.

Where the company type rating syllabus is strictly regulated to the teaching of automatics from the first simulator session, then an instructor has little choice. On the other hand,,some operators allow a certain amount of leeway on training technique, as long as the student completes the type rating within a set number of sessions.

From the students point of view, which would you prefer. A session or two of basic jet handling with no automatic features until proficient? Or straight into the autothrottles, flight directors, autopilot, autobrakes and map mode?

And finally, in your opinion, which technique offers the greatest confidence builder in the student?

Last edited by Tee Emm; 19th Dec 2010 at 04:00.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 13:10
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Imagine your student has never flown a glass cockpit aircraft and also this is his first experience in a full flight simulator after completing CBT.
On the A320... a brand-new CPL would first do a 15-day course including 8 simulator sessions and lots of ground school.. then start the actual Type-Rating course.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 13:18
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The first syllabus is a JOC (Jet Orientation Course) the second one is a short type rating.

My first type rating (with CAE Burgess Hill ) was taught purely as a type rating as very few people go onto this aircraft without prior experience on twin engined jets. As a complete newbie it was too much for me, but thanks to some very talented and patient instructors I passed first time.

I would have preferred to do a little more handling but there was only a finite amount of sim time available. Unfortunately a type rating is just that, it teaches you how to operate the aircraft and the finer points of its handling characteristics. A JOC is there to teach jet handling etc. This can be taught in the MCC, or it could be taught in the TR. It all depends on what sort of students will be attending the course.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 16:07
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JOC Mandatory

Welliewanger,

I know that the MCC mandated under JAR-FCL - what about JOC?

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Old 19th Dec 2010, 16:49
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Absolute no brainer imho, I'd take the real flying, and wish I'd been offered the opportunity to do so at that stage. After all if one was to model those options in a hierarchical way then raw data, unassisted flying would be the foundation for the flight directors then lastly autopilot/autothrottle. I'm under the impression that Sabena used to teach their students this way not only in the sim but that philosophy followed through into line training. Having flown with a few ex-Sabena guys now I've noticed their hand flying skills are excellent pretty much without exception.
The other factor to consider is for someone straight out of CPL/IR/MCC training, chances are their instrument scan is going to be $hit hot and so they'll be best placed to fly everything on the needles than at any other time in their career. That'll give them the best chance of developing a 300 knot brain if they're not thinking about how to fly.
Back to the real world now and the accountants tend to demand the lowest short term cost. Can't see it happening in today's environment unless you're fortunate enough to have someone that listens to and understands your opinion and also controls the purse strings. What slightly baffles me is that, arguably we're on the fringe of failure of our trusted automation centred teaching styles (ref various recent issues/articles re manual flying standards in the wider world), why isn't someone willing to give the alternative a shot, can it really be that much worse?
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 01:55
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@ Port strobe:
I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately as long as extra training costs more than a crash, we won't get any extra training.

@ 4dogs:
I don't know the current law but when I qualified (2007) the MCC was mandatory but JOC was considered an expensive luxury.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 03:23
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From the simulator instructor point of view,the question arises of how to best introduce glass cockpit flying with all its bells, whistles and automatics and not forgetting the seductive and ever so compelling flight director. Fly the bloody flight director, is an oft-heard mantra in the simulator.
I don't think such a TR is particuarly difficult for any competant pilot, regardless of experienc, but I would have thought a session of general handling in the FFS would work wonders.

With regards to automation, we spent an excellent day behind a PC on the Aerosim FMC trainer.

With regards to the pace of the aircraft, sure you need to get used to a lot of new stuff and pull it altogether but this ability is quickly learned during the fixed base sessions.

Adding together the CBT, Aerosim PCATD and fixed base procedure trainer, the student shouldn't need much more than basic general handling the FFS.

As someone who started his TR, minimal hours and no glass experience at all, neither the pace, nor automation presented a particular challenge and I don't think trainers should be afraid getting stuck into the meat of the FFS training with well prepped students regardless of experience.

The amount of information one had to digest was another matter.
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Old 21st Dec 2010, 14:14
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Sciolistes,
How long was your TR? Some courses are longer than others (for the same aircraft) and include more sim time. These are aimed at the fresh fATPL holders like you and I were when we did our ratings.
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Old 21st Dec 2010, 16:34
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Is a jet really that fast? If you want to fly a jet low level in a pattern with light aircraft, then you do have to be a bit slick, but you don't learn to do that even in a light single from day one. Your first clutch of the light aircraft is normally in the training area after the instructor has taken off and flown it there. Recently I converted to the Embraer 170/190 and in our own TQ program there is only 18 hours of self study before getting into the sim. Fire it up, taxi it around a bit and whoosh, off you go. Plug in the autopilot and see how that works. Let's face it, there aren't that many functions - there are more in a web browser. At a safe height, fly by hand and make a few approaches. With appropriate instruction, there is no problem in taking this method. The E170/190 is also considerably more complicated to operate than the Fokker 70/100, my previous type. My understanding is that very few people, including 250 hour newbies, find this approach difficult on either type. It's just a matter of having instructors who are up to the task and a properly written TQ program which doesn't insist on excellence from day one. And we have eight, four hour sessions in the sim before the test.

Our particular method is to get right into the autopilot (AFCAS) and introduce manual flying when you have something to hang your hat on. When you understand the displays, then you can get the information to enable you to hand fly. As this is happening, you introduce FMS functions (LNAV) functions before moving on to failures.

If there is a failing in glass cockpit tuition, may I suggest that it is in not making the trainees "mode aware". Once you can see the active mode, can see the armed mode and know when it will change you will be ahead of the plane. And may I also suggest that the biggest hurdle for your guys might be that they are now flying as a part of multi-crew operation instead of single pilot.

And finally, in your opinion, which technique offers the greatest confidence builder in the student?
Just the confidence that they can get it wrong, learn from it and give it another go.

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Old 21st Dec 2010, 19:11
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Welie,

40 hours, 5 fixed base and 5 FFS sessions preceeded by two weeks of ground school.
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