Rant Air – Welcome Aboard!

Rant Air – Welcome Aboard! random header image

Almost there…

June 21st, 2005 · No Comments

Today is our checkride. Everyone says it’s a non-event, so I’m treating it as such…just a really stressful non-event.

All kidding aside, I’m actually pretty calm about the whole thing. Last night, our instructor told us both that if it were up to him, he’d check us out as Captains right now. I’m sure he was simply trying to pump us up a little bit for today’s event. Besides, that’d piss off a LOT of first officers who are senior to me and waiting to upgrade.

The checkride consists of an hour-and-a-half discussion about regs and limitations and systems (or not…depending upon the checkairman), followed by four hours in the simulator. In simulation, we’re expected to demonstrate knowledge and skill to the standards of an Airline Transport Pilot. All maneuvers must be flown to tolerances of +/- 5 degrees of heading, +/- 10 knots of airspeed, and +/- 50′ of altitude (if I remember all that crap correctly.) The maneuvers aren’t anything I’ve never seen before. Stuff like steep turns, stalls, a two-engine precision approach (ILS Approach), a two-engine non-precision approach (like this VOR Approach), and another ILS approach flown with one engine inoperative. Usually, to get the engine inoperative approach done, the instructor will first give us a V1 cut (where the engine is failed just prior to leaving the runway) and has us perform the appropriate procedures to secure the engine. Tucked somewhere in there, we might see an aborted takeoff or balked landing/go around. The instructor might even throw a few other small problems into the mix as well, just to see how we do with procedures. Things like failed generators come to mind for things like that.

What all the checkairmen look for (in addition to being able to fly the airplane) is a thorough understanding of limitations, procedures, and company philosophy. Each individual checkairman might look for other things like command-ability and proper resource management as well. All-in-all, this won’t be different from any other airline checkride I’ve taken over the last six years.

So I’m sitting here in a state of over-prepared non-stress.

What was it that Bill Cosby used to say?

“Riiiiiiiiiiiiight!”

*****

Tomorrow, we have our final session in the simulator. We’ll be doing what’s known as a LOFT (Line Oriented Flight Training). Basically, it’s a complete simulated flight between two Southwest destinations where we put all of our newly-acquired knowledge to use in as normal a way as possible. Everything from preflight inspections to the Terminating Checklist is done exactly as it would be done during a real flight. I think we’ll be flying between Kansas City and Chicago Midway. It should be interesting.

After that, it’s HOME on Thursday!!!!

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