First Jet Type Rating

Whether you are flying a VLJ (very light jet) or Light Jet… or a high performance warbird, consider the importance of your initial training, type rating and core risk mitigation skills. You’ve jumped into a machine that requires either military or professional level training.

No matter what your jet, if it is your first, odds are you will want some extra preparation before traveling to your first full motion simulator based training, check ride and type rating.

Know The Facts

  • Failure rate: 30% to 50% of new type rating applicants who have never flown professionally or in a high performance aircraft experience check ride failures.
  • The basics: IFR preparation is typically a culprit – in the simulator you will regularly fly to minimums, execute a go around / missed approach and you’ll do that on one engine. If your IFR skills aren’t tip top – it is a difficult experience. Attitude flying, holds, instrument departures (either ODPs or SIDs), arrivals need to be second nature.
  • The glass: A young CFI who just got out of a G1000 Cessna 172 can fare better than a 10,000 DC-9 Captain raised on steam gauges. Sound crazy? It isn’t. Knowing how to manage a PFD and an MFD with ease while hand flying is a key skill. Know what the automation is doing, why it is doing it and what’s coming next on the “score board.”
  • New things: To the unfamiliar, jet aircraft require a thorough understanding of profiles (how you’ll fly), flows (how you’ll accomplish pre-checklists), memory items (things you’ll do before reaching for a checklist) and knowing the difference between a checklist and a QRH – quick reference handbook.
  • The tough things: Learning that while you are in a high pressure environment, there is actually plenty of time to accomplish tasks, especially during emergencies. Being able to manage check ride anxiety, needless future-izing and other counter productive tendencies get new pilots through the ride smoothly.

Mentoring Onsite – Post Rating

Insurance companies are increasingly reluctant to set new owners free without a substantial amount of time in type and that means SOE – supervised operational experience. The key in hiring a professional jet mentor is leveraging what matters most:

  • Much like your IFR rating, what is legal, isn’t necessarily safe.
  • Understand CRM with two and when it is just you. Either way having good cockpit “feng shui” as we call it, helps you understand how it all fits together.
  • Learn the hazards and challenges of visual approaches in the real aircraft – you’ll be doing these a lot – why not master them?
  • Learning the box – sit with pros who have thousands of FMS hours of various flavors, be it Garmin, Honeywell, or Universal – odds are that our mentors have a few tricks to help you leverage the full computing power at your disposal.

Schedule a time with your next type rating instructor and mentor here.

*The content of this page was compiled with the help of Neil Singer, is a Phenom 100 and 300 examiner, and Citation Jet 525 series mentor and instructor.

Mentor Mortis (Part 1 of 3)

As you read the accident report, try and accept the fact that a mere 22 years ago, pilots often did things that were questionable at best.  To keep the job, to get your foot in the door, or to conform to norms in your company and culture you did silly stuff.  Never mind the customized approach to that god forsaken airstrip that you’d been sent to, you’d succumb to things that, technically, may not have been on the up and up with the FARs.

What is even more striking is that all of this “off script” behavior was rarely the stuff that got you hurt.  What killed my teachers, was a lack of simple risk mitigation, awareness, and plain old decision making that got the swiss cheese holes to line up.  In aviation we recognize that it is a series of things that typically lead to an accident.  Our job, to live and be safe, is to constantly be thinking the stacking of bad, vs. the stacking of good. (I wrote about this once upon a time for the turbine crowd here.)

This story is about the day I stopped flying, sometime in 2001, when enough of my mentors had died that I thought, at a minimum, I could take some time off to reflect.  I should take a good luck at my own suspect judgement, sub-par skill set and poor choices in equipment, destinations and jobs to fly.

Mostly, it was time to give thanks for the large scoops of good luck that had fallen on me in years where I was doing the riskiest stuff.

Continue reading Mentor Mortis (Part 1 of 3)

Buy Learn Fly

Some new or aspiring pilots know what they want: Big tires, a tailwheel and being “off airport” just as much as “on airport.”  If you land on the water, or are a helicopter, you’ll get used to the tower saying “land at your own risk.”  This is music to the ears of those who chose a slightly unconventional learning path.

What do you seek? (In your aviation dreams?)

The cookie cutter flight school program? Or do you value critical skills early on that are often not taught until you fly your first seaplane or gravel bar landing tundra tired Super Cub?

It wasn’t too long ago that we all learned to fly a tail dragger in a field somewhere near a bigger airport.  Most also turned out to be really good pilots for the simple reason that they had to use their feet (i.e. rudder) and an intuitive connection and approach to much of their flying.  Just ask Sully.

Continue reading Buy Learn Fly