Stay up-to-date on computer based (and living room based) pilot training from your living room during the COVID-19 pandemic
Pilot training is amazing. The typical classroom/simulator combo for a type rating is intense, but well worth it. We all walk out of there with our heads held high and our new type rating in our pocket ready to jump into a jet and show the world (and our boss) how much we’ve learned. But sometimes, there’s a snag in the plan.
Take my experience, for example. My company purchased a jet a few years ago and to save time, they sent me to school while it was in pre-buy – the boss didn’t want to waste any time waiting for me to get back from training before he could start flying it. I worked hard and passed everything and felt good when I walked out of there.
Everything was fresh and crisp and I couldn’t wait to fly the real deal when I got home. The problem was that I got home before the aircraft. I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Pre-buy was taking a little longer than we thought it would. In fact, there were so many issues with the pre-buy, that we almost backed out many times. There were arguments about who was going to pay for what and what really needed to be done vs. what could slide.
It was a mess.
And all the while, my sharpness and crispness, and brilliance as the master of the airplane was slipping away. But it gets better. While waiting for airplane #1, my boss bought another airplane. Yup, he got tired of waiting. This one was available right away with a minimal pre-buy. Back to training I went. And remember, I had never even sat in a real version of airplane #1.
It had been about 5 months since training for the first airplane so I was already unconsciously dumping a lot of training, but deep down inside I was desperately trying to hang on to as much of the training as I could. Anything. But with the new airplane, I had to start all over again. New limitations, emergency memory items, new electrical system, and on and on.
When I got back with the second type rating, the aircraft was there and we started flying right away – like it’s supposed to be. In the back of my mind though, that first airplane was haunting me – I didn’t even remember how to start the thing.
So I decided to be proactive and I got out my poster from class and taped it up on my wall. I got the books out and the checklists and the cheat sheet for limitations and I started flying the plane in my living room. I’d do the preflight checks and the after start checks. I’d taxi out and do the checklist. During the takeoff in my living room, sometimes I would have to abort because of a pillow on the runway or I’d lose an engine on climbout, for whatever reason. Sometimes it would even fail at rotation….imagine that.
Slowly, I started to feel more comfortable with the procedures and callouts and everything else that I had completely forgotten in the last 6 or so months. And when I finally did see the airplane for the first time, I could at least hold my own (of course I had an experienced pilot with me for the first few flights), but I didn’t embarrass myself too badly.
We all might be experiencing this same lack of proficiency in the coming months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flying has come to a screeching halt across most of the country and nobody knows when we might get back in the air again. Even those of you with thousands of hours in a particular airplane have the potential to get rusty. Just don’t get lazy! It’s easy to sit back and not think about everything that a pilot has to think about when he/she is flying on a regular basis. Do yourself a favor: Take any online training your company offers, get out your posters, your emergency procedures, and your manuals and review them as often as you can. Take some flights from your living room and read over your limitations in between the shows you’re binge watching on Netflix.
Remember that CTS training can be done anywhere you have the internet. Our customer service and customer support teams are working to ensure you continue to have the great CTS experience you rely on. Bring your pilot training classroom home and do your best to stay in the game. When the “all clear” for takeoff comes, you’ll be glad you did.