Mar 202012

The best description of what it feels like when you get a type rating is this:  It feels like you’re trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose!

When you go through a type rating class, nothing else exists.  Your family doesn’t exist, you’re boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t exist, your friends don’t exist.  You barely have time to feed yourself, never mind do laundry, clean house, or take care of any kids.  In fact, many pilots leave town to go to a Part 142 flight training facility.  This actually works to their advantage because they can stay in a hotel with no distractions, and where they don’t have to cook or clean.

The first week or two of type rating school is studying airplane systems, limitations, checklists, and procedures.  The full motion simulator portion comes at the end – usually the last week of training.  There is a ton of information to memorize and a lot of airplane systems to understand.

The more you can prepare in advance, the better off you’ll be.  If you know you’re going to get a type rating, you should try to read up on the airplane systems ahead of time so that you can concentrate on checklist, flows, and procedures (normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures) while you’re in school.  Try to get your hands on the aircraft’s flight manual.  If you can’t, go to where you can read up on systems.  Just be careful that some information may be out of date, but it will really put you way ahead in the learning curve.

I have found that the more I understand the systems of an airplane, the easier it is for me to learn flows and procedures because they will make sense to me instead of just pushing buttons or flipping switches out of pure rote memorization.

When you’re done with the course, it will feel AMAZING!  This is especially true if you did well – so, study hard and don’t be afraid to ask questions!!

 Posted by at 11:34 AM
Mar 052012
Photo courtesy of AviationNews.EU

I’m so psyched to tell you that I just flew a gorgeous Boeing 737NG for the first time as a pilot!  It was such an unbelievable experience.  This is the first time I ever flew a jet airplane too and it’s so much better than I ever expected.  Wow!

With 26,000 lbs of thrust on each General Electric engine, it was an amazing feeling accelerating down the runway.  I saw the runway centerline stripes speeding under the nose of the airplane and it felt so surreal!  Time suddenly slowed down – you know like when something incredible happens.  I remember thinking “No way, I can’t believe I’m doing this!  This can’t be happening!”  I felt like laughing out loud, but I didn’t (at least not until after takeoff).  The captain’s voice suddenly brought me back to reality when he called out  ”80 Knots”.  I replied, “Checked”.  I couldn’t believe I was saying that word – coming out of my mouth, because that meant I was the one doing the takeoff.

The rest of the flight seemed like an out-of-body experience.  I could see myself performing all the actions necessary to fly the airplane, especially during approach and landing after the autopilot comes off.  I made all the right callouts, managed the speed, and configured the airplane, but it didn’t feel like it was me doing all that – how did I know to do all that stuff at the right time?

I had obtained my type rating a month before and it was such a great experience!   I used to think, wow there’s so much stuff to know, how am I going to remember all this!  But, I did remember everything ;-D

This experience alone has made everything so worthwhile.  All that hard work!  All those student loans, holding two-three jobs, volunteering at the Civil Air Patrol to get flight time, flight instructing after my normal job.  It’s been a wild ride for sure!

I just wanted to share this story with my readers as an inspiration to work hard and pursue your dreams.  Take whatever passion you have and run with it!

If you have any questions for me, I would LOVE to hear from you.  Email me at [email protected] or leave a comment below!


 Posted by at 12:04 AM