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 www.smartcockpit.com 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 Just be careful that some information may be out of date, but it will really put you way ahead in the learning curve.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!!