Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Well, the firehose has been turned on high. In the last week and a half we have gone through how to do all the performance and weight and balance by hand, assuming there was a major computer failure. Normally these numbers come from dispatch via ACARS (a very cool system that works much like text messaging on a cell phone). We also covered weather radar and had someone who was a military pilot in another life come in and teach us about aerodynamics unique to high altitude flight, swept wing aircraft, and how do recover from unusual attitudes.

This week we have started systems. Yesterday and today was the start of this portion of the training where we covered EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System) which basically means "glass cockpit." I now realize that being an instructor on the G1000 glass cockpit was great experience and will help me immensely. The CRJ even uses a similar way of getting its air data as the G1000 - a solid state AHRS unit. We have also delved deep into how the AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) works operationally and integerates into the other systems. This is a long way to say "autopilot/flight director". Today was hydraulics and the landing gear system.

Along with all this material, we have started learning the FMS. The airline uses a computer simulator that shows the FMS, the PFD/MFD screens (the main flight instruments), and the autopilot. You can program the FMS like you would in real life based on the flight release, and have the autopilot fly it. The guy who teaches it is a real character that isn't afraid to say anything he wants. This is a good thing, because we need something to wake us up every morning.

Along with all this, has been the self study of flight profiles in the cockpit procedure trainer, the memory items from the checklists, and a whole slew of limitations. Tonight my sim partner and I were in the CPT (see above) and felt like we had just started the morning flight after a continuous duty overnight. For those that don't know the lingo, this is where your duty day starts the preceding night and you do not get a normal rest period between that night flight and the early morning one the next day. Also called a highspeed, this kind of trip is notorious for fatigue. After I finish this sentence, I'm going to sleep!

4 Comments:

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