CS2 & CS3
The last few days have been really tiring & challenging – not only due to the early starts, but also because of the amount of new procedures to learn for each simulator session. We’ve all found that we require a nap as soon as we’ve had lunch and get back! And then once awake again, there’s plenty of work to do and by the time we’ve managed to finish, it’s late and we’ve just about managed to get enough sleep to function the next day. It did get easier though, as I got used to waking up early and exercising good time management.
The learning curve does seem to be steep, but we’ve been spending plenty of time in the paper tigers and working together as a crew to progress quickly. There are quite a few memory items that we’ve had to learn – which are scan flows (memory items which we have to learn to do in a particular order), such as for before engine start, after engine start, before take off, after take off, landing, taxi, shut-down and securing the aircraft. There will be more to learn for the non-normal procedures such as engine failures and fires. In addition to using paper mock-ups of the flight deck and touch drills on the procedural trainer, we’ve also employed flight simulator (which my simulator partner has installed on his computer) as a training tool. We’ve been using the PMDG 737-800 – it’s not a perfect simulation, but it is one of the better ones out there.
CS2 (the second) session involved procedures from preflight & start up to cruise, and we even had time for some descent procedures, which was in addition to the syllabus. Things move really fast once you’re on your take-off roll, so it’s important to keep ahead of the aircraft and get all the calls in. We operate a “sterile flight deck” from start to reaching cruise altitude, and then from start of descent to parking at the gate. This means that only essential language required for the operation of the flight, according to the SOPs, is used. CS3 involved a complete flight to landing. Every session is allocated 2 hours, however we’re doing more in each session as we progress, which means that we have to become faster and faster with the procedures as we progress. The next session will involve go-around procedures as well. This is when the aircraft is set up to climb back up to a missed approach altitude, after an unsuccessful approach, which could be, amongst many factors, due to weather, incorrect configuration or an unstabilised approach.