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Need seasoned opinions on sim

Old 07-19-2008, 07:28 AM
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Default Need seasoned opinions on sim

I am with a regional and just went through my first FO recurrent. I flew through the oral, but struggled with the sim. In the end, I did pass, so I must have done something right.

However, the check airman ripped me up pretty good and in so many words told me that I should relish every paycheck the company gives me because my flying skills aren't worth crap. He didn't say it would always be that way and sort of attributed it to being new still.

First off, its different when you fly the sim everyday like these guys do. The sim doesn't fly like the airplane, it doesn't even feel like the airplane. Its also 5 times as sensitive. So, that is the first problem after 800 hours of flying a 50,000lb actual airplane, vs. a computer program.

Secondly, I haven't done 90% of what we did in the sim since I was last in the sim a year ago. How do you practice V1 cuts on the line? How about single engine approaches? I haven't even done a go around for real on the line yet. Stalls, steep turns? How am I supposed to practice this stuff out there?

I do my job and I feel I do it well, commensurate with the experience that I have (1,500 hours or so). Every captain I fly with tells me that I do a good job, etc.

Yet, in the sim, I walk out feeling like I should just hang up my hat and toss my licenses in the trash.

Does it get easier the more sim flying you do? How do you prep for these sim profiles that you NEVER do online? I can "armchair" fly all day, but it doesn't really help in the actual sim.

Last edited by bryris; 07-19-2008 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:53 AM
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after a few times going in and out of the sim, this would be my advice. study hard over the flows and profiles that you dont' regularlly see, even brush up on the ones you do, as you may have changed some things flying the line, and doing it to the book standards will make it a little easier for your interaction with the check-airmen (remember, these guys rarely fly the line....most would be freaking out if they did). Besides that stuff, there's not a whole lot of good ways (i know of) to keep up on all the unusual sim stuff you do, besides chair flying it. Try your best to be really easy on the controls, remember the sim only takes a touch of anything, use fingertips as opposed to whole hands, etc...and all should work out fine. Also keep in mind, you've done this before, you'll do it again, and you passed well enough to make it to the line. These guys know that you have the skills to keep flying, even though sometimes they might belittle you about what they think you're lacking....but put most of em out there surrounded by weather, shooting an ILS to mins, with a max crosswind, to a snow covered runway, and their pucker factor might actually be higher than yours....cheer up, and keep flying.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:59 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it. As long as your know all the proper profiles and maneuver setups.

Most places should give you a warm up sim, which helps a ton. Regionals tend to be cheap and not give warm up sims..

BTW, which company?
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:09 AM
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Like you said, it's a computer. Think of it as such and fly like it's a video game, no feel or "Seat of the pants".

See if you can get a gouge on settings for the sim you fly. For example - Pitch attitude for steep turns and V1 cuts. Power settings also. Every sim I have flown, if you set "x" N1 (737), or EPR (75/76), or FF (727), and then nail the pitch, your steep turns will come out +/- 20' everytime.

Same apllies to most other maneuvers. If nothing else, the sim is very consistent.
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:28 AM
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For the pay that regional FO's get they are lucky enough that you have a pulse. Having said that I am sure that you weren't that bad since you passed. If you study the flows and procedures then you 80% done, so make sure you go into the sim with everything memorized. Good luck next time.
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:28 AM
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Chair fly your maneuvers several days prior to the sim, complete with standard callouts and memory items, until they become 2nd nature. Don't do this in public though or men in white coats might cart you off somewhere....
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:44 AM
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Spent A LOT (probably too much) of time instructing in the sim and aircraft in a previous life, here are some tips I learned over the years:

Know procedures cold. You don't do this stuff very often, so you don't have time to struggle with recalling what to do. But you know this already.

Now on to flying the sim. I'll elaborate on what chucky said above about setting pitch and power. We use to emphasize what we called "Control/performance" flying. (i.e. set the control instruments--ADI and thrust--and crosscheck the A/S, alt, VVI, ect.) My guess is that you slipped into Performance/performace flying and have picked up some bad habits like justt pulling the power back while starting down on glideslope and them modulating the throttles to maintain airspeed. (I've seen this happen to VERY senior experienced people, so it's not a "new guy" thing.) One can often do that in the jet because of the other seat of the pants cues (sound, feel, etc) that aren't present in the sim.

How to get better in the sim: Practice setting a specific power setting on final/cruise. Hook up the auto pilot for CRS/CS and manually set the power. Imagine you are giving directions to someone else whos flying (i.e "I see you're10 knots fast...set 52%") Do the same with pitch: "1/2 dot high...lower your pitch 1 degree," and course: "1/2 dot left, fly heading 127 to correct back to course."

Of course those were random numbers for example. But youget the idea.
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:49 AM
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All good info. It was your first one, you'll do fine from here on out. I too "chair-fly" and heavily study/review the profiles and procedures starting about a month or so before the ride.
fbh
P.S. Pay no attention to anyone who only "flies" the sim.
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:59 AM
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1. Chair fly

2. Know the profiles, callouts, and procedures stone cold. I put them on the iPod and listen to them ad nausem 1 week prior to sim-time.

3. Ask the sim jockeys for power/pitch settings. It works for them, it will work for everyone.

There are no surprises in the sim . . . unlike the real airplane. It's all a head game anyway . . . easy to say, hard to make your head believe sometimes. The more of these you do over your career, the more they become routine, just like anything else.
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bryris View Post
However, the check airman ripped me up pretty good and in so many words told me that I should relish every paycheck the company gives me because my flying skills aren't worth crap.
Bryris, first let me say attitudes like this shouldn't be tolerated. If the sim instructor thought you weren't up to speed he should have failed you and given you some constructive critique and extra sim sessions. If he thought you were OK with room for improvement (which is apparently what he thought), he should have offered constructive criticism and sent you on your way. In no case is belittling someone acceptable. You should inform the head of your training department about this instructor and tell them what happened. I'll bet it's not the first time they've received complaints about this instructor and you owe it to your fellow pilots to speak up. I say that with the assumption you showed up well prepared for the ride.

How do you prep for these sim profiles that you NEVER do online? I can "armchair" fly all day, but it doesn't really help in the actual sim.
There's some very good advice on this thread. Personally, every time I drive to work I mentally review all of my callouts for different situations, V1 cut, including what checklists to call for, handling the FAs, ATC, company, PAs, single engine missed approach, all immediate action memory items, windshear, RTO, CFIT recovery, non precision approach procedures, monitored approach procedures including two engine MA, and what I'm going to do if I lose an engine or pressurization at altitude. It sounds like a lot, but it only takes about 15-20 minutes. Aside from having your callouts and profiles down cold, know the basic pitch and power settings for different configurations (250 KIAS and minimum clean level, landing config on final, SE and two engine GA, etc.) Those might be available if you have a "Flight With Unreliable Airspeed" section in your FM. Having basic pitch/power settings to get you in the ballpark help until you get your fine tuning down.
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