Road to the Right Seat 28 – Instrument Rating
Story series: Road to the Right Seat
We've all had a crazy childhood dream and mine was becoming an airline pilot. Many young people who aspire a flying career are unaware of the content of flight training and the preparations which are needed. On November 23rd, 2015 I started my ATPL(A) training. Time to realize my childhood dream. I'd like to take you along on an adventure and I'll happily answer all your questions on the way. Let's do this!
March 5th, 2017 – Finally some flying! In February I had a lot of bad luck so I wasn’t making much progress, but the new month seems to have changed it. Another 13 missions to go and then it’s time to return to Belgium. But first, focus on getting the Instrument Rating!
The storm ‘Doris’ caused a lot of damage in the UK and western Europe at the end of February. Air traffic got into trouble as well because due to the strong wind, with some spectacular videos on the internet as a result. There was also a lot written in newspapers about a FlyBe incident where an aircraft had trouble on the runway just after landing in Amsterdam.
An incident always has multiple causes and that wasn’t less true here. The plane is known to have a fairly weak landing gear and in combination with the harsh weather conditions, it caused trouble. Either way, the damage was limited and no one was injured. Hats off to the pilots! The incident analysis in the AvHerald can be found here.
Here in Oxford, the wind speed rose to about 60 km/h with gusts up to 100 km/h. With those weather conditions you prefer to stay on the ground.
It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.
The real work
After a lot of flights in the simulator, I recently started the real work. Currently, I have six flights in my log of which three local flights and three cross-country flights (to Bristol, Cranfield and Cardiff). The scenery is a lot different from Arizona; no desert and high mountains, but green meadows and occasionally even the sea!
We are now also familiar with the true European weather and therefore also with icing conditions, turbulence and many other weather events. This way, almost every day, it is proven how unpredictable the weather can be and how important it is to be aware of the potential dangers.
But why are we actually flying to those different airports? We do this to practice different approaches. More specifically, the NDB and ILS approaches, for those familiar with the terms. If you want to read more about these systems, visit this link.
My instructor is absent for a few days, therefore I flew with someone else this morning. We took off at 8 o’clock in the morning with destination Cardiff, an airport in the south of the country. After a nice approach over the water, I got a simulated engine failure after which I had to divert to Gloucester. That airport is not far west of our home base.
Flying with another instructor is always a learning experience. I received a lot of good feedback today and some tips to remember during my next flights.
Another 13 missions to go and then the Instrument Rating is complete. Currently, it looks like I’ll be ready in early April, but everything depends on weather and planning, of course.
The end of our training is slowly but surely coming closer and that involves some extra work. When we graduate, we will have to look for a job as First Officer and that won’t be easy. Proper preparation is crucial when you want to win that first job.
Since the Instrument Rating is going a little slower than planned, there is still time left for some other things. Just think of a CV, writing a motivation letter and, of course, rehearsing the theoretical knowledge! The books we studied last year should not be left in the dust after passing the theoretical exams.
The interviews are currently not our greatest concern, but with a good preparation you are always a step ahead!
To close this blog post, I would like to share a video with some cool crosswind landings! Talk to you next time!
If you have any further questions about my training, feel free to leave a comment below. See you next week!
This story is part of the series Road to the Right Seat