Today marked our last full day of ground school… and what a relief it was to reach that milestone!
The morning was spent reviewing a few specific systems in detail. After lunch the instructor took turns calling each of us up to the front to teach one of the aircraft’s systems to the rest of the class. I’ve always said you don’t really know a subject until you have to teach it to someone else, and boy was I right. After each system was explained, the student/teacher would ask the rest of us various questions. Or we would ask him. I taught the ice & rain protection systems to the class and embarrassingly forgot what the SAT/TAS probe inlet looked like.
Once that was done, we watched a 20 minute video on ILS-PRM (a system for simultaneous parallel approaches to closely spaced runways). Then came a video demonstrating an exterior preflight of the Gulfstream IV. We’d seen in on day 1 of training, but now we’re going to have to explain it on the checkride, and there is a LOT of stuff to check on that walk around. As I understand it, on the checkride oral, the video is played with the sound off, and we have to narrate the items to be checked. That’s about the best you can do without having an actual jet on the premises. I will have to spend some time in the library reviewing that video, because at the moment I doubt I could do more than about 10% of it.
The last hour or two was a mock oral exam. The instructor peppered each of us questions we’re likely to get on the checkride. We must be doing okay, because most things were answered correctly. The best approach to the oral exam seems to be to treat it like a legal deposition. You answer the question, but don’t provide additional information. Any additional detail is just an opportunity to dig yourself into a hole. The examiner will certainly know more about the airplane that you do.
In fact, in a week and a half of ground school, there were only two or three questions the instructor wasn’t able to answer off the top of his head. They have a reserved portion of the whiteboard for unanswered questions which require further research. They call it “the parking lot”. One parking lot question concerned which electrical bus powers the EPMP panel on the overhead console. I believe it turned out to be the left main AC bus. But to even get that answer, the instructor had to go to the folks who teach Gulfstream maintenance classes, and even they didn’t know. It took 20 minutes of pouring over schematics to figure it out.
Class ended around 4:30 p.m., and we adjourned to the cockpit trainers to work on flows, checklists, and button-pushing. We’ll be in the simulator tomorrow and I’ve got to memorize the call-outs for normal takeoffs, go arounds, V1 cuts, and single engine missed approaches. Those are all time-sensitive — especially the two-engine missed approach, because the aircraft climbs so quickly that you’ll blow through a missed approach altitude assignment within a few seconds unless you get the airplane configured and programmed in an expeditious manner.
By 6:00 I hit the wall and simply couldn’t do any more. My sleep patterns haven’t been the best, and I’m a little concerned about getting sick. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if that happened, I suppose, but it’d definitely be a strike against me as there’d be no way to just “take time off”. Once you pull the rip cord on this kind of program, it’s sink or swim.