This 21-day program is rapidly coming (careening?) to a close. As it does so, the teaching stops and the testing begins. The Big One, the checkride, is in two days. To prepare for it, the schedule calls for a two-day dress rehearsal which ideally gives us a chance to see what the checkride will look like, and ensures our instructor that we are ready to undergo the examination.
We had another new guy with us in the sim today. I’ve officially lost count of how many instructors we’ve had since day one. Our class must have seen at least 10 of them, all told.
The day began with a three hour mock oral exam. The instructor didn’t mess around — there was no introduction, no “Hi, my name is…”, no nothing. He literally walked in, dropped a packet of performance data and weight & balance numbers on the desk for us to chew on, and sat down to wait for us to do it. That took a solid hour.
The next two were a series of questions on systems, limitations, scenarios, and so on. I wasn’t expecting a break today, but we got an hour off for lunch. After that, it was a half hour briefing, then into the sim to run through all the normal procedures, airwork, and approaches, including the dreaded no-flap approach, which for some reason we flew from the right seat this time. I noted that this was the first approach I’d done from the right seat in the G-IV, but after thinking about it, I’ve made at least two in the actual jet. I’ve done plenty of right seat flying in the King Air and dozens of other airplanes as a CFI, as well. It was a total non-event.
I flew better than my sim partner did today, but I think part of that was my fault. I screwed him up accidentally on his steep turns by spending too long fiddling with the power levers, so much so that I missed an important call out. Also, he got a raw deal on his no-flap landing because the VNAV profile we’d programmed into the FMS disappeared for no apparent reason. We’d been warned about this “sim-ism”, but hadn’t seen it until now. After five hours in the box, we debriefed with our instructor (who we apparently won’t see again) and then retired to a local restaurant to review some of the performance calculations we’d had trouble with.
Tomorrow should be a shorter day, only 6-7 hours. The checkride day itself is quite long, about 10-11 hours depending on how things go. Our start time for the big day isn’t until 10 a.m. Our classmates, however, drew the short straw and their session starts at 5:00 a.m.