View our aviation books
canaero - Canadian aviation history

FlightSafety Dash 8 training page 3

report by neil macdougall

Incidentally, we learned about older pressurized aircraft. A student said that flight attendants use wet Kleenex to seal leaks in his company’s Fokker F-27. The plane is certified to 25,000 feet, but it leaks at about 21,000 feet.

Each course is customized for the participants, who may operate at 40°C or whose companies may have ordered options like long-range tanks, EFIS, TCAS, fire bells or a specific flight director. Pilots are encouraged to use their own company’s checklists in the simulator.

In my course, two hours each afternoon were allotted to digital video trainers (DVTs). These computers provide interactive, self-paced training and keep track of your progress. Fail to answer a question correctly, and you receive a review of the problem section. Split touch-screens enable you to actuate the landing gear handle, for example, while watching advisory lights come on, the landing gear move and the hydraulic system diagram burp. This marvellous technology got mixed reviews from students. Changing screens took 13 to 17 seconds, a long time when you knew that only 14 hours of class time were scheduled for the 20-hour course.

The program’s authors added some much-needed levity. One multiple-choice question was, “The ailerons and elevators are controlled (a) mechanically, (b) hydraulically or (c) spiritually.” A possible answer to another question was, “Hydraulic fluid is best on the rocks.”

Students often worked on the DVTs until 6:30 p.m. or later and wore out their instrument panel poster in their hotel or home after hours. Keen types could borrow videos on flight safety.

To prepare us for the simulator, two hours a day were devoted to a cockpit procedures mock-up (CPM). This was a full-sized wooden model of the cockpit, with a photo of all instruments, switches and circuit breakers in the proper place. Paired as crews, we took turns doing the cockpit preparation, a check of over 90 switches and instruments. For example, the airspeed indicator had to read between 20 and 30 knots on the ground while the “barber pole” (which indicated maximum operating airspeed) showed 242 knots. Done by memory in a standard order, the check included numerous built-in tests. For example, the battery temperature monitor required three tests, each of which had to give certain indications. You used a tiny button on each of 10 engine instruments to test both digital and analog readings.

Parking brake pressures, hydraulic quantities, oxygen pressure, rpm settings and countless other numbers filled our minds like the snow in a plastic paperweight. Was minimum hydraulic pressure 1,500, or was that parking brake pressure or takeoff revs? In fact, maximum revs for takeoff are only 1,200, something Cessna 185 pilots might yearn for when operating from lakes surrounded by cottagers.

From behind the cockpit mock-up, Lopi watched our slow, fumbling progress. On Day 3, we’d brought the cockpit preparation down to 53 minutes, a notable improvement, or so we thought. “You’d better taxi back for fuel,” he said dryly. Cockpit preparation, he said, should take only five minutes.

Alas, our originating before start, after start and taxi checks took another 50 minutes. We seemed unlikely to set a record for on-time departures. Some of the checks were the time-consuming challenge and response type. To speed turnarounds, Air Ontario crews are expected to memorize checklists.

« Back | Page [3] of 9 | Next »

The Aviation History Series

Limited edition, collectible aviation books

Support the growth and expansion of this web site by purchasing our first title, Tales from the Lakeview. Order with confidence using the secure, online credit card processing service by PayPal. Anticipate a great reading experience for yourself, beautifully produced, or send a gift anyone will appreciate.

View our aviation books
View our aviation books
217 Bulrush Cres., Gloucester, ON K1T 0E6 Canada

Phone: 613-581-6625
E-mail the publisher © 2011. All Rights Reserved