170A (One Seventy Alpha) pre-test

So I have completed my Commercial Pilots Licence, that must be me finished right?  Well no actually.  The CPL entitles me to take fare-paying passengers, but only on certain routes and only in visual conditions.  This is fine if I am flying a small 8 seat plane around South Africa where the weather is nearly always nice, however it is almost useless for an airline based in the UK where the weather is almost always dreadful.  Technically, the UK does not actually have a summer.

So what I must have is an instrument rating, this means that I can fly through clouds and other bad weather and safely land at an airport even when the visibility is very poor.  Couple this with the night-rating that I have and this means that I can fly at night in bad weather as well.  Once I join the airline, I will have additional training which will allow me to land the aircraft with a maximum visibility of 75m, to put this in perspective, this is the sort of fog you have when you cannot see the houses down your own road and would think twice about driving the car – you definitely would not go riding a bicycle for fear of being run over.

Before I can take the IR Skills Test, I must prove that I am proficient to actually take it in the first place.  The 170A is the flight that does this and it must be completed and signed off before one can take the IRST.

My 170A was set for today, it had to be today because I needed to take my test before the weekend (I had to go home over the weekend).  I was flying first thing in the morning with the Chief Flying Instructor, Charles Auty.  We were scheduled to take off at 07:30 which meant getting up very early to check over the aircraft and joy of joys, de-icing the wretched thing.  It was –2C and I had a t-shirt, shirt, sweater, down jacket, scarf and gloves on and I was shivering uncontrollably.  This obviously was making my base in Aberdeen for at least the next 6 months look rather ominous at best.

The 170A pretty much went without a hitch, I had a late adjustment to my clearance when I was lining up which was a bit of a poor show from ATC because it unsettled me for the first 20minutes of the flight.  The plan had been to fly to Seville, do an ILS landing, then have a simulated engine-failure after takeoff, then fly back towards Jerez and do some general handling, then make an NDB approach to Jerez on a single engine with a circuit to land.  Unfortunately however, Seville was extremely busy and we were going to have to hold in the stack for at least 20 minutes.  We took the decision to do the general handling first instead, again I tried to not let this unsettle me too much but for some reason I was slightly over-controlling on my limited-panel unusual attitude recoveries.  The rest of the flight as I say was fine, I was given special commendation on my Engine Failure After Take-off (EFATO) and also on my NDB holding and NDB approach which I flew perfectly.

At the end of the flight I had a debrief from the CFI, and he gave me some small pointers for my IRST, but overall he had no concerns what so ever for my test.  So he signed off the paperwork and my name went up on the board for the test on Friday morning.

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~ by globalste on February 1, 2012.

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