Q: How Should I Prepare for Flight Simulator Testing with Jazz Aviation?

Jun 9, 2020

QHow should I prepare for flight simulator testing?

A: At this stage in my career, I’ve had the chance of doing a number of Sim Evals for various companies, and also the chance to instruct new hires at my company in what is almost always their first jet job. They’re looking at your overall IFR knowledge and skill. All three of the sim evals followed nearly identical structures, and all included the same basic components.

1. Upper airwork of some kind, in IMC. Steep turns especially, usually to commercial standard (180/180). This is usually done early on in the sim and gives the evaluators a quick and dirty first glance at a candidate’s instrument scan. Candidates should be able to do basic steep turns and stalls in IMC. This is NOT covered in Multi IFR training.

2. Some sort of engine failure (for multi engine jobs). This is easy to understand and not at all surprising to most candidates, however a few times I’ve heard of companies throwing this at a candidate on application of power in the go-around. Transport Canada does not allow this sort of exercise in the Multi-IFR training, so candidates should spend time practicing proper recognition cues in a simulator to prepare for this. The most common failure here is rushing – which leads to shutting down the wrong engine. In the airline world we have plenty of power to climb on a single engine, so the piston training mantra of “fast fast fast” just doesn’t do anyone any good. Better to do it slowly, yet correctly, than fast and wrong.

3. All-engine non-precision approach, single engine ILS approach. Sorta got me laughing how this was the case every time, and the non-precision has conveniently always been the loc to the ILS you’ll do single-engine.

4. A hold. Self explanatory. Copy and do. Practicing these is important – entry sectors are still a little black sheep even for trained crew.

5. Multi-crew operations. I’ve had sim evals where I was paired with another candidate and others where I was paired with a company pilot. The expectation here is to see how you communicate with another person, getting a sense of how you work in a team. Transfer of control for briefings is expected for all airborne briefings. Knowledge of company SOPs and calls is NOT expected, use SOPs and calls from your school if you have some. Do what feels natural. Little research goes a long way. A little engine power chart might be all you get, if you get anything at all SOP-wise.  Long story short – if you’re Pilot Flying, one hand goes on the yoke, the other on the thrust/power/throttle levers. Anything that requires you to take hands off those – ask for it. Exceptions include flipping your own charts. (although I’ve seen some people ask their Pilot Monitoring for that. I mean seriously, just transfer control. You gotta do that anyways to brief whatever’s in that chart, right?)

6. Calling out your own deviations. As a sim trainer, I can tell you that even veteran crews deviate – it’s human nature. And I can promise you that a sim facilitator sees the mistake coming before you make it, and has been observing how you manage the error. Trying to “hide” your mistake doesn’t make you look more competent, because they already knew. So be honest and call it. If you can’t call your own mistakes, how can they expect you to have the courage to call out a captain’s? Plus it takes the nerve off the pilot beside you in a 2-candidate assessment.

7. How an RMI works. Not critical, but has been a valuable bonus mark on EVERY sim eval I’ve done. From perfectly anticipating procedure turns to an NDB as a FAF, to step down fixes off NDB tracks, to full NDB holds. Most of the assessors will be pilots who lived off these things and see it as a dying art. Make ’em smile by showing them you know how to use them. Even modern airliners with glass cockpits still incorporate RMI pointers on their HSIs.

8. Use the thumb trim. Use the thumb trim. Use the thumb trim.  The sim you use may not have a trim wheel. None of the planes at my company have trim wheels. It makes life so much easier. Easy means you fly better.

Obviously, some of this stuff can’t be practiced at home, or in a plane. if your school has a sim – use it. Overcoming Post Traumatic Sim Disorder is essential because you’ll be living in one for weeks/months to start your new turbine/jet job. In the 705 world you go back every 6 months and pass a ride. You may not like sims, but you have to get over that hurdle. Learn to love sims and your trainers will love you, and your training will go smoothly.


Q&A as part of webinar series brought to you by Youth Engagement Committee