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I guess today marks the end of the first week. Six flights, four sim sessions and probably the same again in back seat flights and co-piloting sim sessions.

For the next while, it’ll be all simulator. We’ve gone head first into the instrument rating(IR), completing two lessons per day, with two more planned tomorrow. So far, Robert has been our sim instructor. Robert wouldn’t be your typical hour building, or even career instructor. He’s a current 747 Captain, who contracts with Air Atlanta Icelandic and also does a lot of business jet work. If you wipe away the drool and snap out of the dream of left seating a 747, it’s clear from his experience that Robert is a guy worth listen to.

I’ve had many teachers and lecturers over the years. With plenty of them, you could call their bluff the minute they spoke. I’m glad to say, that so far, there’s been none of that here. Just experienced pilots passing down their knowledge in a calm and concise way.

A watchful eye, taking note of all the finer details, to be debriefed after the session.

A watchful eye, taking note of all the finer details, to be debriefed after the session.

Anyway, enough of the ass licking. So far in the sim, as previously mentioned we’ve completed our first four lessons. It’s been pretty straight forward so far, mainly getting the basics right, working on scanning the instruments correctly and introducing some basic navigation aid tracking, basic instrument landings and some emergencies, stalls and unusual attitudes thrown in as well. And of course, getting the checklists, SOPs and emergencies correct. As we get deeper into the course, it will get into more complicated procedures such as holding patterns, standard arrivals/departures and procedural landings, while adding more emergencies, weather and whatever else they can throw at us, to make things a bit more lively and keep the learning curve I guess.

Holding short the runway, one of the few times during the sim sessions that there's any point looking out the window.

Holding short of the runway, one of the few times during the sim sessions that there’s any point looking out the window.

On the infamous Ipads, we can pull up the lesson plans for the whole course, so we’re able to prepare ourselves mentally, not just for the next lesson, but for the what’s to come after that. I find this a great help, it relieves a lot of pressure when you know what’s coming and you can get ahead of it.

As for the sim itself, although very close, it’s certainly not the same thing as flying a real aircraft. But, once you put your head down into the cockpit and focus on the instruments you completely forget about that. For instrument flight training, it seems to be great compromise. You throw yourself into a lot more scenarios that you can necessarily create while in the real aircraft.

You'll notice the two screens on the right, used to control the simulator. It's able to create a multitude of faults and scenarios.

You’ll notice the two screens on the right, used to control the simulator. It’s able to create a multitude of faults and scenarios.

We use this live feed in the break room to monitor stress levels.  A simply measurement of beads of sweat per minute.

We use this live feed in the break room to monitor stress levels. A simple measurement, beads of sweat per minute.

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