So How Was It?
Long. 53 days in a non-English speaking city takes a toll. Ground School flew by, as advertised, by a friend who is a Captain there.Cockpit Procedures Training (CPT) and Sim(ulator) seemed to take forever.
We did Company Benefits/Procedures/Wt.& Bal. the first week. Started in on systems Tuesday of the second week. Took half a day for a swimming lesson (overwater ditching) which was great fun.
We had a little controversy. We had one gentlemen from Barbados in the class, very nice, classy guy. Someone called his sim partners room and said a racial slur. They then called his room and said the same thing. This went on most of the night, along with a wake-up call on the hour for both of them. They wanted to fire all of us but cooler heads prevailed for the defecant always rises to the top of the punchbowl.
Thanksgiving came and though we had to stay, the Instructors gave up some of their holiday to come over and fix us a Thanksgiving Dinner that I can truly say ranks right up there with the best I've ever had. Then we had an additional day off due to a Fed Ex truck hitting a power pole and knocking out power to our classroom. This was good and bad for we had an extra day off, but we had to go an additional 2 hours for the next 4 days, days we really wanted to be out of there and in the sim.
I was fortunate to have two great guys as sim partners. The first was an ex-F14 Tomcat pilot who flew for another freight hauler and had been laid off. He had flown big airplanes, but not this big. My engineer also flew for the same carrier and was in manglement, he was a very steady and supportive friend.
They gave us 6 CPT sessions, mainly to familiarize us with the cockpit layout and procedures. These were conducted in the sim, but not on motion.They then gave us 7 Sim sessions, which were basically a repeat of the CPT sessions we had just done. Lession 8 was the Check Ride done by a different Instructor (Check Airman) then we'd had for Sim and Lesson 9 was our LOFT. I don't remember much of Lesson 9 due to a headache I had after Lesson 8.
All the Instructors were great and very supportive. The scheduler, John, was a FE and someone we could go talk to for encouragement. It was obvious they wanted every single one of us to pass and they went the extra mile to make sure it happened with all of us.
The hardest part for me was to relax and to not put pressure on myself. I knew they wanted us to pass, but still, you can't help but put pressure on yourself. It became really tough during CPT when I called home and my 4-year old daughter asked, "Daddy, when are you coming home and never going back there?" I had tears in my eyes. I had always promised myself I would be a better dad than a pilot and this was killing me.
We had Sim from 6 to 10 most every night. One of the Instructors picked us up at 4:45 for the briefing. Then the Sim, then the debrief which lasted anywhere from 3 minutes to 45 minutes. The Instructor then took us back to our hotel where we met in my room, affectionately known as "The Whale" or "Don's Place" for our own debriefing and to wind down over a couple beers. I usually got to bed between 1 and 2 AM.
Now I'm awaiting a call for my Initial Operating Experience (IOE). They tell me there's a very good chance it will be in Anchorage, going to Seoul as this is the most senior route and all of our IOE Check Airman bid it. Better get a good pair of mukluks.