Ab-Inito Pilots Training on an ATR 72-500 Level D (FFS) Simulator at Madrid, Spain

What’s your TYPE? – For Pilots

Here’s an op-ed’ish’ feature for all my fellow pilots and aspiring student pilots. I get asked this a lot. Do I need a type rating? Is a type rating worth it? Does a type rating better my chances of landing a job in the airlines? While these are all relevant questions and as of May 2016, a type-rating for pilots may actually make a lot of sense in most parts of South East Asia and Asia on the whole, one tends to overlook what the ideal prerequisites for a type rating are.

A type rating is big! It’s your foray into learning what ‘real world’ commercial flying is all about. If you’re in the market for your first type-rating, chances are you’ve flown a single engine trainer followed by a multi engine trainer (and/or small piston charter).

So here’s what you’d ideally need to keep in mind before opting for a type rating. Most of what I am about to tell you, TRTOs won’t.

Aircraft Type #boeing #airbus #atr #embraer

The obvious decision to make is what aircraft type you prefer. Depending on the aircraft type, your ab-initio type rating may cost anywhere between 14 to 25 thousand US dollars. A lot also depends on the academy you train at, however 20 thousand US is a safe figure to work on. That’s expensive! You want to make the right choice. Do your research and make sure there’s a fair number of openings on the aircraft type you opt for.

Myth ALERT 1: A Type Rating is the key to landing an airline job

Wrong! A Type Rating is just an additional endorsement on your license. It’s your knowledge in aviation that will land you a job. Whether type rated or not, you need to make sure you are a good aviator and navigator.

Be rock solid on your basics in Navigation and Aircraft Tech

Most TRTOs (Type Rating Training Organizations) especially the ones in Europe will assume you have a certain minimum knowledge base in Aviation. I cannot count the number of TR candidates I have come across who have either failed a check ride or found it extremely difficult to get by a type rating course for the want of a stronger knowledge base. You need to understand you are graduating from a trainer that cruises at 80 odd knots to a commercial airliner that cruises at 240+. Things go very fast, decisions need to be quick and correct. Make sure you brush up on your instrument flying and orientation much before you show up to begin your type rating.

Tip: You should know your Jeppesen Charts, forwards and backwards!

Myth ALERT 2: Air XYZ has a 100 aircraft on order.

Don’t fall for this one! A 100 aircraft on order means nothing when deciding whether or not to get type rated. The fleet expansion rate will almost never be better than 3 aircraft a month. 3 aircraft a month is being very optimistic! An aircraft used for domestic operations ideally needs a detail of 6 – 8 first officers depending on aircraft policies. Think hard! Think smart!

Course Duration – Less is BAD / More is GOOD

Without naming any, I have come across tonnes of schools that offer full fledged Airbus 320 type rating in all of 1 month. Please note, airplanes like an A320 are complicated machines with 400+ computers (No jokes, no exaggerations) controlling them directly or indirectly. There’s absolutely no way any pilot could assimilate the knowledge and understand the systems needed to fly a machine that sophisticated along with the practical simulator training in a month! A good duration to look out for is 2 months. Anything more than that is BETTER. A longer course duration may be marginally more expensive from a ‘cost of living’ perspective but in the long run, will help you understand the aircraft systems and fly the plane a lot better. Please remember, the airline induction process does not stop at landing a job, the Supernumerary flight and Supervised Line Flying are a tough test of your working knowledge of the aircraft type you are rated on.

Myth ALERT 3: Flying a Multi Crew (2 Pilot) Aircraft is easier than a single pilot a/c.

This is where I, many pilots before me and many after me will face their biggest Type Rating Challenge. Operating a multi crew aircraft, contrary to popular belief among ab-initio pilots is much harder than a single pilot aircraft. The standard operating procedures, intermingled with navigating busy airspace is a challenge one can understand only after your first type rating experience.

Are European TRTOs the best? #madrid #toulouse #dublin

Indeed, European TRTOs with their unforgiving JAA standards offer the best, most challenging type rating courses. This is a deterrent for most Eastern and American Pilots when it shouldn’t be. A well laid out, challenging type rating course prepares you well for that airline induction process which often involves an interview where you are tested on your technical knowledge of the aircraft along with a simulator session to test your practical skills.

Bottomline, a Type Rating course is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever go through. You do your FIRST type rating just once, so make the most of the challenge and enjoy it!

To safe skies and safer landings.