Airbus A300 type rating

My Airbus A300 type rating

In my last blog post, I revealed my new aircraft type I will be flying in the near future. Currently, I am getting trained on a flight simulator of Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin. But what does the A300 type rating actually mean? In this blog post, I want to give a more detailed explanation and an insight view of my training.

My career as a first officer started six years ago on the Citation XLS+ business jet. During this period I gained a lot of experiences of operating a jet engine aircraft, I flew to many challenging airports and transported thousands of VIP passengers. In total, I have flown over 2000 hours on this private jet. As I informed you in my blog post "Big changes in 2017" I recently switched my employer. Since the new airline operates a different type of aircraft it was mandatory to undergo a so-called type rating to be able to fly the Airbus A300-600.

Welcome to my new Airbus office (simulator)

My A300 type rating

The theoretical phase of the type rating ended with a skill test about the systems of the aircraft. The entire December I read the manuals of the aircraft and studied with computer-based training (CBT). Do you know what the alpha floor protection means? This protection sets automatically maximum power when reaching a high angle of attack. The angle of attack is the angle between the relative wind direction and the wing chord line. Lift varies with angle of attack. Increasing angle of attack increases the lift coefficient up to the maximum, after which lift coefficient decreases again, leading to a stall condition.

I also had to attend ground courses about the performance of the aircraft. As a pilot, I am required to determine e.g. the take off performance to find out whether the runway is long enough for a certain take off weight and under certain meteorological conditions. Before the simulator training started, I was trained with a mock-up cockpit. This helps to familiarize with the location of the buttons and the operating procedures.

Mock-up cockpit to learn the location of the buttons

Full flight Simulator

I remember playing the Windows flight simulator when I was a kid and now I am flying the most realistic simulator I could imagine. Those full flight simulators (FFS) are built to exactly replicate the respective aircraft type with its performance. All the checking and training take place in those big boxes. This extends the life of the real aircraft and saves fuel, thus protects the environment.

Full flight simulators with motion systems

From the inside, the simulator looks like the real aircraft cockpit with one additional seat in the back. From this position, the instructor can control the setup of the simulator. The whole simulator is built on a platform which can be moved by a motion system to any realistic attitude. When flying the simulator it is fascinating how real everything feels. From the vision, motion, up the acoustics, everything is build to imitate a real flight.

I was nervous and I was looking forward to my first simulator flight at the same time. The first three sessions consisted of normal operating procedures, after that we were introduced to abnormal procedures. All kinds of scenarios can be trained, which could not be replicated in real flight conditions. In modern flight simulators, up to 500 malfunctions can be programmed in the system, for every malfunction, there is a checklist with a special procedure to cope with the situation.

My training highlights so far:

  • Reverser unlock: flight with one engine and asymmetric drag
  • Both engine flame: Cockpit becomes dark and only standby instruments work
  • Emergency descent: After a decompression of the cabin quick descent wearing oxygen masks
  • Dual hydraulic failure: coping only with one hydraulic system remaining
  • Slats and Flaps stuck: Landing without high lift devices the approach speed needs to be increased by over 110 km/h
  • multiple engine failures: making a safe landing and handling of asymmetric thrust

A300 simulator cockpit wearing the quick donning oxygen mask (practicing procedures)

Most of the malfunctions are not independent, which means the cause secondary failures. For example, a problem with the hydraulic system causes the flaps not to be operational and for the approach, the landing gear needs to be extended by gravity with a hand crank.

I have completed session eight and there are five more to come. Every session is basically a check flight, from which I learn. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful and not to make any mistakes. But this is almost impossible since you do most of the procedures and abnormals for the very first time. The Airbus is a complex aircraft and I am really impressed how advanced the system are, keeping in mind that the design is from the 1960s. I am not used to flying an aircraft with an auto throttle and an auto flight system with extensive modes. This gave me a hard time at the beginning of the training.

Full flight Simulator A300 (in Schönefeld since 1990)

Practice makes perfect

Flight simulators are the best possible device to train pilots well in a most efficient way. The costs for an A380 simulator are about 1,8 Mio €. That is why the price for a type rating is in a range from 15,000 to 50,000€ depending on the aircraft type. The full flight simulator I am currently training at is almost as old as I am (check my FAQs for my age) and also quite historic. It used to belong to the DDR airline Interflug when Germany was separated between east and west.

I am looking forward to flying the real aircraft soon and I am already excited to let you know how it feels like to control a jet with a maximum takeoff weight of 170,5 tons. Check out my Instagram stories, where I give you an insight view of my training.

What is your favorite Airbus airplane?

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me
[social size = "large"]

 


revealing my new aircraft type

Revealing my new aircraft type

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY AVIATORS!

Welcome on board of a new year full of new challenges, adventures and hopefully many happy landings. I am really sorry, that I have not published a blog post for a while. But I have a really good excuse for that. As I mentioned in my previous post "Christmas greetings with big changes" I started 2017 with a new aircraft type and a new employer. This has been keeping me busy for the last couple of weeks. In this blog post, I will reveal my new aircraft type I will be flying in the near future.

Hard decision

You got to know me as a first officer for private jets. In 2010 I started flying for a german VIP charter company on the Cessna Citation XLS +. I became a big fan of the exclusive operation since the everyday work was always very diverse. During the last six years, I met really interesting and famous people and got to stay in many different cities throughout Europe, Russia and North Africa. The working atmosphere on board was great and it sometimes felt like being on tour with friends.

With the Citation Business Jet on Malta

After six years of flying a small jet, it was time for a new occupational career. In the first place, it meant for me to fly a bigger aircraft type. In the end of 2016, I received a job offer by a big german air carrier to become a first officer on their A300-600 fleet. At the same time, my former employer wanted me to upgrade on the Legacy 650 aircraft. At this point, I had to decide for one or the other. This was a really hard decision for me. One the one hand I could stay in the private operation, flying a big business jet around the world and on the other hand, I got the one and only chance to fly the legendary A300. (read more about this type of aircraft below)

In the end, I decided for a new employer with a very good reputation and the bigger aircraft. Many pilots are a big fan of the A300 because the level of automation is less than on other modern jet aircraft. Flying this jet takes me back to the roots of aviation and the flight hours on this type of aircraft will allow me to operate on any other aircraft in the future. As much as I love the General Aviation, I decided to move on to accept a new occupational challenge with a totally different operation. But I do not spurn that I might return back to the business jet operation as a Captain on a private jet.

Welcome to my new office! Currently in Simulator training at Lufthansa Aviation Training

Revealing my new aircraft

The A300 is a twin jet airliner and is the first aircraft ever manufactured by Airbus. Development of the A300 began during the 1960s as a collaboration of different European nations. Its first flight was already on the 28th of October 1972 and was at that time the first twin wide-body aircraft of the world. (two aisles in the cabin) It typically seats around 266 passengers with a maximum take-off weight of 170,5 tons. This is 17x the takeoff weight of the Citation Jet I used to fly.

The production ceased in 2007 with 561 aircraft built. Another world first of the A300 is the use of composite material to reduce overall weight and improve cost-effectiveness. When it entered service in 1974, the A300 was a very advanced plane. Its state of the art technology influenced later airliner designs. As far as I can tell from the simulator the handling capabilities are excellent for such a big aircraft. I am fascinated by the advanced  I am already looking forward to flying this oldtimer, which sure is already a legend in aviation.

My new aircraft type: A 300-600 copyright: widebodyaircraft.nl

Flight training

In December I started with ground courses and online based training for my new employer. I studied hard to pass the technical skill test last week. All efforts paid out because I passed the exam with 94%. That qualified me to continue with the practical flight training. All complex aircraft require so-called type rating to become familiar with the systems and how to operate the aircraft according to the books.

I currently get trained at Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin in a full flight simulator. The type rating started one week ago and will last until the first of February. Yesterday I finished session number four. It is quite demanding, but also a lot of fun. I am totally in love with the new "old school" cockpit and I am really looking forward to flying the real aircraft soon.

Flight Simulator at Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin A300 cockpit of the full flight simulator

I am looking forward to sharing my future adventures with the Airbus A300 and to write about my first impressions. It will be really interesting to compare both operations to find out their advantages and disadvantages.

I know you have been waiting for the next part my series "how I became a pilot", but I am really busy acquiring my new type rating. Please stay tuned!

Are you an Airbus or Boeing fan?

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me
[social size = "large"]

 


business class review Lufthansa

Business Class review - with Lufthansa to Cape Town

I decided to publish my first airline review, because you were interested in my opinion as private jet pilot about a flight experience in a higher booking class.

Business class review Lufthansa

This year I spend three weeks of vacation in South Africa. I had an amazing time and I felt in love with South Africa. The flight made this vacation special as well. Months in advance, I was excited to go on this flight. One reason for this was, that I flew in Lufthansa’s Business Class on the A340-600. But the flight almost did not depart…

A340-600 at the parking position in Munich prior boarding to Cape Town

I want to give you a brief review of my experience on board of Lufthansa, one of my favorite airlines. This might help you when booking your next flight, maybe to Cape Town.

My flights:
Berlin Tegel – Munich
Munich – Cape Town (night flight)

Cape Town – Munich (day flight)
Munich – Berlin Tegel

Welcome on board!

On the flight to Cape Town seat 3D was mine. Right after I stowed my hand luggage and took a seat, I was offered a welcome drink. Overall the service was excellent. The flight attendants were really friendly and gave a personal touch to their service. The front cabin of the A340-600 was quite spacious, but I noticed right away that there is not much privacy when seated. Nevertheless I really liked the modern design and the interior.

Welcome drink on board of Lufthansa's A3400-600 in Munich. Seat 3D

Take off thrust set in Munich. Reaching about 120 km/h the four engines spooled down and the brakes were applied. I said quite loudly: “Aborted take off!" I was right. The aircraft vacated the runway. Interesting fact: In 6 years as pilot I never had to reject a take off. Fortunately the pilots could solve the technical problem, so that we attempted for another take off 30 minutes later, after the brakes had cooled down.

Seat

Lufthansa Business Class Configuration 2-2-2

I was surprised about the versatility of the seat. It felt comfortable when eating, watching a movie and especially when in the sleeping position. A flat bed on a long-range flight is luxury. I am 1,86 m tall and I had enough space in length. Additionally you can adjust the degree of hardness of the cushion through air. Unfortunately I had the impression that the seat width was a little bit too narrow and the pillow a little bit too thick.

Food

Dinner in Business Class shortly prior landing in Munich

As I mentioned in my recent post “I am a foodie pilot”, I am really strict and picky about my food. That is why I am definitely not a benchmark. But I have to admit, that the selection and the taste of food were really good. Great wine and drink menu. I missed some snacks in between meals on a 12 hours flight. Fantastic was have an espresso above the clouds.

Inflight Entertainment

A huge selection of movies, series, documentaries, games, music and so on in up to eight languages were offered. The headsets were comfortable to wear and the interface was easy to control. I used Wi-Fi during flight to keep you up to date on my snapchat. :-)

Flat bed in Business Class, Seat 3D good while in sleeping position

My recommendations:

  • If possible reserve a seat in the first row. The seats in row 3 (A340-600) at the window give you some kind of shelf and the seats in the middle give you some extra legroom.

Seat 3D to CPT and seat 3A on the return flight

  • When traveling alone I recommend to take a window seat, because the seats in the middle section are angled a little towards each other. Those ones I rather recommend for couples.
  • During night flights I suggest to take a middle seat, since each seat has direct aisle access. Find your seat map on Seatguru.
  • Choose a seat in the front of the Business Class, because during boarding only Business and First Class passengers will pass you in the aisle.

Overhead Africa on the way from CPT to MUC

Following extras can you expect:

  • Amenity Kit (including socks, ear plugs and cosmetics)
  • Cosmetics in the lavatories
  • Water bottle at the seat
  • USB and power plug at your seat
  • Free newspapers and magazines
  • Big pillow and a blanket
  • High quality headset

Leaving Cape Town on Lufthansa's A340-600 overflying Camps Bay

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSga1AL2q5w?rel=0]

The price for a Lufthansa Business Class ticket can be quite expansive, but the investment is totally worth it. This way the vacation already starts on board and you are looking forward to your flight. Especially on the way to Cape Town, which primarily takes place during the night, the flat seat is fantastic. Since their is only one hour of time difference, you can enjoy the day fresh and fit.

My rating

My rating of the flights in Lufthansa Business Class, where 5 aircrafts highest and 1 lowest:

Business Seat    ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Privacy                 ✈️ ✈️
Aircraft                ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Service                 ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Food                     ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Entertainment  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Extras                  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

My Rating:         ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Which airline has the best Business Class for you? Please comment below.

Read my next blog post: "What's in my bag?"

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me
[social size = "large"]