Checks completed – my first 100 flight hours on the Airbus

Checks completed – my first 100 flight hours on the Airbus
23/07/2017 pilotpatrick
my first 100 flight hours on the airbus A300

Hello my Aviator, after an extensive flight training on the ground and in the air, I finally had my initial line check on the Airbus A300. Thanks a lot for crossing your fingers for me. The check flight ran smoothly and I passed it very well. In this aviation related article, I am sharing my experience of the first 100 flight hours on the Airbus and I inform you how the training to acquire a new type rating looks like.

my reasons why I became a pilot

First step Type Rating

With my CPL(A) license, I am basically allowed to fly all aircraft type as long as I am specially trained for the specific type. This training is called type rating and takes place in a full flight simulator and can cost about to 60,000€. The first type rating I did was on the Citation XLS in 2010. Back then I paid about 20,000€ to receive the training and to begin as a first officer on a private jet.

In the beginning of this year, I switched companies. I had to undergo an extensive training to be licensed to fly the Airbus A300. This time the employer paid for the costs of the type rating at Lufthansa Aviation training. In one of my previous articles, I explained how this training looks like in detail.

first 100 flight hours on the airbus

Simulator in Berlin at Lufthansa Aviation Training

Touch and Gos

After the completion of the type rating in the simulator, I had to do nine take offs and landings on the real aircraft. To be more economical the procedure is to touch down on the runway, then configure the aircraft again (flaps and trim) and to take off again without stopping. Usually, this base training is flown visually in a traffic pattern in the proximity of the airport. Unfortunately, the cloud base was too low on that day so we were forced to fly under IFR conditions.

first 100 flight hours an the airbus

First landing during base training on the A300

Flying the simulator feels almost like the reality but flying the real machine for the very first time was an overwhelming feeling. Up to this point, I had been flying an aircraft with a maximum take off weight of 10 tons and I was about to fly an aircraft with 170 tons. The first take off gave me goose bumps. Half of my landings on that day were nice, but about the second half, I do not want to talk about;-)

Practice makes perfect!

Those landings are a requirement of the aviation authority and have to be completed before flying commercially with passengers. During my time as flight student in Zadar, I had the chance to be aboard of a Lufthansa aircraft, which did touch and go training. I even sat in the cockpit during one approach. This was definitely one of my highlights as a flight student. I remember that one landing of a flight student was a little bit too hard, so a small panel inside the cabin came off.

pilot flight training lufthansa

Zadar 2008 as flight student

Observer flights

After the completion of the type rating and the touch and gos, the application for the issue of a new license was sent to the LBA. To bridge the waiting time I was scheduled as an observer on four flights. Additionally, to the regular crew, I was sitting in the cockpit on the observer seat. The intention behind is to get to know the working life and the line operation. It was fun watching my colleagues flying but I wanted to get behind the controls myself again.

first 100 flight hours on the Airbus

Annunciator light test during preflight preperation

Line Training

It took about seven working days until I received the new license. I not only bridged the waiting time with the observer flights but also with a vacation in the Caribbean. This was the perfect spot to flee the winter and to have a short time out.

The first flight was scheduled on the 1st of March. The first leg was to Vitoria and the second to Sevilla in Spain. The next 80 flights were under supervision which meant I was only allowed to fly with qualified line training captains. Additionally, the first eight flights were with a safety first officer to support me in my tasks.

You fly the aircraft and not the aircraft you!

Flying the simulator is one thing but flying the real aircraft is a completely different world.  At first, I had difficulties managing the numerous task in a structured way before each flight. But from flight to flight, I got more confident and structured with the set up of the cockpit and the handling of the aircraft.

My first approach into Sevilla felt like I was flying supersonic. Everything was going so quick! Even with my experiences of 2000 flight hours, everything felt so new. Of course, I did my best to impose my knowledge and skills to the new operation.

first 100 flight hours on the airbus
first 100 flight hours on the airbus

First layover in Sevilla

Supervision

The type rating in the simulator was the first step to obtain the skills, procedures, and knowledge to operate the A300. In the supervision phase of 80 sectors, the training continued on the real aircraft:

  • Every flight is evaluated and during a debriefing reviewed
  • Captain shares his experiences and knowledge about the aircraft
  • Improve standard operating procedures
  • Discussions about aircraft systems, procedures, regulations
  • Use of electronic flight bag (approach charts and manuals)
  • Simulated automatic landings

The line training ended with the initial line check. I had to prove that I am operating according to the aircraft manuals and the standard company procedures. The check flight comprised of two parts. One as pilot flying and one a pilot non-flying. I am now released to “fly the line” but this does not imply that the training has ended. There is still lots to learn about the Airbus.

checks completed - my first 100 flight hours on the Airbus

Initial line check grading

My 100 flight hours on the Airbus

The Airbus is compared to the Citation XLS a more challenging aircraft. This is not only because it is a more complex aircraft with more systems, but also because of the sensitivity of the control wheel. Minor inputs into the control wheel have a great effect on the control surfaces. The A300-600 is equipped with powerful Pratt and Whitney engines and through the wing mounted position they produce a pitch moment during power changes. This means you have to counteract this moment with your controls. Additionally, the set up of landing gear makes it difficult to do smooth landings.

In relation to my 1800 hours on the Citation, I already experienced a lot during my 100 flight hours on the Airbus:

  • Thunderstorms with lightning strike in front of my cockpit window
  • My first crosswind landing with about 25 km/h wind from the side,  it was easier to handle than on the small Citation Jet
  • Hard landing due to gusts at touch down and wind shears during final approach
  • St Elmo’s fire on the cockpit front windows due to a charged atmosphere

I am looking forward to the upcoming flights and challenges on the Airbus.

checks completed - my first 100 flight hours on the Airbus

St Elmo’s fire on the cockpit window

Have you been on a flight which did not run as smoothly as usual? Maybe you were flying in adverse weather or something extraordinary happened on board. Please share your experience with me below in the comment section.

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10 Comments

  1. Rebecca 5 months ago

    I am extremely phobic of flying but forced myself onto a flight to Cuba for a holiday. I thought I could simply make myself get over the phobia. The return flight was an ordeal – we had a sick passenger so had to make an emergency landing in Bermuda, except there were no anouncements made to tell us this until a long time after the plane has banked sharply in the opposite direction to our destination and the maps on the entertainment system did not update correctly. The maps indicated we would be landing in the middle of the Atlantic without land in sight within 48 minutes. Thankfully the map eventually updated itself and we saw Bermuda in sight but for a while we genuinely thought we were going to die. I don’t know if I will ever fly again 🙁 I love to read about flights though and enjoy looking at the aircraft.

  2. UMI NADHIRA 5 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your awesome experience my friend Pilot Patrick. How pity I am. I have no experience about it. I never fly. Maybe soon. So, it is so difficult to become a pilot. So many prosedure you should done. Wow, to become a captain I think it’ll more difficult again. But I understand why? The pilots have responsibility to save their passengers’ life. So it is done to minimize the human errors. Alhamdulillah you can pass through the thunderstorms. I think that’s so frightening. When I saw some videos about airplane’s accident, I always remembered you. May God always save you my friend. My question: Sometime ago I watch a video with a title one pilot but I didn’t understand what they talked about. So why there are two pilots in the cockpit? Thanks for always replying and thank you very much for your prayers before about I search someone

  3. Patrick not pilot 5 months ago

    Nice job Patrick and very interesting blog. How many flight hours per year did you do with the XLS and how many will you do with your Airbus ?
    I guess you fly for a big “3 letters” cargo company. So most of your flights are night flights. How do you manage your lifestyle specially during days on. Could be the subject of one of your next article ;;))
    Best regards from Geneva

  4. Daniel 5 months ago

    Not sure, if my previous entry was saved or not — feel free to delete this one if necessary.

    Usually, Airbus Pilots have nothing between their legs :o) Welcome to the old A300 lady and congrats to the round “birthday” of 100 FH! One thing I was not really sure while reading: Do you fly Pax or Cargo?

    Wish you always happy landings
    Daniel

  5. Bolette 4 months ago

    Hi Patrick
    I don’t expect you to answer me but I just have to ask. I am a girl from Denmark who’s really interested in becoming a pilot, but I just wanted to know how much spare time you get when traveling around. I mean, do you get to enjoy the different places and look around? And do you have a home where you have time with friends and family? I would be very happy to get an answer from you
    Best regards from Bolette

  6. Bandido 4 months ago

    Hi, Patrick:
    Nice description of the job. I can almost see myself on the cockpit! I’m a user flyer so I’ve had all kind of experiences. I really admire pilots.

  7. Natasha 4 months ago

    Love all your articles. I learn lots of new information. As for flying I do not mind a bit of turbulence but my trip returning from Europe this week had me wondering if the plane was going to fall out of the sky as the turbulence got so bad the flight attendants had to stay seated and the plane kept losing altitude. You answered me on Facebook about posting regarding turbulence and I look forward to your expert advice. I fly for work on business frequently so putting my mind at ease will be good.

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 4 months ago

      Hello Natasha,
      first of all thanks for stopping by at my website. I am sorry that you experienced such bad turbulences. Fortunately they are rare! The aircraft probably lost altitude on purpose to escape the area of turbulences. Pilots either climb or descend to avoid. If the aircraft can bot keep its altitude within 150 ft of its cleared altitude it is not allowed to fly in the upper airspace. I hope this helps you next time.
      Happy landings!
      Patrick

  8. Maryam 3 months ago

    Alright man god bless you you really deserve all this stay blessed and keep what you are doing love your work you just nailed it stay strong and high never lose hope You got what you want just just wanted you to know that we are sooo soo proud of you Love from #pakistan loveyouboyy

  9. ALEX PARKE 3 months ago

    Hi patrick

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