Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm about a quarter of a way through my Computer Based Training, and I'm getting more and more excited. I can't believe that in 6 weeks I'm going to be back flying the line. I haven't forgotten as much as I was afraid of and as little things come back to me I get this thrill of "oh yeah! I remember this! I can't wait to do this with the real airplane again!"

Last night I studied the Electronic Information System (EIS) and the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The EIS contains all the screens in the cockpit that we receive information on. In the A320 there are 4 screens.


The pair on the left are the captain's PFD (primary flight display) and ND (navigation display). On the right side are the first officer's PFD and ND. The two screens in the middle are the engine and warning display (E/WD) and the systems display (SD). Almost all the information we need in flight are on these 6 screens. You can use a control panel to change the system you view on the SD. It's one of the reasons I love the Airbus -- everything is presented in such a clear fashion.

The APU is what normally provides power and air conditioning when the engines aren't running. More commonly now we use external power and air for these functions as the APU burns fuel. It's basically a small jet engine mounted in the tail. It's geared into a generator that provides enough power for important systems while on the ground. It also provides the electricity and air needed to start the first engine. If you've ever been on a flight where the crew had to start an engine at the gate, this was probably because the APU was inoperative. I have had this happen a few times. I don't like flying without one because you've effectively lost a backup generator in case you have an engine failure. However, a broken APU isn't a good enough reason to cancel a flight!

Tonight's topics: the electrical, fire detection and GPS navigation systems. I'm so happy that I may do another section tonight. I love learning aircraft systems and I love this airplane! I can't wait to fly one again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting rolling...

I finished all my requirements for my graduate class just before the weekend. The information I've learned in air transportation management are things I can apply in real life, while analyzing my airline and others.

However, now that that's over it's time to start studying in earnest for recurrent. There's a lot to relearn -- with the exception of a few systems such as autoflight, I haven't really looked at most of the information since I was furlough. My game plan consists of the follow:

CBT - This is Computer Based Training. All the systems are presented through the CBT. It's semi-interactive and I've found it's one of the best ways for me to learn. I'll be going through this first.

AOM - Aircraft Operating Manual. There are 2 AOM volumes. VOL 1 is concerned with checklists and flows, which I need to get down before my first sim. AOM VOL 2 talks in-depth about the aircraft systems; it has some information that is not covered on the CBTs. However, it's about 1000 pages. Not exactly light reading! I like to actually read a chapter or two every trip since it's "company approved" reading material. It also helps you keep up with information you don't use every day.

Limitations - Luckily I never threw out my flashcards describing the limitations of the aircraft and systems. These are things like the highest airspeed you can have the windshield wipers on at, the speeds at which you can lower and retract the landing gear, etc. These are critical speeds you MUST have memorized. I hope to give myself a head start and know them before I show up to training May 3rd.

Ok, enough blogging. Time to get to work!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I decided to stay another week while my boyfriend hopefully finishes up his captain upgrade. It's taken over a week to just finish up one flight. Why is flying always like that? The weather on the Cape is fascinating. It can go from VFR to solid IFR in (quite literally) the blink of an eye. And no where else have I seen, on such a regular basis, 70 kt winds at 3000 feet. It's a demanding environment!

As for my training, that officially starts May 3rd. I'm currently trying to wrap up my grad school class ASAP so that I can concentrate on studying for recurrent. I have one more small paper to write, then our final exam, then two large papers. I have to see if I can finish up the small paper early and somehow work on the large papers while I'm studying up for the final.

AND in the middle of this I have to somehow fit a ton of A320 studying. EEK!

The important thing to do? Stay calm, make a list. First things first! I need to stop writing here and start writing this paper!