Deer in the headlights?


Active Member
I just returned home from a King Air 200 initial training school and the following expressions come to mind. "Deer in the headlights look", "caught with my hand in the cookie jar", "Country goes to town", and probably the most descriptive,"Couldn't find my azz with both hands":D!

As most of you know on here from my post's, I am a ag pilot, Plain and simple. That is basically all I know. It's what I do. I learned the past week that just because you have a fat logbook of one type of flying, doesn't really mean squat when you try your hand at another type of flying.

After talking with some other members here (Thanks guys) about what to expect, I started studying and I had a pretty good grasp of the systems, and had flown a little on one of those desk top things(simulator?) to knock the rust off the scan. As I told someone, I should have started about a year ago.

First day was systems class. It was pretty straight forward so not much problem there. The next day started the sim sessions. I really havent decided if I like that thing or hate it. On one hand, It is great for showing and practicing normal and emerg. procedures which is a great thing. On the other hand, that thing will humble you. Don't walk in with your chest poofed out because you will surely walk out with your tail tucked between your legs.

All in all, it was a great experience. The boss was going through recurrent while I was doing initial. Before training, I had flown the airplane several trips while he explained things to me about the airplane. Now, I have a much better understanding of things.

One last little observation that is strictly my opinion. If you take a job as a patrol pilot or banner towing or traffic watch and your goal is to move into corporate or the airlines, Build your time and move on. I went in to this training with close to 20,000 hrs and it really meant absolutely nothing. Your mileage may vary but I don't think so.

Someone asked me before I left what my goal was as far as the training. I told them that I didn't want to be the "guy" that they were still talking about ten years from now:D. I think I'm OK.

Good luck to all you guys just starting out and always remember. You can teach an old dog new tricks, you just gotta break him down a little first.
Great post. If you haven't been through an initial, this should be a must read. It's even worse cause you corporate guys get the high-speed treatment. At least we get groundschool, then integration, then sim.

Even when you go through an initial on a new manufacturer, it's still the same feeling. At least I thought so....There's only so many ways they can build components, and the laws of physics must be maintained, but it's amazing how many machinations they can come up with to turn stuff on and off.....
Most definitely. I think I'm done training for a while. I was in class learning a new aircraft every eight months the last year and a half.
For me, the whole key to learning an advanced aircraft or flying a sim is attitude. I tell myself its "game time", and i'm about to step up to the plate, bottom of the 9th, blablabla...Corny, but it works.

My first first sim session in the King Air was a disaster. I flew so horribly, and let the airplane get so far ahead of me, that I screwed up basic instrument approaches. It was bad. Next session I went in telling myself i'm gonna fly the (explicit) out of this sim, and I did.

Best advice I can give to anyone going to school is prepare before you go. Try and get some time in the type of airplane you are training in if you haven't ever flown it before. Talk to pilots about how to fly the airplane. If you can get your hands on a training manual, study the major systems (powerplant, fuel, electrical).

Secondly...Fly the sim like it is a sim. Dont every try and fly it like the airplane. Even at MGTOW the King Air isn't a heavy airplane, but rotation requires more than a small amount of pressure on your finger tips...In the sim, I realized that if I rotated with the amount of back pressure i'd use in the real airplane, the sim would be pitched 30 degrees nose up.

Don't be intimidated. Be confident but not cocky, and try and have some fun in the process hehe

goodluck everyone
It will get easier the more training events you have and the more variety of sims you have been exposed to, be it types or levels of sims. The biggest thing to get out of your mind is trying to fly it like an airplane, it is a video game, nothing more. Do what it takes to put the needles where they need to be. Don't worry about how much "pressure" or how "hard" the yoke is to roll, just do it. It will make you a better pilot in the airplane because, in my experience, the ham handedness of sim flying doesn't transfer to the airplane, at least very well. You hop in the airplane for the first time and "...Holy schnikes, this is easy..."

Do yourself a big favour though, don't become one of those guys that treats recurrent events like mini/employer is buying all the booze/food in the world vacations, have fun, BUT if you don't learn something new about the airplane in both ground and sim lessons, you weren't paying attention. Don't settle for halfassed sim sessions, start up to shutdown, every time. Not comfortable with a procedure, drill it over and over until you are. Do the unusual stuff, short field rejects, partial panel approaches, etc. Most of all, keep learning.
As a TCE at a part 142 training center for the Kingair 200 we do see times when clients can feel like a deer in headlights...our staff works dilligently with our clients to assist them in successfully completing their training. One area that we tend to focus on is cockpit flows and flight profiles...these in combination can make the simulator a bit less of an adventure.

Best of luck to all in your training!
man, I feel for ya. When I went through 200 training I was the only "initial" guy there, all the other guys were doing it as recurrent training. They pretty much tried to leave me in their dust as they "skimmed" over stuff I had never heard of. It was crazy. The sim was extremely sensitive, and it flew NOTHING like the real aircraft. The King Air was such a smooth aircraft, but not the King Air sim. Just something you've got to deal with and accept. The "simisms" will make flying the actually plane seem entirely too easy, so take it as a great training tool. At least the CRJ sim seemed somewhat like the real plane. Chair fly, chair fly, chair fly.