Just how much different is it?

flyboy04

Well-Known Member
Hello all, ive gotta question for some of you more expierienced pilots out there. Just how hard is the transition from a light twin, say like a seminole to a twin turbo prop or jet. I cant help but think that it wouldnt be too drasticly different, because ive seen pilots go from light twins straight to a regional jet. Ive got my commercial multi and the question i get asked all the time - can you fly the big ones? And i wonder myself sometimes just how hard it would be to adjust. Id love to hear some stories!
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
One of the main differences is the higher speeds. Things happen A LOT faster. You still pull back to make the houses smaller and push to make them big again.
 

chris

Well-Known Member
An old pilot once told me that as you go bigger (bigger a/c that is), it is not the stick and rudder skills that takes a long to get used to, but it is an understanding of the systems, procedures, and being able to stay ahead of a faster, more complex a/c.
 

PeanuckleCRJ

Poodle Wrangler
I have recently gone straight from a job as a CFI flying little small airplanes to the CRJ... though I did have previous training on the DC-10-30/40 compliments of my poppa bear, so i knew the procedures and speed of thought that was going to be required.



First of all... think of as fast as you have ever gone in the seminole, and as busy as you have ever been... and magify that considerably. It can be alot to take in at times...but overall is just an adjustment in thinking and an extension of your skills that you already have as an accomplished instrument and multi-engine pilot.

Procedures are very key...and being able to execute them accurately and with precision at the right timing.

Reactions to the jet are varied...some coming from light prop planes just cannot make the transition to the glass cockpit and speed.... we are supposed to call for speed mode at V2+10.... they'll call at 400 feet and V2+30 or more... heading mode is supposed to be called for at 400 feet... that got done more around 800 feet....and the trend continues. There are several that may fail out of training.

On the other hand... I found it a challenge.. but very fun and enjoyable. I prepped myself mentally time and time again for the speed...and have been consistently at the top of my class in training. It's been a blast. My checkride is on the 4th.. woo hoo! So ready to get out on the line...


Anyhoo...I would write more detail, but trying to get ready to watch the Noles kick Miami's butt...IM me anytime.
later!
 

sixpack

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
...You still pull back to make the houses smaller and push to make them big again.

[/ QUOTE ] Made me think of a term my instructor once used... BSR.

(BSR stands for building size regulator. Pull back to make them smaller, push forward to make 'em bigger)
 

Looking4Lower

New Member
I noticed a few things when I started flying freight in a big airplane.

First, as others have said, things happen faster and things can be busier. There is a little more "number crunching" and planning as far as performance, w/b, speeds, etc. Procedures and checklist routines need to be nailed down quickly and accurately.

If you are transitioning to Part 121 or 135, you need to mentally wipe away all the usual part 91 rules you have been using and re-learn a new (and complex) set of rules to fly by. This includes OpSpecs which are specific to your operation. Even if you fly turbine twins under Part 91, I think there are some special rules that apply beyond the basics.

The thing that required lots of adjustment for me was the social aspects of working in a 2-pilot crew. Here is a whole new set of human factors issues that never really cropped up when flying smaller planes. You get to deal with challenges such as how to communicate effectively in the cockpit, working under structured/standardized division of duties, how to handle conflicts or disagreements in the cockpit, communicating in the cockpit under the weight of stress and fatigue, anticipating the needs of the Captain or the trip in general, how to handle concerns or safety issues with a Captain, how to brief procedures (approaches, takeoffs) to another pilot, etc. etc.

The stick-and-rudder basics transition pretty well once you get the feel of the plane.
 

davetheflyer

New Member
For many people, the hardest thing, other than speed, is automation. Most jets and turboprops have flight directors, FMS, and autopilots. If you are somewhat computer savvy, with GPS for example, it will help a lot in the transition.
 

flyboy04

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the quik reply guys, its something i have been wondering about for quite some time. I hope i get to find out for myself sometime in the near future!
 

Baronman

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
The thing that required lots of adjustment for me was the social aspects of working in a 2-pilot crew. Here is a whole new set of human factors issues that never really cropped up when flying smaller planes. You get to deal with challenges such as how to communicate effectively in the cockpit, working under structured/standardized division of duties, how to handle conflicts or disagreements in the cockpit, communicating in the cockpit under the weight of stress and fatigue,

[/ QUOTE ]

Sounds alot like flight instructing to me.....(To those of you who say flight instructing has little value...)
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
From the Tomahawk to the Warrior, pretty easy.

From the Warrior to the C-172, pretty easy, but it felt like a volkswagen.

From the C-172 to the Piper Seminole, holy crap! Pretty easy to get behind the aircraft.

From the Seminole to the Duchess, piece of cake.

From the Duchess to the King Air C90, amazingly simple.

The Beech 1900 is just a big Duchess so that was pretty easy.

From the 1900 to the 727 engineer panel, pretty challenging because you don't use ANY pilot skills.

From he 727 panel to the 737 FO seat was a big challenge because the FO duties are a little different than the SO seat.

From the 737 to the MD-88, a semi-challenge beacuse the autopilot works absolutely differently than the 737.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Instructors who think instructing is of little value probably suck as instructors anyway....
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Interesting Doug!

Here is what I experienced:

Charter (C414 and AC50) to Shorts 360 FO. Pretty easy.

Shorts 360 FO to BE1900 FO. Hard! Mostly because it is such a high performance plane and will go on it's own if you look away for a sec, but also because we had 3 flights and BOOM, checkride! The check airman said I flew great but was weak on company standardization (well duh! There are 13 checklists to call out BY MEMORY on a v1 cut!)

BE1900FO to BE1900 Capt. Very challenging! What a world of difference it is just moving 3 feet to the left. Those of you who have not been captains have some real eye openers coming during upgrade.

BE1900 Capt. to CRJ Capt. Fun, challenging, exciting but not that difficult. Things happened a little faster and the FMS was a challenge, but by far the hardest thing was sitting there flying and watching the FO screw up the FMS (and not correcting him!)

CRJ Capt to B737 FO. Very difficult! It was hard to remember that I didn't make the calls any more! Midway was not a big FO company. For example, only captains could call an abort. FOs could only bring attention to a problem and keep on doing so until the captain did something about it. The aircraft is very technical but that wasn't a problem for me. Systems were similar enough to the CRJ to make it just a transition. (Although the B737 is a 2 sided airplane and the CRJ has 3 of everything.)

The most difficult problems for me in all training was not flying the airplane, but learning the company specific procedures. Every company wants you to do things their way.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
From my experience, going from the Seminole to the Saab was both easy and difficult. It was easy in the sense that the same flying skills still apply. However, difficult in that the airplanes are two different monsters. The Seminole has it's own quirks regarding systems management and controlability, whereas the Saab has a completely different arrangement. The Saab is a heavy airplane, fast, and doesn't slow down easy on the glideslope. Above 210 knots and descending on the glideslope in the Saab, you don't have an easy chance of slowing down to gear speed of 200 knots. Especially on 4R at MDW with the 3.4 degree glideslope! I think it's clear that things move really fast in a faster airplane, but I always flew wanting more speed, so that wasn't a major issue for me in transitioning. I was always the one cranking down the ILS being told to slow for the King Air on final.


Besides the actual stick and rudder differences (which are minimal), the largest difference is standardization, resource management, and advanced systems management. You have a lot of things to pay attention to in the Saab. Watching ITT temps in the various stages of flight, completing the weight and balance and performance numbers in the computer and ensuring they are spit out correctly (you won't have a Vr of 110 at 28,500 lbs TOW... RED FLAG). Now flying with many different personalities, you need to learn also how to read that person next to you. It's important to get a sense of their comfort level, their approach to procedures and flying, and whether they read you correct or not. Learning how they operate changes your approach to flying with each trip. Same goes for the F/A in back. If she is new, takes time with things, etc., you might need to taxi a bit slower, call in back more, and what not.

Another hurdle is learning to properly use all the navigation aids to your disposal. We only have dual VOR/DME/single ADF, however using both NAV 1 and 2, DME hold, and fixing on an NDB can greatly improve your situational awareness. Knowing which EHSI mode to operate in depending on the equipment you are using (the ADF needle gets hidden depending on how you are being vectored while in ARC mode, better to use ROSE mode) is a big part of that situation awareness, as an example.

I think the best way to sum it up is that when you move on to a larger aircraft in scheduled 121 service, you'll find that there is a LOT more to flying than actually flying. Soon the stick and rudder becomes a subconscious thing, and you concentrate your immediate conscious psyche to handling ATC issues, looking for ATC shortcuts to get back on schedule after a delay, handling pax issues, and monitoring the various systems and automation on board.

One last thing: IFR skills are a MUST. You fly by instruments MUCH more in larger aircraft, and without a decent scan and the ability to interpret the instruments in front of you (possibly in a glass format you are not used to) you can get behind. When I was familiarizing some of our instructors at U of I in the B-737 LOFT sim, it was equipped with the same EFIS setup that our Saab has. The EADI has a bank indicator that is reverse of what is found in the Piper and Cessna series attitude indicators, and it was really screwing up the guys flying it who were so used to the alternative. It can be a challenge.

* If this doesn't make sense at some points, sorry, typing fast and didn't proofread
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Wow I assumed that airline pilots are already incredibly current on IFR skills. I guess things have changed!
 

NC_BE300

Well-Known Member
Few things to get used to from the Cessna 310 to the
King Air BE300 was the monitoring of the engine gauges (ITT-etc.), and the hight of the pilots seat from the ground. Where I was flying didn't have the longest/widest runway either, we usually end up using full length, then taxi back. Speed was another thing to get used to. Everything does happen alot faster.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Got a question for you guys. Are the panels in the planes you fly pretty much standard? Does the layout change from plane to plane?
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Part of your training is on "differences" between the aircraft. The 1900s and CRJs were all pretty much identical in layout, although we got to know certain foibles of certain aircraft. Some of the CRJs had been upgraded to FMS 2000 while others had not, but it was a matter of software and not of position of buttons.

The 737-700s at Midway, however, were a different story. There were three of them that were "heavys" meaning they had a much higher gross weight. These had completely different performance figures and procedures. Oddly enough, they had the smaller engines, but (supposedly) beefed up landing gear. The newer 737s had larger engines that had been derated and lower gross weights, but they were identical except for the extra $$$ paid to Boeing for the (supposedly) beefed up landing gear. I did walkarounds and could never see any difference in the gear from plane to plane.

Also, the communications panels were all different. I remarked to a mechanic one day that they could straighten out the panels in these aircraft, you know put the radios in the correct place, along with the transponders and radar control panels. I got a very amused and condescending laugh, "yeah sure we'll get right on it."

I don't know why they weren't put in some standard configuration when they arrived, but that was one screwed up airline anyway!
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
[ QUOTE ]
Wow I assumed that airline pilots are already incredibly current on IFR skills. I guess things have changed!

[/ QUOTE ]

Huh??
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Got a question for you guys. Are the panels in the planes you fly pretty much standard? Does the layout change from plane to plane?

[/ QUOTE ]

All of the -88's are completely standardized, except a few have AHRS instead of IRU's.

All 16 MD-90s are cookie cutter identical.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Wow I assumed that airline pilots are already incredibly current on IFR skills. I guess things have changed!

[/ QUOTE ]

Huh??

[/ QUOTE ]

Here's what you said:

[ QUOTE ]

Another hurdle is learning to properly use all the navigation aids to your disposal. We only have dual VOR/DME/single ADF, however using both NAV 1 and 2, DME hold, and fixing on an NDB can greatly improve your situational awareness. Knowing which EHSI mode to operate in depending on the equipment you are using (the ADF needle gets hidden depending on how you are being vectored while in ARC mode, better to use ROSE mode) is a big part of that situation awareness, as an example.

One last thing: IFR skills are a MUST. You fly by instruments MUCH more in larger aircraft, and without a decent scan and the ability to interpret the instruments in front of you (possibly in a glass format you are not used to) you can get behind. When I was familiarizing some of our instructors at U of I in the B-737 LOFT sim, it was equipped with the same EFIS setup that our Saab has. The EADI has a bank indicator that is reverse of what is found in the Piper and Cessna series attitude indicators, and it was really screwing up the guys flying it who were so used to the alternative. It can be a challenge.


[/ QUOTE ]

I may have misinterpreted you Matt, but it sounded like you were saying your IFR skills were NOT up to snuff when you first transitioned. Now I see you are talking about your students, sorry.

Maybe I expect too much, but when an FO sits down next to me I expect him to be totally familiar with all IFR procedures and the equipment in the aircraft. The procedures should be in place before the interview. The equipment is learned during company training.

If I got you wrong I apologize.
 
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