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the next day to expose the overnight
call as the wrong one. It didn't help
my case when word came the village
medic held things together nicely until
a commercial fixed wing operator made
the transfer routinely at daybreak, mom
and baby doing fine at the hospital.
A more experienced pilot I respected
stepped in discreetly to shut me up
on the subject. He said can-go versus
can't go is the easy part. If there are
regulatory, procedural, equipment, or
crew showstoppers, it's easy: can't go.
But more often, nothing's indicating a
hard-stop, so it's CAN go, and that's the
end of the easy part. The process can't
stop there and actually shouldn't stop
at all. The next layer is SHOULD you go,
and after that, if you take off, should
you KEEP going. Left to my own devices
I would have flown a very expensive
aircraft in marginal weather, low level,
into mountainous, remote terrain at
night, smack in the middle of its crew's
circadian low window. I would have
applied an elevated risk solution to a
task that didn't merit one. It's like giving
away safety margin for free and getting
no balancing gain back in return. That's
not a safe-or even rational-way to
really, anything).
I didn't know the people involved in the
PC-12 or Citation mishaps and I don't
know the specific details of their missions.
But the optic of families in transit over
holiday periods lends a sense these were
not urgent situations and there was some
discretion space available on when or if
to take off. I've suffered snow-blindness
in that challenging zone between "cango" and "should go" and my friend and
mentor was right: it's a tough area to
navigate and we can all be susceptible.
There are some days, and some hours,
when you can go, but you shouldn't. A
vital part of every pilot's job is to remain
mindful of risk versus gain and know
which one is greater.
Fly smart and fly safe.

Paul Ratté
Director of Aviation Safety Programs, USAIG



Most civilians pursuing a professional piloting career likely have training time with
a flight-training device, be it a desktop screen with controls, a fixed Frasca, or an
articulated Redbird. In pilot vernacular, they all are simulators, sim for short. Most
of them replicate a generic piston-powered airplane and its systems and operating
procedures, making it a safe, effective, and economic tool for introducing normal and
emergency operations.
Providers of turbine training, such as FlightSafety International, Simcom Aviation Training,
and CAE, employ make and model specific full-motion simulators of a fidelity that
qualifies them for a type rating checkride. Training providers work closely with aircraft
manufacturers to ensure the training programs inculcate each airplane's current systems
and procedures, said Steve Phillips, FlightSafety's vice president of communications. Like
the simulators employed, the "FAA and appropriate aviation authorities around the world
review and certify" each training program.
Whether it has props or a fan, turbine sim training is collectively a multi-component
training program. Aspiring pilots just don't show up, pay their tuition, and jump into a
simulator. If they meet the aircraft's piloting experience prerequisites (assessed one-onone with individual students or through the employer's hiring process), they first attend
ground school.
Employing multimedia presentations and technology, instructors teach students
about each of the airplane's installed systems, how they work and how they work
with the airplane's other systems. Students learn how those systems fail, the
indications and consequences of those failures, and how the failure of one system
affects the operation of others.
In concert with this, the students, working as a crew of two, learn the normal and
emergency procedures needed to operate the turbine aircraft safely. Depending on the
training program, this education takes place in the classroom, in a cockpit procedure
trainer (where they start building the muscle memory that supports their cognitive
commands), and in the simulator. After demonstrating normal operating proficiency, each
simulator flight gets more interesting and involved as the instructor operating the sim
presents the crew with different meteorological and system challenges.
A type rating is the diploma of initial turbine training, but it is not the end of training.
Recurrent training is equally important. Beyond highlighting any new or changed systems
or procedures for the airplane, recurrent training exercises and evaluates a pilot's
knowledge and skills that can quickly atrophy in failure-free daily operations. Specialty
programs, such as upset or unusual attitude training are equally important.


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