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Every student pilot looks forward to the moment they board an airplane as an airline pilot for the first time. But before that, one more phenomenal “first-time” experience comes – base training. It stands for 4 or 6 take-offs and landings that students complete in a real aircraft as the final part of their Type Rating. After that, they are given an official right to fly commercial jets. Waiting for the first chance to get your hands on the real thing – the aircraft itself – can be pretty stressful! Therefore, we’ve prepared some tips so that you feel fully ready when you get to the cockpit!
Tip 1. Think several steps ahead.
If possible, we recommend doing your base training with the same training provider you get your Type Rating from, as it will simplify things for you. It’s not uncommon that students go all the way long until the Type Rating with one training provider and then suddenly discover they have to look for base training in a different location just because their flight school does not provide such a service. Spending your precious time on “administrative” stuff will not put you in a winning position. Instead, it is time you could have spent more efficiently – honing your piloting skills, for instance. BAA Training will do the job for you and organize base training as a complementary part of Boeing 737NG, Boeing 737 CL and Airbus A320 Type Rating programs.
Tip 2. Panicking? Go first.
Typically, base training is conducted for a small group of four students who have to wait for each other to do their part. If you feel waiting is causing tension for you, consider going first if such an opportunity exists. But please be advised that by solving one problem this way, you will encounter another one. The first one to go takes responsibility for the whole preparation, a flight management system setup, asking for a clearance, briefings, etc. Also, you won’t be able to observe the other trainees. However, having accepted the challenge, you will also learn more and get relieved much quicker!
Tip 3. Just do what you’ve learnt.
If your next stage is base training, that implies you are well-acquainted with a full flight simulator and knowledgeable enough to take off and land. The simulator is very similar to the real aircraft, and you should find nothing shocking about the flight deck and the entire process. Therefore, wrap your head around the fact that it’s a reality now, recollect everything you have learnt and proceed. Nevertheless, remember that no matter how advanced the simulator is, it’s never absolutely the same as a real aircraft. Imagine how different it’s going to feel when you look out the window, and instead of seeing a simulator wall, you will see a wing sticking out!
Tip 4. Be cautious at all times.
Every time you line up for take-off, always be alert and check the current weather, the runway characteristics and obstacles. Also, mentally recall the procedure in case of engine failure. It will keep your situational awareness high, and nothing will take you by surprise if something goes wrong. Remember that you have experience dealing with the unexpected scenarios practiced in the simulator, so remaining cool-headed is the best thing you can do. When you prepare for landing, you should be aware of the facts like wind direction, temperature, runway condition and whatever else affecting the efficiency of your landing.
Tip 5. Don’t be afraid of a go-around.
A decision to go-around might be taken for multiple reasons. Although it happens rarely, there might be some traffic contention on the landing runway. For example, a landing aircraft ahead may fail to vacate the runway fast enough, or something else might be squirreled about the touchdown. In this case, the wisest decision a pilot can take is to go-around.
Tip 6. Flying is a blast – remember to enjoy it!
Years of hard work, all for this moment. Do you want to greet this moment of pride all shaking, or do you want to get the most out of it? Flying a beast is a fantastic feeling, so don‘t forget to smile and enjoy the moment!
Base training will be a more easily accomplishable task if you put your maximum effort into the entire Type Rating course and absorb as much knowledge as you can. Systematic studying from early stages will lead you to great success during your Base training!