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Sim Time for Airline Pilots

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Well-known member
Jan 30, 2002
Just wondering how Simulator time works for airline pilots. Say I am already employed and a Capt. in an airline and just want to practice say a procedure for an upcoming line check/ sim eval - can I access the training simulators? What if I get into an airline as a 737 F/O and just want to know how it feels to fly say a 747- can I just jump into the sim and do it?

How does this work?

Very childish question but I am curious.

I'm not sure how much has changed due of the recent events but several companies would rent sim time to airline pilots to get the feel of other aircraft prior to interviews. I have rented DC9 sim time from USAIR in Pittsburgh and B727 time from NATCO in Minneapolis and TWA in N.Y. It was expensive but worth the $$ to go into the interview prepaired.

As far as getting sim time from your current airline in a different aircraft, I would say the official answer would be 'NO.' With that said, being nice to the sim techs gets you a long way. I have got to fly an A300, B757 and MD11 just by asking. Many sim techs are required to 'fly' the sims at night to check the operating systems. If your hanging around late and ask the right people, there's a chance.

As far as getting extra training and practicing certain procedures prior to a check ride, most training departments strictly control the amount of sim time each candidate is allowed. This is done so every pilot has the same chances to pass training. If one got more than another, without documentation, the airline would be setting itself up for a lawsuit.
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Richard is correct. If you really wanted to get a little "fun" time in the box, you could hang out late at night and get to know the sim tech's at your airline.

I also agree that getting some real sim time to prep for an interview is worth it's weight in gold. Each box has its own feel, some of the old ones don't fly at all, some of the new ones are pretty darn good. Spending some money for the sim prep will pay for itself a thousands times when you get the job!

Generally speaking, the simulators are pretty busy. Our contract requires that we get the daytime use of the box. New hires get checked at O-Dark-Thirty in the morning, and the company rents the box to other users at night - so there isn't much unused time in a day.

As far as check rides. They have "first look" maneuvers that you are being evaluated on such as V1 cuts, Non-precision approach (one or two engine), engine out landing, engine failure during a missed approach, rejected takeoff, and Cat II. They want to see how you do on this stuff coming into the box, pretty much cold. If you were to get some sim time before going to recurrent training, it would defeat the purpose of first look maneuvers and skew the data they collect from it.
Going to recurrent is stressful, but it can be fun once you get in the groove and relax a little. Besides, I've never crashed a simulator so bad that I couldn't walk away from it!

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