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Why B737 type rating now? Post 2


New member
Jul 12, 2002
Total Time
Forum: Aviation Interview Board
Poster: Snoopy 58
Date: 7/10/2001 10:50:17 PM (Eastern)

I just finished getting my 737 type with HPA, and recommend it highly. Well-run outfit, very squared away, excellent instructors, and very well connected to Southwest and much of the rest of the airline industry there in Dallas.

They send you the flight manuals as soon as you're enrolled; there is a home-study syllabus to prepare you for class. Getting the big picture of 737 systems ahead of time was about equal parts preparation and motivation, in my case. The program starts with a week of academics, daily 8 - 5 with an hour for lunch. Our primary instructor also instructs simulators for a major airline, and was one of the best teachers I've seen in a long time -- could really explain the material, and when you had a question, listen to your question to determine where the disconnect was for YOU so he could explain exactly what YOU needed to know -- not just repeating the presentation using different words. We also had a couple substitute instructors due to a family emergency -- one a Southwest pilot (and boy did we pick his brains at lunch that day!), and one a pilot for another major who was medically grounded for a while. Both were very good as well, and HPA has a syllabus that is structured so the substitutes can cover the info effectively.

After the academics, there is one day set aside for the oral, which is partly a slideshow on the outside of the airplane, and partly sitting at a CPT. You see the slideshow in class a couple times, so you're pretty well prepared for the "what's this device here" questions, and our evaluator, at least, used the slide show as a chance to jump off into the systems a bit -- "right, that's the standby hydraulic reservoir. Okay, what systems can it power?" After the slide show, which is tag teamed between you & your sim partner, you get about an hour or two of individual eval in the CPT. I felt very well prepared for the oral; HPA knows how to teach the material to a level that you're able to handle pretty much everything that they might possibly ask you.

After the oral, you start the simulator the next day. There are 5 sims, 4 hours each, 2 hours in the left seat and 2 in the right seat. The check ride and training is all aimed at the left seat, and the check itself is with a qualified guy in the right seat (generally a grad from HPA who comes back, gets some observation rides, and does "right seat support" for them -- they know the profile pretty well). Anyway, you fly from the left seat and run systems from the right -- the only flying you do from the right seat is to take the plane while your partner changes approach plates. You pay for your left seat time only; the right seat time is a "bonus." Total time is 12 hours left seat, 10 hours right seat (including the check ride -- 2 hours in the left seat). Except for the check itself, you're paired with the same guy throughout.

They tell you in advance that there is a steep learning curve, with lots of progress between rides, and they're right. I went in to the check feeling comfortable I could pass it based on my ride 5, and the learning curve kept going, so it turned out to be a much better ride than I'd anticipated, even with a couple curve balls thrown in. This was also my ATP practical, and I felt FAR better taking such a major check ride in a machine I'd studied for a week and flown for a week instead of in a Seminole that I'd never flown before yesterday. When I took my ATP written, I watched a guy going out for such a check, and he was praying for nothing different on the check that he'd seen in training. With the preparation from HPA, I was comfortable going into the check ride, and very pleased coming out.

HPA lets anybody who has been through the course before sit in on the classes to brush up on systems before starting training at Southwest or where-ever, so we ended up with 5 or 6 in class with us most days. Of our 4, two are military, one is ex-military and flying for a fractional, and one is purely civilian experience. All 4 are interested in Southwest, one is already hired pending getting the type. Good group of guys.

HPA trains the majority of Southwest new hires, they told us, and they have excellent contacts and insight into the process. One of the SWA "People Department" (i.e. H.R.) leaders came and spoke while I was there, talking about the process and Southwest and answering questions. This board and WFFF are excellent sources of info, but it was definitely good to have the gouge from here confirmed by a firsthand source.

Overall, I highly recommend Higher Power to anyone interested in getting a 737 type rating. They know how to thoroughly prepare you for the oral and the sim check, and their results validate their methods. They are a great group of people to work with and learn from, and they definitely treat you right -- to the point of calling me a couple weeks before class just to ask if I had any questions and confirm that I was on the right track with the home-study. If anybody has any questions for me, please feel free to post here!

Also, the question has come up about how quickly you can accomplish the training. All the schools that I've seen are about 2 weeks, give or take (maybe 12 or 13 days). It's not unusual to split the academics and the sim, so about a week of academics followed by the oral, then later your sim sessions (about 5 and a check, generally). This is done to accommodate guys who can't get 2 weeks of vacation/leave all at once, or for holidays, or whatever. Seems like most of the type schools are pretty accommodating in this regard (heck, at $7k per dude, they should be). Bottom line, they know their students want to get things done as quickly as possible, and 12-14 days is about as fast as you can reasonably do it. However, pretty much all of these programs are going to assume a few things about you. First, they cater to people who have a need for the type rating, which usually means an interest in or an offer from Southwest Airlines. People like this all have 1000 turbine PIC (or close to it), and tend to be proficient flying instruments. They also generally have the qualifications to go the "sim only" route. This is what any quote of $7000 or so is based on. If you can't go "sim only" and need the checkride in the jet, you'll pay more. Anybody hired by SWA almost certainly can go sim only, though I don't remember the exact numbers required. HPA or probably any school can explain it to you over the phone.

People getting the type generally are doing to either during time off from work, or waiting to start work when they finish it. Either way, time is at a premium, so nobody is going to get much interest in a leisurely 30 day course. Two weeks is a reasonable time to complete the training, but it is an intense two weeks (not unlike airline training, military flight school, etc). Also, having the 80 hours home study beforehand makes for less time needed covering the basics. I can't speak for anyplace besides Higher Power, but the course was not what I'd consider a "cram" course. No lollygagging around, you study and go to class or sim right through the weekends (though the rest of the day after your oral exam halfway through you have off), but you know your stuff when you're done.

As for the flying, 5 rides at 4 hours each (half flying, half right seat PNF duties) is generally adequate preparation for the check ride. I'm a competent instrument pilot, but I've never ever been a "hands of gold" type of guy, and the airplane I fly now is a world away from the 737 in terms of climb performance, engine out handling, etc, and I did fine. My sim partner came from flying Beachjets for many years, and he also had no problems with the flying. Your mileage may vary. Guys who do the type on a lark (6000 hours of Navajo time) may not have the time in big airplanes that they need to be ready it in 5 rides, but they're not in the mainstream of students.

As far as HPA getting you into class quickly, you're probably in the same boat as most of their students (ready to get the type ASAP); call them & ask what the soonest is you can start. If you can get a short notice class, be SURE you study the right stuff: in the packet they send you with the manuals and such, there is a test, something like 100 or 200 questions. STUDY THIS! First day of class, you take a test that is a subset of this one, and you MUST make an 80(?) percent, or else you have to sit through twice the academics.

Learn the major systems for concepts, study the ops limits on the sheet so you can fill it out without much trouble, know the steps of the boldface (don't worry too much about being "letter perfect" on those -- Engine Fire Warning Switch is a mouthful, and Fire Handle works fine instead). Don't stress about numbers that aren't on the ops limits sheet, some matter, some don't, and you'll have plenty of time in class to sort out which ones the examiners care about. But STUDY THE PRE-TEST!!! Single most important thing!

Understanding why something is the right answer is good, but not busting that test the first day will save you untold heartache. They teach the stuff really well; you could almost walk in cold & take the course and do fine, but if you don't get the 80% then you have to take academics all the way through (i.e. AM sim, PM class instead of half the day off to study on your own once you start the sims) and your ground eval happens the same day as the sim instead of at the end of academics before the sims start. Did I mention that passing the pre-test is a big deal?

The good news is, the test isn't too hard. Memorize the answers to those questions, and you're golden.


...recognize this?
Mar 31, 2002
Total Time
good god...thats the longest dang post ive ever seen :eek: