My prediction about last week’s weather turned out to be true: it was poor flying weather. If I had stayed in Dubuque I probably wouldn’t have flown. It’s been cloudy, rainy, snowy, and windy. I thought maybe I would fly today during my flight block. But a freak winter mess passed through with a warm front! Snow wasn’t in the forecast, but it snowed hard enough this afternoon to cancel my lesson.
Tonight was my first simulator session for my crew resource management (CRM) class. There are nine people in my class (myself the only female). We were paired up and given an assignment of creating checklists for our simulator in multiengine configuration. The checklists had to state the actions of both the pilot flying (PF) and pilot not flying (PNF). Then we were briefed on our mission, which would be a simulated empty repositioning flight of a Piper Navajo from St. Paul Downtown (Minnesota) to Dubuque. We had to fly using IFR charts and procedures. Tonight, I was the PNF and my classmate Bryce was the PF. We briefed each other on what would happen, then briefed Steve, our professor. Bryce and I took our seats in the AST Hawk 201. Steve sat behind us at the computer. Bryce concentrated on flying. I had to read checklists, monitor systems, navigate, and pretend to talk to air traffic control. Steve threw all kinds of situations at us. Circuit breakers popped, fuel leaked, an HSI failed, an engine failed, and our landing gear failed. Not only was our simulated airplane falling apart; we had to deal with several changes of plan! Steve diverted us, put us in a nonradar environment, gave us a hold, and gave us incorrect clearances. Now add to all this the difficulty of fumbling through a stack of maps, papers, and approach plates while trying to simultaneously enter information into the radios and GPS! It was an hour of high stress. Bryce and I learned a lot. We had to work hard to communicate well. We’ll discuss what we learned with other groups in class soon. There are more simulator sessions to come.