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How thoroughly are pilots being checked?

 

Very thoroughly. I have not come across any professions that are being subjected to such stringent tests once in every 6 months. The duration of the checks is about two days. 

Personally, I think this is a necessary routine to keep pilots hone on their flying skills as hundred of lives are in their hands should they make a mistake. In the simulator, one learn from one mistakes but no lives are being lost.

Every Airline has a different check profile but they would all include some of the mandatory exercises stipulated by their country's Civil Aviation Department.

A sample of a Pilot's Check Flight  would include the following:-

  1. Technical Knowledge (Oral)

     

    • Aircraft Systems
    • Meteorology
    • Memory items on all Emergency procedures
    • Aircraft Limitations
    • Any latest amendments or procedures in flying
    • Any aviation matters

  2. Line Orientation Flight Training

    A simulated flight profile over a specific route with many emergencies thrown in to see how the pilot handle the situation.

    Some of the mandatory exercises given include the following:-

    • Systems failures, example, hydraulics, electrical, navigation equipment, etc
    • Loss of pressurization caused by an explosion
    • Loss of an engine followed by a diversion
    • Landing Gears collapsed followed by a passenger evacuation drill
    • Landings in severe wind shear or strong cross winds
    • Any other emergencies as and when the examiner feels that certain training are necessary

  3. Certificate of Test

    The mandatory checks would include:-

    • Aborted take off
    • Engine failure after take off
    • Single engine go around
    • Single engine landing

  4. All Weather Operations (Automatic Landing Procedures in bad weather)

    Mandatory exercises would include the following:-

    • Aborted take off
    • Engine Failure after take off
    • Going around on single engine
    • Automatic landing in poor visibility with one engine
    • Co-pilot taking over controls when the Captain is incapacitated (example heart attack)

  5. Instrument Rating Test

    • Test proficiency on the manual handling of the aircraft without the aid of the Auto pilot with an engine failure and going around in bad weather.
    • Carry out an Instrument Approach using an Instrument Landing System in bad weather.

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