Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Running With The Big Dogs: A Jet Experience

“Flying Like The Pros” shows GA pilots big-cockpit methods and techniques

Drinking From The Fire Hose
Flying a jet is an intimidating thing for a stick-and-rudder guy like me. Even the walkaround leaves you scratching your head as this magnificent streamlined beast looms before you like an ultramodern totem. But it's not until you strap in that you realize the coolness of what you're about to do.

In many ways, jets are easier. There's no torque or P-factor. In the Mustang, there's no mixture or prop controls or cowl flaps; FADEC takes care of all that. But jets have more systems to manage. In the Mustang, the Garmin G1000 is where everything happens, so getting intimate with it is essential.

The Flying Like The Pros concept begins even before startup. Checklists and callouts are done more thoroughly than typical. For example, when approaching a runway that needs to be crossed, the pilot turns on strobes and exterior lights, looks diligently both ways, calls out, "Clear left, clear on the right," then waits for the copilot to confirm before crossing the runway. The takeoff is preceded by, "Runway xx confirmed and matches HSI heading." At its core, it's a more precise and disciplined way of managing the cockpit.

Nothing prepares you for your first jet takeoff from the left seat, when the whine of the turbines becomes focused and sharp, and you feel the power of the airplane travel from the throttles into your whole body. Once the agile Mustang is in the air, things happen faster than in a piston, though pilots used to aircraft like the Cirrus will feel at home immediately because the speeds are similar, and the G1000 is the great equalizer on the panel.

On board also today is Master CFI, Cirrus instructor and MossY's colleague Peter King, and we go through three hours of air work. Particularly fun were the "high dives," which are simulated sudden-decompression scenarios. You climb to altitude, and MossY shouts, "Bang!" You put on your oxygen mask and get down FAST. You close the throttles, put out the speed brakes and gear, crank the Mustang over on its side, and dive down to a breathable altitude. The maneuver requires special clearance from approach control, and watching the rising sun at tilt-a-whirl angles is a better wake-up elixir than any coffee I know of.

The Courses
Although this could be any typical jet instruction scenario, what makes Flying Like The Pros ( different is MossY's instructing style and his techniques. Apart from being unflinchingly calm and confident, MossY drives you to become a better pilot without you even knowing it. He not only shows you how to do something, but how to do it better.

The FLTP system consists of video courses that stand out from what's available today. They were created with an elite group of professional ATP-rated pilots handpicked by MossY. Each curriculum is less of a standard lesson than it is flying actual scenarios with the best pilot you can imagine sitting right seat. The concept is geared toward GA pilots, and though the courses don't currently include primary flight training, the techniques and methods taught would provide a solid training foundation.


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