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AFTA Flight Instructor to VistaJet Flight Deck – Andrew Mallon (Part 2)

Hello Folks. Welcome back to the blog. I’ve been pretty busy since the previous post, where I had just finished the induction week with VistaJet. I have since completed my type rating training for the Cessna Citation XLS.

Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable experience, completed in the UK. But in the life of a pilot, the learning is never completed. First of all, we started with 2 weeks of ground school, where we learned about all the systems, technical aspects and all the theory we would need to know about the aircraft. This was a lot of new information that required our own study, in our free time, for the theory exam to be completed before beginning the simulator sessions. Thankfully we passed this with flying colours thanks to the excellent instructors who were very helpful along the way and always willing to answer any questions. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to visit one of the aircraft, both to see what we had been learning about and to become somewhat familiar with the aircraft before beginning the simulator sessions.

The simulator sessions were good fun. Completed in a full motion simulator, instructed using VistaJet procedures to better prepare us for the career ahead. In total we had 8 simulator sessions of 4 hours each, putting the procedures and memory checklists that we had been studying into practice as well as we could. Many of the simulator sessions were quite exciting, learning how to manage unlikely emergency scenarios such as engine failures before and after take-off, fires and various other system failures. These were quite tiring, both mentally and physically as this was my first type rating. It was interesting though as we had the opportunity to experience some very unlikely failures and how to manage them. Finally at the end of the simulator sessions, we had the skills test, completed by a current VistaJet captain on the fleet. Overall, it went successfully considering my limited experience.

As well as the technical skills that were taught, it also allowed me an insight into working as a team in a multi crew environment which is still a pretty new concept to me, however, I felt that my previous role as an instructor helped with this. There is still improvement to be made but so far, I am happy with my progress.

After the simulator skills test, the final part of the training was the base training which would be the first time we would fly the aircraft for real. The aim here is to successfully take off and complete 6 successful landings and a full go around procedure. We had a plan to complete this in Cornwall. Unfortunately, the morning of the training, we decided that the weather would not be suitable. We reviewed some alternative airports and after some changes to the plan, myself, my type rating partner, the training and safety captain departed for Shannon. This was a nice flight, my first flight on a business jet and we flew right over my previous base in Waterford which gave some beautiful views. The weather over Ireland was perfect flying conditions which really helped. The real aircraft feels quite different to the simulator we had trained on. However, this was definitely an enjoyable experience and a day to be remembered. Life as a business jet pilot doesn’t end at the flying though. On the return journey once we entered the cruise, we helped out, cleaning and vacuuming the cabin before the next flight, securing the aircraft on the ground after landing in Oxford, completing the relevant paperwork and returning home.

This was both an enjoyable and tiring experience. I feel more confident now however in handling the aircraft. First type rating completed. Now all that is left for me, to wait on my licence application to return before starting with the line training.