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Ryanair Mentored Cadet Blog – Hugh Maguire (Part 6)

Thrilled after my first flight in the real aircraft

Hi all, welcome back. I’ve finished all my flying and it’s such a strange feeling. The last module to complete is the MEIR (Multi Engine Instrument Rating). For this I switched to the Diamond DA42 Twin Star. The Diamond is a high tech aircraft fitted with the Garmin G1000, similar to those seen on the Cessna’s at AFTA.

Where the Seneca had ten levers to control the engines, this only has two, a lot of what I had learnt in the Seneca about manually adjusting the engine parameters are taken by the on board computer in the Diamond. This makes for less time spent on engine management, and more on other things.

<– Thrilled after my first flight in the real aircraft.

With the technology available on the Diamond, we learn how to use it to our advantage. Especially when the cockpit becomes particularly busy, the use of the autopilot is a great tool to have at our disposal. I can be talking to ATC (Air Traffic Control), or setting up an approach on the G1000, etc., and the autopilot can do the basic things like hold a heading and altitude. We spoke in the blog about SEIR (Single Engine Instrument Rating) having a “full bucket”, and having the autopilot allows that capacity to grow further.

The MEIR module is similar to the SEIR module in many aspects, but it also takes aspects of the CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence) too. The most challenging aspect I found of the module was the one engine inoperative approaches. We begin the MEIR module in the simulator where the instructor can fail the engine for any reason, and they often will fail it without warning. This is a really useful exercise, and we can complete all the checks and airborne restarts in the simulator. In the real aircraft we cannot do this to the same degree for safety reasons, so we do simulated engine failures with the throttle back at idle. When flying with only one engine operating, it gives a significant amount of asymmetric thrust making the aircraft want to turn all the time. Flying an approach with one engine inoperative can be tricky, especially with the winds in Cork, but all these aspects help make for a better pilot. No autopilot or rudder trim are allowed for these approaches.

A large part of the MEIR module is also planning flights to the UK, but unfortunately we don’t actually fly there. The airspace is significantly more complicated, with countless areas to be aware of when planning a flight, including airports and military danger areas. These are the kinds of the flights we’ll be doing after training has completed, so knowing and understanding the planning process of how to safely navigate our way through is of huge benefit.

Thankfully I passed the assessment at the end of the module and I am officially rated to fly in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions). See the photo below for a good example of IMC where the view in front and below is blocked by the clouds. This is where a good understanding of the use of navaids is very important.

Now I’m moving forward to begin the Ryanair APS/MCC (Airline Pilot Standards/Multi Crew Coordination) in the Boeing 737 simulator. I’m really looking forward to it, I know it’ll be a challenge, but also greatly beneficial. All the best!