When I asked Brannon if a lot of the applicants coming in for their first type rating were apprehensive about the prospects, he chuckled and said that nearly every one was. But the message he gave is the same message that I’ve come away with. Top-notch training providers are there not to push their students to the point of failing but to do just the opposite, to help them succeed. They do so with overwhelming success.
The bottom line is this: If you’re a serious pilot and want a type rating, you can do it. It’s not easy; in fact, at times — like when that second hand-flown single-engine ILS to minimums ends in yet another missed approach — it takes a tough minded pilot indeed not to think how nice a two-engine landing would be.
But in the end, the ticket and the skills gained in getting it make the effort all worthwhile.
After speaking with pilots who have earned a type rating and several instructors who have guided hundreds of people to that same goal, it becomes clear that while everyone’s story is different, there are some things that any pilot can and should do to make the experience a success.
• Take the long route. There’s no way for a newbie to really understand the principles behind jets, so avoid the temptation to take an accelerated course.
• Dedicate yourself. Don’t try to stay up with office work while you’re training. Instead, dedicate your days to working at the training center, your evenings to hitting the books and the rest of your time to getting some shut-eye.
• Study ahead of time. Most training providers will send you your books before you begin your course. Get to know the airplane, its performance and its systems. Sure, some of it will seem confusing without the instructor’s wisdom to guide you, but any head start you can get will help you once you’re at the center and elbows deep in systems.
• Don’t commute. If you can afford to be away from home to do the training, by all means do it. Being away from home and office means setting your mind to the task at hand, getting that type rating.
• Make peace with the simulator. Yes, sims fly differently than airplanes do. Don’t fight that fact; benefit from it. Learn to let the machine do as much of the work for you as possible and spend your energy elsewhere. You’ll need every ounce.