Before they progress to the real thing, FIT Aviation students training for jobs as Turkish Airlines pilots must earn the right to move on by showing they know their “flows.”
Using a fixed-based training device known as a Cockpit Procedures Trainer that mimics the look of a jet cockpit, the students familiarize themselves with jets they will fly. For students in the Turkish Airlines program, the cockpit is a model of an Airbus A320.
There are about 350 things to check before a commercial jet takes off, noted Peter Dunn, assistant professor at FIT Aviation and a former commercial airline pilot. And there are the unexpected events, as well, that students practice on the device.
Spending a minimum of 30 hours in trainer, the students will go through scans, touch drills and what pilots call “flows,” or a system of checks prior to taking off, until every button, switch, knob and gauge is committed to muscle memory.
“Flying a jet is like being in a play,” Dunn said. “You have to remember your lines.”
Fred Breier, manager of FIT Aviation’s Simulation and Technology Center, and Ron Mock, Flight Simulator Technician, built the trainer, which can be refit to represent other plane cockpits.