Just got home after another session in the Flight Experience B737-800 fixed base simulator. While another great time, it was a major wake up call for me as my landings were abysmal.
We had planned to spend 1.5 to 2 hours in the sim flying around Hawaii (PHNL -> PHOG -> PHKO -> PHTO -> PHNL) in “real time” with as quick on the ground as we could be. Well, it wound up taking us 4 hours because:
- We need to speed up our FMC route programming
- We weren’t transiting between the islands at best speeds
- We should have used a shorter, more direct route from PHNL to PHOG
- I had to abort my landing into PHOG then staggered around back onto the approach for a low & slow run into a rather dodgy landing
- Carlo (my co-captain) wound up doing a long, slow “drag it in” approach into PHKO from way out
- I completely screwed up the landing into PHTO and, in fact, crashed short (not helped at all by Carlo deciding to shut down an engine on me just as I was getting into the groove on the ILS)
- Carlo went out to get water & nibbles while on the ground at PHTO (hey, we’re dead, we can do this, OK?)
So, we could have done this a LOT better and we have a few ideas to speed things up on the next one:
- Have drinks and nibbles ready before hand (but only eat in the galley area during flight, not on the ground)
- No breaks on landing – start reprogramming as soon as we’ve done the shutdown checklist
- Have the waypoints listed in a better format
- Don’t forget to bring in the printed out route maps, STARs, airport diagrams, etc (yeah, I forgot them and had to reprint before we could start – DOH!)
- Push for faster cruise speeds where possible (0.75M at least)
- Fly a better approach (yes, that’s my issue once again)
- Save the inflight emergencies for when we’re a LOT better at this
We figure if we can do that, we’ll fly a tighter, faster run and come in much closer to expected times. Lots of lessons learned tonight – plus a reminder that I need to find a bit more time to study the panel layouts and autopilot modes. Still, I must admit I was a LOT better by the end and was finding my way around the panels faster plus my landing back into PHNL was actually not too bad (even with a head wind grabbing us in the last 300 feet or so).
Al up, it was another great fun time and we once again got to pretend that we knew what we were doing. You really can get caught up in it all and let the magic take you away. With a few more sessions, I may even be able to make a few acceptable landings in a row.