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I fly every day, so why do I need a practice SIM before my interview?

737 TakeoffThe most important part of a simulator interview ride is how quickly and how well you adapt to an unfamiliar environment and aircraft type. Not many pilots interview on the same type they are currently flying. Everyone can fly an aircraft, but the real question is: ‘How competitive are you?’

40% of pilots will fail the simulator interview ride. They are “hanging onto the tail” and instead of recovering from small mistakes during the session they beat themselves up. Which leaves some pilots feeling like they’ve just blown it, which in most cases they have.

To us it’s devastating when we hear that a candidate has blown the SIM test. Devastating because it is so preventable.

The most common reasons we hear about why pilots don’t do a practice SIM:

  • I have downloaded a computer based Simulator and practiced that profile over and over
  • I have 3000hrs+ and fly every day, my scan is current
  • I can’t find a SIM Centre that has that particular aircraft type
  • I did a sim prep with on an entertainment simulator with a guy that operated it for me, he had a PPL and we just ran over the profile
  • I can’t afford to do a simulator preparation
  • The interview is coming up too soon to organise the practice SIM

If you feel like a “fish out of water” and lack complete situational awareness in the simulator ride you’re not alone. However, this feeling can be totally removed from any simulator interview ride with a small amount of work on YOUR behalf and here’s the clincher: It’s NOT about getting hours on a type specific simulator.

It doesn’t matter what simulator you prepare on, if that preparation isn’t to assist in the adaptability to any simulator ride. You need to develop the skills to adapt to any simulator, any profile and any environment.

It is essential to spend time with a qualified, experienced Training Captain.  The information that they will give you about scan, attitude and CRM is invaluable:

  • Your core flying skills, cognitive ability and personal attributes are being assessed, not how well you fly that particular type.
  • It is not often that you will be tested on the aircraft type you currently fly, so the tolerances will differ.
  • Many of you will be facing a glass cockpit for the first time.
  • Many of you will not be trained in the CRM protocols.

Many airlines are now giving as little as 1-2 weeks notice of interview, that doesn’t leave much time to prepare on all 4 levels of testing.  So…. If you have an application in with the airline of dreams, start your preparation EARLY, if you wait until you get the interview it may be too late.

For most being a pilot and having a long, successful career has been a dream since they were very little. Don’t leave anything to chance.

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