Aviation Insider helps candidates for airline simulator & interview Preparation

Aviation Insider helps candidates for airline simulator & interview Preparation. We have targeted training profiles for all the major European airlines. Aviation Insider offers the highest standard of training, provided by current line pilots and trainers. You’ll have a team dedicated to your personal development and access to a varied fleet of simulators, including the 737 classic and NG, A320, a330, 747, 757, 767, E195, E135, E145.

Getting in the right-hand seat of an airline can be a bit of a daunting challenge, preparing with Aviation Insider will give you the best advantage by being familiar with procedures before your simulator assessment. All of our instructors are current line Pilots and have decades of experience to help guide you and pass on their wealth of knowledge.

We’re passionate about what we do and about making sure your experience with us is an exceptional one. We provide an outstanding service to our clients and attention to detail is our strong point!

Basic requirements on how to become an FAA Pilot in the USA.

Basic requirements on how to become an FAA Pilot in the USA. Flying across the world, controlling a huge refined aircraft may be a dream for some. While it’s a rewarding and very exciting job, many people wonder how exactly does one become a glamorous pilot. The process takes time, dedication, and a good chunk of change. As long as you are committed, the dream of driving in the sky can be yours. There are several different ways one can become a pilot as stated below.


Getting a four-year college degree may benefit you in the long run. A degree is not needed to fly for a regional airline in the United States, but it is necessary for a major US airline. A Bachelor of Science is preferred with emphasis in aviation, but it’s not necessary.

Obtaining your initial Class 1 Medical is required for anyone wishing to train for any commercial airline. Contrary to popular belief, you can fly for an airline while wearing glasses or contacts as long as your vision is corrected to 20/20.

Be well aware that becoming an Airline pilot is a huge financial investment. Make sure that you monetarily prepared and committed. Depending on where you chose to go to flight school, it could cost between $100,000-$150,000.


Research and look around your local area for a good flight school and a flight instructor. You will now start working on your private pilot certificate. The current minimum flight time according to FAA is 40 hours. It may be desirable to complete 60 hours.

After earning your private pilot license, you can begin your instrument rating and your commercial certificate. For an instrument rating, you will need 50 hours as a pilot in command and 40 hours of simulated conditions. For a commercial certificate, however, you will need a total of 250 hours.

 Now you will need to complete your certified flight instructor rating and begin working at the flight school. Pilots need experience to qualify for your license so working for a flight school is useful. To qualify for a FAA license, you must also be 18 years old and earned 250 hours of flight experience.


With all the proper ratings and 1,500 hours of flight time, you are now eligible to work for regional airlines. In order to work for a major airline, you will need about 3,000 hours of total flight time.

Many pilots begin their career teaching as flight instructors as well. Other take on assignments with charter planes or end up going private.

Within airlines, pilots start off as a first officer and then advance to captain. Depending on your contract and airline, many pilots move up to captain within 5-10 years. Gaining seniority will also help with your flight assignments. Usually, you will start off as a reserve and be on call for flights while getting an actual schedule will help you organize a more structured life schedule.


This might be the best time to get started on your license to become a pilot. The current projection is that there will be a shortage of pilots between 2018-2030. Many of these pilots will be needed in the Asia-Pacific area due to expansion plans with several airlines including the famous airline, Emirates. Pilots also have strict age and health requirements that force a large number of pilots to retire. Females also make up a very small percentage of pilots in general so airlines will be on the lookout.

It’s important to remember that the industry is still very competitive. Make sure to do your research and prepare as best as possible before beginning this new career. It will take time, effort, money, and commitment but it is definitely doable and will pay off in the long run.

Basic requirements on how to become an FAA Pilot in the USA.

Passing your airline interview and simulator assessment


The complete guide to passing your airline interview and simulator assessment, this FREE article will help enable you to get the best results possible for your airline interview or simulator preparation, covering everything from your application all the way through to your simulator check. This article has been written by the team at AviationInsider who consist of pilots, instructors and recruitment specialists working for major European national, business, leisure and low cost carriers
AviationInsider are here to assist you in any way they can.

So you’re in the job market, AviationInsider can help you with that.

Once your CV has been accepted and/or an application form has been submitted, the next most likely step is an invite to an assessment centre. Being invited to an assessment centre can be a scary prospect. There are many urban myths about the types of exercises you might face and how the assessors reach their decisions. In the following pages we will try to dispel these myths and explain what the assessors are actually looking for. This article aims to teach you the methods and core skills for tackling any exercise or question that comes your way. Practice makes perfect.

Assessments are often conducted in house at the company’s offices but may also take place online. Assessments often consist of a series of structured, timed exercises which are designed to simulate the kind of activities you would undertake in the job itself and test the core skills required to do it, these could include:

Presentations (Individual or Group)
Role Plays
Group discussions and tasks
Written case studies
Psychometric tests of aptitude and/or personality
Competency-based interviews
Social and networking events

The aim of the assessment center is to be as objective and as scientific as possible in evaluating candidates’ potential.
Several people will assess you over the course of the day, in order to reduce bias, this is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about.
The assessors will be trained to document everything you say and do in order to evaluate you against a pre-set framework of competencies. A competency is essentially a behavioral trait or tendency enabling you do do something effectively or efficiently.
You are usually scored numerically against each of the competencies. Each competency is assessed across a number of exercises, your scores are then added up for each competency and are reviewed by the panel. Once all the data has been analyzed it is used to help assessors make a decision on your progress in the recruitment process.

Keep It Simple
When asked to deliver a presentation or participate in a group exercise, the assessors are evaluating your general approach, communication and organization skills. They are more interested in the process than the subject matter. So don’t get drawn into too much detail or agonize about the right answer to a problem. Stick to delivering a few key points well.

Listen and Co-operate
Being open to the views of others, demonstrating listening skills through your body language, seeking to build consensus and helping the group focus on the task in hand are more effective ways of showing leadership than coming up with lots of ideas or issuing instructions to others. Avoid the temptation to argue with, criticise or interrupt others at all costs Standing up for your views in a diplomatic way is your aim.

Participate enthusiastically
Employers often comment that successful candidates are those who are ready to have a go at any exercise, who show genuine interest in fellow candidates and who participate actively in discussions. Try to enjoy the assessment centre as an experience in itself, which will enhance your self-knowledge, regardless of the outcome. Your enthusiasm will shine through.

Be Yourself
Let your natural personality show. Don’t try to second-guess the sort of person you think the employer wants. It’s impossible to keep this up over an extended period and your behavior will appear unconvincing, simply being yourself is key.

Don’t presume the assessors are out to trap you
You wouldn’t have been invited to assessment if there was no intention of employing you. The assessors want you to get through so don’t let your mind cheat you out of your dream job. Assessment centres are expensive to run, just ask us and we will tell you how much time, effort and money goes into running one.

Find an opportunity to practice 
With assessment centres, like with most worthwhile activities, practice helps. If you can find the opportunity to run through exercises with a trusted friend you are likely to be more relaxed and well prepared when it comes to the day itself.

Think about the competencies you must display as a pilot, read up on those competencies and try to display them in every situation you can so that you are prepared psychologically for the assessment process. We will talk about the psychology behind mentally preparing yourself for your assessment in a later chapter.

Interview Preparation

Preparation is very important and will often define the outcome of your assessment day. You can practice any element of an assessment, the more exposure you have to any given section of the process, the more likely you are to pass. We first need to understand what we are going to face in an airline interview. By understanding the structure of the day, doing our research and preparing thoroughly we can get the results we desire.

Why do we need to prepare?

Airlines want to see motivated people on their assessment days. Aviation is an extremely costly and high-risk business; therefore Airlines want to lower their exposure to both of these factors. The more hoops they make you jump through the lower the risk they face during the training process.


What can we expect to get on an assessment day? The diagram below illustrates the structure of a typical airline assessment.

We will now go through each section in detail


Your CV is the first opportunity to make the right impression on your future employer. A strong Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the key to getting an interview with a certain aviation company. A Curriculum Vitae is the summary of your experience and qualifications and should only be one page long. It is imperative that the most relevant information a recruiter is looking for is retrievable within the blink of an eye.
Although many airlines don’t require CV’s on an application it is imperative you have one when you go for an assessment.

The structure is very important and to help you with this AirlinePrep are industry leaders


Why are they important?

Your whole assessment is based on the principles of Notechs. They are the industry accepted competencies you must display as a pilot. If you have a good understanding of what these competencies are then you will have a very good chance of passing your assessment.

Notech skills can be split into 4 competencies.

Situation Awareness, Decision Making, Workload Management and Co-operation.

These competencies can be further split into component skills which are listed below. Take time to look at all of these elements and make sure you cover them when preparing for your interview.

Situation Awareness

Decision Making

Workload Management



The principle is misunderstood by so many, but when explained it appears so simple. The principle is that if one competency is degraded then all the other competencies must compensate. If one of these competencies is poor then it weakens the whole system.

In the diagrams below you can see two graphs depicting a pilot’s competencies. In the second graph one of the competencies has been reduced. This means that all of the other competencies must increase to keep the overall system safe. If there is no capacity available, then it means that we have a sub-optimal situation and the crew will need to acquire resources from external sources.

In the real world cooperation between the two pilots may break down. This means that the crew have to work significantly harder making decisions and dealing with workload. Situation Awareness will also need to increase to help the pilots regain a safe level of operation.

Notechs work hand in hand with threat and error management which we shall cover on the next page.


Threat and error management (TEM) is an overarching safety management approach that assumes that pilots will naturally make mistakes and encounter risky situations during flight operations. Rather than try to avoid these threats and errors, its primary focus is on teaching pilots to manage these issues so they do not impair safety.

Its goal is to maintain safety margins by training pilots and flight crews to detect and respond to events that are likely to cause damage (threats) as well as mistakes that are most likely to be made (errors) during flight operations. TEM allows crews to measure the complexities of a specific organization’s context, meaning that the threats and errors encountered by pilots will vary depending upon the type of flight operation, and record human performance in that context. TEM also considers technical issues (such as mechanical problems) and environmental issues and incorporates strategies from Crew Resource Management to teach pilots to manage threats and errors.

ICAO definition.

Most airlines have introduced TEM into their training programs. Safety management systems have detected a significant reduction in safety events when this approach has been implemented.




The following is a diagram illustrating how TEM works. The principle is based on identifying threats and errors before they happen so that they can be actively avoided.

If you want more information on threat and error management there is a free online PDF that Jet Blue wrote on the subject. It is a great explanation of TEM and will help you understand all the fundamentals. Please click below and it will open the pdf in a new tab.

Jet Blue pdf


So how do we take everything that we have learnt and incorporate it into our assessment?

Prepare your answers in advance and allow the competencies to guide both your answers and your behavior. Remember in an interview, expressing issues with a competency can often help you significantly, as long as you identify what you did wrong and what you learnt from the process.


Depending on the Airline and their selection procedures, the format of the group exercise may vary considerably. The three most common group exercise formats are:

1. Practical tasks: The most common form of group exercise, the group will be given a task, usually a problem-solving task and will be required to find the solution. These tasks may or may not be workplace relevant, for example, candidates may be asked to build a tower out of straw. The function of these exercises will be to test the teams’ coordination and team working ability, more so than individual knowledge or individual contribution.

2. Discussion: You may be asked to perform a leaderless group discussion, in which candidates will be presented with a workplace relevant scenario or problem. The group then must address this issue and find a logical conclusion, for example identifying a problem with an organization/department and agreeing on steps to resolve this issue.

3. Role-play exercise: Candidates may be asked to undergo a group role-play exercise. In this exercise, candidates will be provided with a particular role, background information on the situation and full briefing. An example of a group role-play exercise is a mock meeting, in which each candidate assumes a specific role, and must fulfill their respective objectives and the group objective.

They can be further split up into:

Free format
There are no roles allocated. You can create a role within the group but be careful if you decide to.
Semi Structured
There are roles available and you have to decide as a group who fits into each role.
You have a defined role to play within the exercise that has been chosen for you by the assessors.

General group exercise advice

These recommendations can help you succeed during your group exercise, and ensure that you impress recruiters and stand out from the crowd.

1. Stay as calm as possible: Composure, ability to work under pressure and confidence are highly prized competencies, which recruiters look for. Performance anxiety can be a mixed blessing as too much of it can hinder performance, but a moderate amount may sharpen focus and keep you on track. Just remember that the other candidates will be just as nervous as you are, and recruiters are fully aware of how nerve-racking assessment centers can be. So remember that no one is expecting you to be totally laid back (recruiters would not think you are taking it seriously if you were) but do your best to keep your composure and focus during the exercise.

2. Be yourself, but on a good day: You should always try to be yourself during these exercises, but at the same time try and highlight your strengths and your key competencies, while actively holding back some more negative instincts which may arise. For example if you are a natural leader, then let your ability shine, however, if your leadership style is aggressive or overly pressured, try to ignore these instincts and be more diplomatic and democratic.

3. Research the role before the assessment center: It may seem like common sense, but arming yourself with the knowledge of the role, the industry, and the organization can give you a clear vision of what they will be expecting in the group exercise.
4. Not too much, not too little: Recruiters want to notice you in the group exercise, they want to see you express your competencies and abilities as best you can, however they do not want narcissists that love the sound of their own voice. An important part of teamwork is contributing, and helping others contribute, after all, it is a GROUP exercise!

How to behave in a group exercise

Knowing how to act can be difficult in group exercises, and being observed can make things even more challenging. Here are some behavioral and interpersonal tips on how to present yourself in a group exercise:

1. Introduce yourself: It is very important to introduce yourself to the rest of the team, this can help break the ice and show recruiters you are taking steps to build rapport with your team.

2. Get the team to introduce themselves: Another important step in ensuring that everyone feels comfortable around each other, and this will show recruiters that you are taking the initiative and organizing the group.

3. Call everyone by their name: once you know your fellow candidates’ names, use them in conversation. This will help put everyone (including yourself) at ease, and show recruiters that you can build rapport, treat everyone as individuals and can make strong first impressions. Most assessors will give their candidates name badges.

4. Never give negative feedback to other candidates: If a candidate generates an idea, which you do not agree with, do not criticize them, even after the exercise has finished. Not only will this put the team on edge and make them feel less comfortable around you, but you will seem less diplomatic and less patient, putting off recruiters.

5. Collaborators not competitors: Do not think of your peers as your competitors for the position you want. Similarly do not try and show off, or out-compete your peers, it’s a group exercise and facilitating teamwork will impress recruiters. Aggressive individualism, over competitiveness and not supporting team members is a serious put off for recruiters and will be noted as poor performance.

Group Exercise examples

Discuss with your group what items you should take with you. Once you have consensus, elect a spokesman and present your decision.

You are a consultant working for Orion Airlines. They have problems with employee engagement. Decide in your group who should represent each department. Read your brief, look at the information and present your findings to the group. Once you have consensus, elect a spokesman and present 5 key messages/themes/actions to the Senior Management Team.
Orion Airlines


Roles are very important in group exercises, without one we cannot assess you because you are not part of the team. The roles that people adopt when in group exercises are listed below:

Energises groups when motivation is low through humor or through being enthusiastic. They are positive individuals who support and praise other group members. They don’t like sitting around. They like to move things along by suggesting ideas, by clarifying the ideas of others and by confronting problems. They may use humor to break tensions in the group.

They may say:
“We CAN do this!”
“That’s a great idea!”

Tries to maintain harmony among the team members. They are sociable, interested in others and will introduce people, draw them out and make them feel comfortable. They may be willing to change their own views to get a group decision. They work well with different people and can be depended on to promote a positive atmosphere, helping the team to gel. They pull people and tasks together thereby developing rapport. They are tolerant individuals and good listeners who will listen carefully to the views of other group members. They are good judges of people, diplomatic and sensitive to the feelings of others and not seen as a threat. They are able to recognize and resolve differences of opinion and the development of conflict, they enable “difficult” team-members to contribute positively.
They may say:
“We haven’t heard from Mike yet: I’d like to hear what you think about this.”
“I’m not sure I agree. What are your reasons for saying that?”

Good leaders direct the sequence of steps the group takes and keep the group “on-track”. They are good at controlling people and events and coordinating resources. They have the energy, determination, and initiative to overcome obstacles and bring the competitive drive to the team. They give shape to the team effort. They recognize the skills of each individual and how they can be used. Leaders are outgoing individuals who have to be careful not to be domineering. They can sometimes steamroller the team but get results quickly. They may become impatient with complacency and lack of progress and may sometimes overreact. Also, see our leadership styles test.
They may say
“Let’s come back to this later if we have time.”
“We need to move on to the next step.”
“Sue, what do you think about this idea?”

Calm, reflective individuals who summarise the group’s discussion and conclusions. They clarify group objectives and elaborate on the ideas of others. They may go into detail about how the group’s plans would work and tie up loose ends. They are good mediators and seek consensus.

They may say:
“So here’s what we’ve decided so far”
“I think you’re right, but we could also add ….”

The ideas person suggests new ideas to solve group problems or suggests new ways for the group to organize the task. They dislike orthodoxy and are not too concerned with practicalities. They provide suggestions and proposals that are often original and radical. They are more concerned with the big picture than with details. They may get bored after the initial impetus wears off. See our lateral thinking skills page

They may say
“Why don’t we consider doing it this way?”

Evaluators help the group to avoid coming to an agreement too quickly. They tend to be slow in coming to a decision because of a need to think things over. They are the logical, analytical, objective people in the team and offer measured, dispassionate critical analysis. They contribute at times of crucial decision making because they are capable of evaluating competing proposals. They may suggest alternative ideas.

They may say:
“What other possibilities are there?”
or “Let’s try to look at this another way.”
or “I’m not sure we’re on the right track.”

The recorder keeps the group focused and organized. They make sure that everyone is helping with the project. They are usually the first person to offer to take notes to keep a record of ideas and decisions. They also like to act as time-keeper, to allocate times to specific tasks and remind the team to keep to them, or act as a spokesperson, to deliver the ideas and findings of the group. They may check that all members understand and agree on plans and actions and know their roles and responsibilities. They act as the memory of the group.

They may say:
“We only have five minutes left, so we need to come to an agreement now!”
“Do we all understand this chart?”
“Are we all in agreement on this?”

Destructive or selfish group roles to avoid!
Autocrat: tries to dominate or constantly interrupts other members of the team.
Show Off: talks all the time and thinks they know all the answers.
Butterfly: keeps changing the topic before others are ready.
Aggressor: doesn’t show respect to others, comments negatively about them.
Avoider: refuses to focus on the task or on group relationship problems.
Critic: always sees the negative side to any argument, but never suggests alternatives. Puts down the ideas of others.
Help seeker: looks for sympathy from others: victim
Self-confessor: uses the group as a forum for inappropriate talk about self.
Clown: shows no involvement in group and engages in distracting communication.


There are basically eight types of questions you may face during the course of your interview:

Credential verification questions
This type of question includes “What was your previous job?” and “How long were you at _____?” Also known as resume verification questions. Its purpose is to objectively verify the depth of knowledge of the credentials in your background.

Experience verification questions
This type of question includes “What did you learn in that operation?” and “What were your responsibilities in that position?” Its purpose is to subjectively evaluate features of your background.

Opinion questions
This type of question includes “What would you do in this situation?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Its purpose is to subjectively analyze how you would respond in a series of scenarios.

Behavioral questions
This type of question includes “Can you give me a specific example of how you did that?” and “What were the steps you followed to accomplish that task?” Its purpose is to objectively measure past behaviors as a predictor of future results.

Competency questions
This type of question includes “Can you give me a specific example of your leadership skills?” or “Explain a way in which you sought a creative solution to a problem.” Its purpose is to align your past behaviors with specific competencies which are required for the position.

Brainteaser questions
This type of question includes “What is 1000 divided by 73?” to “How many ping pong balls could fit in a Volkswagen?” to complex algorithms. Its purpose is to evaluate not only your mental math calculation skills but also your creative ability in formulating the mathematical formula for providing an answer (or estimate, as can often be the case). These are normally tested electronically.

Case questions
This type of question includes problem-solving questions ranging from: “How many gas stations are there in Europe?” to “What is your estimate of the global online retail market for books?” Its purpose is to evaluate your problem-solving abilities and how you would analyze and work through potential case situations. These are normally tested through your personality or psychometric test.

Dumb questions
Firstly, this is not a joke. This type of question includes “What kind of animal would you like to be?” and “What colour best describes you?” Their purpose is to get past your pre-programmed answers to find out if you are capable of original thought. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer since it is used primarily to test your ability to think on your feet. (Quite rare but a few companies still ask you these types of questions)


Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests assess your understanding and comprehension skills. You will be presented with a short passage of text and will need to answer a True, False or Cannot Say response to each statement.

Maths Tests
Numerical Reasoning tests demonstrate a candidates ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. These tests contain questions that assess your knowledge of ratios, percentages, cost and graph analysis, rates, trends and currency conversions.

Personality and Psychometric Tests

Personality and Psychometrics are essentially a big umbrella for all assessment tests. So why do we have a separate page on it here? We need to look at a more specific area called Psychological testing. Using the results of this test, an assessment can be made of the candidate’s motivation, personality traits, mental stability, leadership skills, effectiveness in a team, and their general integrity. Although the assessment of mental health conditions may be deemed illegal by an equal employment opportunity commission, aviation is an industry where this is becoming more acceptable due to perceived risk.

Psychological tests

What are we testing? “A psychological test is an instrument designed to measure unobserved constructs, also known as latent variables.” I will break this down into basics so that you understand what i’m talking about.

What is an unobserved construct? An idea or theory containing various conceptual elements, typically it is considered to be subjective and not based on evidence which is verifiable by observation. It is theoretical and therefore it can only be observed by the researcher or assessor using indicators.

For example; I want to test whether a candidate trusts his colleagues. I could ask the candidate directly but there is a good chance I would get the wrong answer. I need to ask a series of questions that will indicate what that underlying construct may be.

So can we lie to pass the test. The quick answer to this is no. If the test has been well thought out there will be many different options available to the assessor to observe the desired latent variable.

If you try to skew the test by predicting what the assessor wants you may well fail the test. Quite often they will create questions that will determine whether the individual candidate is trying to alter the outcome. This may be an indicator of control issues or dishonesty.

When constructing a test, there must be enough evidence to support the specified interpretation of the results. This evidence must be displayed consistently, over time across all raters.

Psychological assessment

This is similar to psychological testing but usually involves a more comprehensive assessment of the individual by a Psychologist. A Psychologist will collect collateral information about personal, occupational history such as from records or from interviews. Using the test results they will then make an assessment of the candidate’s suitability.


Don’t try to pass the test by guessing what the assessor wants. Answer the questions honestly and quickly, this will help you later on if the test is assessed by a Psychologist.

The Sim Check

Most candidates hate this part of their assessment because they feel like all their skills are being assessed all at once and in a very short time frame.

Let us put you at ease, the assessors are probably not looking for Chuck Jaeger. If they were looking for Chuck then they wouldn’t be asking you to apply for an airline job.

It is a total misconception that you are being assessed solely on your ability to fly an airplane. All airlines look at Notechs and TEM when it comes to assessing their candidates in the simulator. If you employ these techniques then you will significantly increase your chance of being selected.

Here are some key points to follow before your sim check:

-Make sure you have obtained a briefing sheet before the check. This should explain what is expected of you during the simulator session.

-If the aircraft is unfamiliar, make sure you have all the documentation. You need to have access to the following:
-Power/Thrust and Pitch settings for each phase of flight
-Take off
-Straight and level at 250 Kts
-Intermediate Approach Flap setting
-Final Approach Flap

-What is their preferred Check List?
-What are their preferred SOPs?
-What plates should I use for the exercise, LIDO, JEPP’s, AERAD’s or NAVTECH?
-What is their preferred briefing technique?
-What is their preferred failure management technique?

The key to the sim check is preparedness. If you know what the profiles are and you have all the settings memorized then you will have far more capacity to demonstrate the notechs, which is what the assessor really wants to see.
If the aircraft type is unfamiliar you may want to get a practice assessment simulator. A couple of key points here.
Make sure the simulator is approved. If you fly a simulator that does not replicate the aircraft properly then it may do more harm than good.
Choose a company that can cater to that particular check. Ask them if they do assessment sims for {xxxxx}
Assess how much sim time you would need before talking to the company.

Arriving for your check.

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the sim center. This will help reduce stress and make you a little more relaxed. Be careful who you chat to when you get to the sim center, it may be your assessor.

During the briefing, the assessor should explain what is expected of you. If you have any questions this is the time to ask.

During the sim detail, if things don’t go as planned, try to stick to the basics. FLY, NAVIGATE, COMMUNICATE. Ask your sim partner for help so that you can regain your situation awareness. This will be marked up as a positive since you are displaying self-awareness and you are aware of what you need to do to improve the situation.

During the debrief you will be asked to critique yourself. Quite often a sim assessment is won or lost in the debrief. If you did something wrong admit it, the assessor will have seen it. Explain why you think it went wrong but emphasize how you improved the situation. An example of this may be that you took up a wrong track on the SID. How did you recover the situation? “I asked my sim partner to verify what the correct track was and then corrected. If I was to change something I would have got him to confirm the correct track before I flew it. I may have even asked him to do this during the briefing.” This shows self-awareness and the ability to learn.

If AviationInsider can be of any assistance then please contact us, Good luck!

How important is Airline Simulator Assessment Preparation?

I’m 7 hours into an assessment day with one of the UK and Europe’s biggest airlines. I’ve completed the interview, the group exercises, and the hours of sitting around making nervous, friendly small talk. Tiredness is starting to set in as we’re taken to a simulator training centre for the final stage of the process – a 1 hour simulator assessment.

We’re briefed on the profile, an hours flying and an hours monitoring in the 737 classic – doesn’t seem too bad. Throw in some NDB tracking and holding and an approach – it’s starting to sound a little more challenging. There’ll be no automatics or flight directors – ok great. And here are the profiles you need to fly, the pitch and power settings you’ll need to set, the calls you’ll need to make. Thank God I took notes. We’re paired off with each other and given some time to prepare. My partner is looking rather nervous and suggests that we sit down and talk through the profiles and the calls we’re going to make. He begins trying to recall the power settings, ‘60 and 6 for 210kts clean, is it 65 and 5 for 250kts, or 4?’ I’m feeling considerably more comfortable – I already have a pretty good idea of the profile, and the pitch and power settings are already burnt into my mind.

Before attending the assessment day, I’d completed a Simulator Assessment Preparation session with Aviation Insider. Alongside a TRI, I’d sat in the 737-300 simulator a couple of weeks before and together we’d flown through various exercises designed to make me feel comfortable with flying the aircraft. We’d also flown a profile similar to the one I could expect in the assessment, created based on feedback from previous candidates. In a comprehensive briefing, I’d learned the takeoff and approach profiles for the 737 and been taught various tips and tricks for flying the aircraft – we’d even covered the various briefing techniques used by the airline.

Was it necessary? There’s an argument that says that spending money on Simulator Assessment Preparation isn’t needed. The assessment is designed to test for a positive learning curve, as well as handling and multi-crew skills, and flying capacity – they’re not expecting perfection. But it’s the last point which is important. When you’re placed into a new, unfamiliar aircraft flight deck, it takes a large chunk of your capacity in order to safely and accurately fly the aeroplane. Your mind is concentrating almost completely on the pitch and power settings, trimming the aircraft and following the flight profile. You’re left with very little spare capacity with which to demonstrate your airmanship, CRM and notech skills – the skills which set you apart from everyone else. If you’ve overcome this initial phase in an assessment preparation session, you’ll use less of your capacity on flying the aircraft, and really be able to shine in the real assessment.

Of course, it’s important to choose the right provider for your Simulator Assessment Preparation. There are many companies who provide various levels and standards of training on various levels of simulator. Aviation Insider only use full motion, level D simulators – the same simulators as the airlines will use. Aviation Insider’s instructors are all currently operating airline pilots, with experience of airline recruitment profiles. The standard of support and training you get from Aviation Insider is second to none. They also provide Assessment Preparation guides which is compiled from feedback from previous clients as well as handy tips on flying the aircraft.

If youre intersted in simulator preparation, find out more about Aviation Insider’s Simulator Assessment Preparation here

What you need to know to be successful in a pilot assessment

What you need to know to be successful in a pilot assessment, Lots of pilots who have gone through simulator Assessments, have asked if there was anything they could do to increase their chances of passing the simulator assessment and what the secret is.

The secret is that there is no secret. Preparation is the key.

The simulator assessment is not a new thing that you will be asked to demonstrate. It’s a Line Oriented Exercise which you do almost every time you strap in the cockpit. It will include a departure, a cruise period, a descent and a final approach. As assessors, we like to see how you plan and organize your flight when a situation arises. Hence the short but intense simulator assessment.

Remember you will always receive instructions prior to your simulator evaluation. This package will contain or should contain, a short description of departure airports and approaches you can expect to fly from. A pre-flight briefing will be given and I recommend that you take notes.

We will be asking you to demonstrate your ability as a pilot flying and as a pilot monitoring. Nothing new there – it’s something you do on a daily basis. A precision approach is a precision approach. It’s part of the daily profile, you fly day in and day out. So study the approach profile before the actual event and think ahead on what to do if something unexpected happens – like an engine failure (hint). Again, nothing new there. You are required to fly an engine out approach every 6 months. Checklist procedures is not new either. The management of the flight under normal and non-normal is taught the day you start your line training. So once again, nothing new there.

The question is why do pilots get all wound up when asked to demonstrate something they do all the time?

I’m not sure what the answer to that question is, but what I can tell you is this: if you planned to know in advance what the profile will be (friends who have flown it will help you here) and fly it in your mind several times and look at your current management model which will help you in your decision making and problem-solving. I can almost guarantee that your chances of success will be greater than before.

Everything you need to know about Type Ratings

Everything you need to know about Type Ratings. Type Ratings are regularly forgotten about when it comes to summing up the costs of initial pilot training and often represent one of the the biggest costs, they become the biggest burden to a trainee-pilot when undertaking them and eventually, they become the biggest asset a qualified-pilot has.

As a commercial pilot, a type rating is your ticket to fly complex aircraft not covered by basic licenses such as a PPL or CPL.  They often comprise a mixture of ground-based and simulator-based training.

What is a Type Rating?

A type rating is a pilot qualification to fly a specific type of aircraft that has significantly different systematic and handling characteristics to standard aircraft covered by basic licenses such as PPL or CPL. The types of aircraft requiring the acquisition of a type rating require the pilot to undertake an in-depth course of study into all areas of the aircraft and its operation.  Local aviation authorities determine which aircraft require a type rating, in the UK, that body is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Europe it is the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and in the USA it is the FAA.  A full list of (fixed wing) aircraft requiring type ratings under EASA can be found here and the same FAA list can be found here.  It is often the case that single-engined aircraft under a maximum weight of (commonly) 5,700kg or 12,500 lb do not require a type rating for every variant of aircraft covered by one class rating.

What do I need to undertake a type rating?

A full list of requirements by the CAA can be found here, however it is commonly the case for a pilot undertaking a type rating to be in possession of at least a CPL (Commercial pilot’s license).  Here’s some common requirements:

What does a Type Rating Involve?

A common type rating involves two distinct stages, the technical phase and the simulator phase.  Usually before the simulator training begins, pilots undertake a course of study into the nitty gritty elements of the aircraft they’re converting to, this course includes study of aircraft systems, dimensions and operations.  This course normally lasts around two weeks and is commonly delivered through CBT (Computer Based Training) with the student working their way through sets of modules and completing a range of progress tests to evaluate their knowledge.  These courses are notoriously fast-paced in nature and involve a great deal of self-study outside the classroom to gain the necessary knowledge to pass the final technical exam which includes no less than 100 multiple-choice questions covering all aspects studied in the ground phase.

The second phase is the simulator phase, pilots are often put in pairs for this section (if the aircraft is a multi crew aircraft requiring two pilots).  The training often consists of 10 simulator sessions over a two to three week period at four hours each time, making a grand total of 40 hours of sim training before the LST(License skills test) which also commonly lasts around four hours for a two pilot crew.  Upon completion pilots can present to the local authority with their training completion documents and licenses to have the new type rating added to their license (A full list of the CAA flight crew licensing forms can be found here).

For ab-initio pilots completing their first type rating, there is one last step before the license can be issued, this is the bit they’ve been waiting a long time for – Base Training.

What is Base Training?

Ask any commercial pilot what their most memorable flight ever was and it’s highly likely a high proportion of them will say their base training.  Base training is a legal requirement for new pilots to complete 6 take-offs and 6 landings on the aircraft before license issue.  These 6 take-offs and landings are undertaken with no passengers or cargo on board and are solely for pilot training.  See our youtube channel for some more information on base training Youtube.

What is ZFTT?

ZFTT or Zero flight time training covers the requirement to complete 6 take-offs and 6 landings by a newly type-qualified pilot subsequent to completing a type rating, just in a simulator rather than the actual aircraft.  ZFTT requirements usually require a pilot to have prior experience totalling no less than 500 hours on multi-crew aircraft or 100 sectors flown.  Pilots completing ZFTT training will often fly their new type of aircraft for the first time under line training in a commercial environment.

What is Line Training?

Line Training is the final hurdle in a pilot’s transition from student to professional.  Upon completion of a type rating conversion pilots undertake a series of flights under supervision by a line training qualified captain flying revenue making passenger or cargo routes on the network of the company they’re flying for.  Line training often lasts a minimum of 40 sectors of normal operational training (the first few flights of which are accompanied by a 3rd safety pilot), however some operators impose a more stringent training programme with a higher sector requirement.  Once the student meets the required standard they undergo a line check, upon successful completion of this the pilot is ‘released to the line’ and can put their new qualifications to use.

How much does a Type Rating Cost?

Due to the highly specialised nature of the training and the highly intricate training devices used to complete this training, type ratings don’t usually come cheap.  It would be perfectly reasonable to budget around £20,000 to £39,000 for an initial type rating on an Airbus or Boeing type aircraft although some smaller business-jet type aircraft may be cheaper.

Do Airlines Pay for my type rating?

There is no black and white answer to this question in today’s aviation industry.  Nowadays it is common that the cost of an initial type rating for a newly qualified pilot will be covered by the pilot, it is also becoming increasingly common for experienced pilots to have to cover the cost of conversions when converting on to new aircraft types with another carrier.  It is, however, extremely uncommon for an airline to require a pilot to cover the cost of a type rating if moving fleet within the same company.  Some airlines offer a bonded type rating, reducing costs for new entrants.

What is a type rating bond?

A type rating bond is almost like an airline’s insurance policy against you.  Airlines frequently ‘bond’ their pilots for a specific time frame (usually 3-5 years) during which their initial training bond reduces.  For example, if an airline bonded a pilot for three years for a training cost of £30,000, the pilot would pay nothing for their type rating unless they were to leave within that initial 3 year time frame, in which case they would owe the airline the balance (so if the pilot left after 2 years, the balance would be £10,000 as the bond reduces month on month proportionally to the amount bonded).

Do I have the qualification for life?

A type rating has to be kept current, for this pilots are required to undertake simulator checks bi-annually to keep the rating active.  These simulator checks are known as LPC and OPC (License proficiency checks and operator’s proficiency checks) – the include practicing of failures and emergencies to ensure that pilots are fully prepared to deal with a range of situations with which they may be faced in their day to day operation.  If a type rating is allowed to lapse without the completion of proficiency checks it becomes invalid for use.

Places to get a Type Rating