My Type Rating, the specialisation course for the Boeing 717, started in January 2015, a month after I got the good news. The timing was perfect, on my last day at work we finished the project we had been working on for a year. All my colleagues were so happy for me as they knew I was going to achieve my dreams.
The first three weeks of the type rating were done in Barcelona, where we learned all the theory of the Boeing 717. We learned all about the systems, about the cockpit and the procedures. We had classroom sessions during the day and in the evening we had to do a lot of home study. We then went into the static flight simulator to learn all the procedures. When we passed both the theory exam and the exam in the static simulator, we went to Stockholm to do the full flight simulator phase. It was very cold, the days were short and every day we had a simulator session from 6:00 to 10:00 AM, after which we had to continue studying as we were expected to improve every day. When we passed the type rating exam I was very relieved and I remember that I promised myself that at least for the next 5 years I would not have to do any type rating. From Stockholm we went to Venice where we did the base training, 6 touch and go’s in an empty Boeing 717, the first 6 real landings!
The last part of the type rating was one last week in Barcelona where we learned all about the company’s procedures, a CRM course, fire, smoke and evacuation training and went to the swimming pool to learn how to inflate the life vest when jumping into the water. Also we received our uniforms and company wings. I still wear them proudly.
When the Type Rating for the B717 was added to my license, I got my based assigned, Venice, as requested. I moved in with Ruben and another colleague, who started a month before me. I was ready to start flying. The first 25 hours was on the jumpseat to experience the daily operation. Thereafter I got to fly myself, with a Line training captain and a first officer on the jumpseat. The line training was 125 hours, which I did out of different bases (Nantes, Bordeaux, Asturias and Venice) and after passing the line check, I finally finished the whole training.
It felt amazing to be on the controls of a Boeing 717, a huge airplane with 125 seats, all the hard work of the past 3 years had been so worth it, I had become a commercial airline pilot at age 21!
This is for now the last blogpost of these ‘My own experience’ series. I wanted to give you a short and concise summary of my journey to become a pilot. In 10 different blogposts you have read how I went from high school to flight school and all the way to flying the Boeing 717 in an airline! I hope you have liked this little series, leave a comment if you like! Soon I will be writing more about my life as an airline pilot!