Is an FNPT2 better than a basic simulator?
The answer to this question is - it depends!
We have two simulators, a Frasca 142 FNPTI and a type specific Duchess/Sierra FNPTII.
The FNPTI does not have control loading, nor a visual. The FNPTII has both.
The FNPTI is a very useful tool for getting your scan up to speed, and in fact we offer solo time FOC for all current students on IR courses for precisely this reason. However, it does not 'feel' like the real aircraft and you cannot include any visual aspects during the training, like taxying and landing. For instance, with a visual system you can make the decision whether the cloudbase is too low to land.
FNPTIIs vary quite a lot in their design from a totally generic twin engined aircraft to being totally type specific.
We decided to opt for the totally type specific option. The layout is almost identical to the Beech Duchess, including all switches, instruments and the radio fit, and even the pedestal with all the trim wheels, carb heat and cowl flaps on it. It has the facility to simulate icing and windshear. There are three levels of wind strength and direction and cloud levels, layers and visibility can all be changed.
It also flies just like the Duchess. We spent 5 days with Alsim in Nantes , where it was manufactured, ensuring that all aspects of flight were as close to the actual aircraft as possible.
Consequently, the transfer from the FNPTII to the aircraft is straight forward and effective.
One of the important things that we feel about the simulator is that it is not just the design of the equipment that helps with the training, it is also the instruction that you receive on it that counts.
The instructor will try and prepare you for the aircraft by, for instance, using some of the abnormal ATC calls that you find occurring in real life. In addition, all emergencies can be practiced for real in the simulator, including engine failure during take-off.
We believe our FNPTII is much better than the FNPTI for the above reasons.
Beware, not every FNPTII will be.
What do I need to start a CPL course?
You need to have total time of 150 hours flight time in order to start a CPL course.
However, a recent Information Notice issued by the UK CAA (IN-2013-116) states that you are required to have met all the requirements for CPL issue BEFORE YOU UNDERTAKE YOUR CPL SKILLS TEST. This new ruling has been appplied since September 17th 2013.
In order to get your CPL issued you need to have the following:
- 200 total hours including
- 100 Pilot in Command hours
- 5 night hours including 5 solo full stop take-offs and landings at night;
- a cross country flight of 300 nm with stops at two airfields other than the airfield of departure, completed within 24 hours
You also need to have passed all of your ground exams (ATPL or CPL) before taking the CPL skill test. We therefore strongly recommend that you have passed all of your exams before you start your CPL course.
This means that, if you want to do your CPL before your IR, you will really have to have a minimum of around 175 hours (not the stated minimum of 150) before you start your CPL training.
Do I need an EASA Night Rating to start an IR course?
The changes to EASA rules from April 2014 remove the requirement to have a night rating to start your IR. The new rule states that in order to start an IR, the privileges to fly at night are required only 'if the IR is to be used at night'. This means that you can start your IR training without a night rating having been issued. In order to use it at night you will need a night rating, either as a stand-alone rating on your PPL, or as a privilege of your CPL.
A tip: Rather than getting your CPL issued as soon as you have passed it, and your IR issued later, it is cheaper (by at least £121) to get your CPL, Multi rating and IR issued all at the same time. You have one year to get your CPL and your IR issued after passing the tests.
Can I do my IR renewal in the FNPT2?
Yes, providing that:
a) it has not passed its expiry date (therefore, strictly-speaking, it is a ‘revalidation’ not a ’renewal’) and
b) your last revalidation was not carried out in an FNPT2
What happens if I don't renew my MEP Class Rating?
All it means is that you cannot fly an MEP aircraft until you do renew it.
Not having a current MEP Class Rating does not affect your ATPL ground credits.
The airlines are not looking for a curreent MEP Class Rating, only a current IR.
Obviously, if you decide to renew your MEP at some point in the future, some training will be required but there is no mandatory training requirement. The only additional requirement is a paperwork issue (plus a small cost) in that you have to get the MEP rating added to your licence by the CAA (rather than the examiner) if it has expired by more than three years.