My Boeing 737 Type Rating
Getting my Boeing 737 type rating was one of the busiest times of studying I did in my life. Hours and hours I spent on the CBT (computer based training) with that tiring voice talking about the aircraft systems. Is it still the same or did they change it into a more entertaining one?
If you’re in this phase you will probably have your head in the books most of the time, but don’t forget to take enough (coffee)brakes to stay concentrated. And share all your doubts with your instructor. We had a great groundschool instructor at CAE Amsterdam who helped me a lot, especially with the FMC part. At the time, that was very abstract to me. Now that’s the easiest part of the aircraft ;-).
You finish this technical groundschool part with a written exam and then you’ll continue with studying the Standard Operating procedures (SOP’s).
For SOP training we spent a great amount of time in the mock-up. This is a wooden cockpit layout with two chairs in front of it. This way you can learn all the flows from start-up to shutdown by heart, so you get the most out of the fixed base sessions that follow.
After groundschool my classmates and I went to Stockholm for the simulator part of the 737 type rating. We trained in the simulator of the SAS Flight Academy and stayed in a hotel right next door. That was kind of essential, because most of our simulator slots were at night. From 4:00-8:00 or 00:00-4:00 for example.
I loved this part of the type rating. Not being at home made me really focused on studying and I had the best sim partner, who was very dedicated. During the full-flight sessions you’ll learn all the non-normal situations, like engine failures & fires, system failures and emergency descents.
In this section of the training most people go through different phases and so did I. There was a session when I felt really confident and then came a session where I messed everything up… Don’t get too upset about that, work on what the instructor debriefed and you’ll see the next session will go way better. During our days off I did some sightseeing in the area. You need some relaxation from time to time, so don’t use your entire day off for studying. This simulator phase ends with an exam and will conclude the hardest part of the type rating. After this you get to fly circuits in the simulator to prepare for base-training: flying and landing the actual aircraft!