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Full Flight Sim Orientation at ATOP

 
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MistyBlue



Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 39
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:40 am    Post subject: Full Flight Sim Orientation at ATOP Reply with quote

Up front, this is my personal experience. I haven't been asked to promote this. Just thought it would be interesting for my fellow simmers.

For all of you who have never heard about it, I just took the weekend airline orientation course for the Boeing 737-800 with ATOP (Airline Training Orientation Program) in Dallas (http://www.atopjets.com). Well worth the $495 it cost and it is taught by certified commercial pilot and FAA guru Wayne Phillips (or as Wayne likes to call himself, Uncle Wayne, lol). He also writes an interesting column for AOPA magazine worth checking out.

The program is meant to introduce pilots to a career at the airlines (but simmers are more than welcome). You get a day of systems training on the aircraft plus plus a half-hour Pilot Flying and half-hour Pilot Monitoring in the 737-6/8 Full Flight Simulator at the American Airlines training center in Dallas. You'll practice hand flying a pattern at KDFW, and a second landing hand flying a low visibility approach. You'll likely have a failure or two thrown at you while in the sim. Wayne talks you through it all.

The course is offered for both the 737-800 at American in Dallas, and the A321 at Jetblue in Orlando. There is also an advanced LOFT program offered less frequently that lets you fly a longer flight between two airports.

Building a mostly FDS Boeing 737-800 of my own (so far MIP, and partial pedestal), I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the aircraft and of course finally experience what the real thing is like. It was awesome, of course!

The sim was a CAE 7000 if I recall. Just absolutely massive. Room enough easily for the four of us in our time slot plus Wayne.

The visuals, of course, were projected on a mylar collimated screen and man, does it feel real. The screen just isn't there. In fact, it became obvious later how good an illusion it is when the vacuum system apparently started having some glitches and the mylar screen crinkled in places where it lost its tension. Suddenly the screen was right there in front of you. Truly an amazing visual system and the graphics were quite good around the airport, with a car here or there driving past the airport. Flying over the rest of the area there were no 3D houses, just minimal scenery, roads and dots of light similar to what ORBX produces. Not a stutter or break in the smoothness of the visuals, EVER.

Speaking of visuals, it loaded FAST. No FSX/P3D progress bar that you wait a couple of minutes to load. Wayne picked a scenario and boom, you were there. Not sure what happens on the back end to make the visuals work so fast, but I'd sure like to know. We didn't fly through clouds so I can't attest to how realistic that was, but we did start our second approach in minimums overcast and it felt dead on when popping out of the overcast during the descent. No popcorn cloud effects, lol.

Another eye opener was the sensitivity of the steering tiller. Doesn't take much to make the thing rock and roll if you're not gentle with the thing. And once you start over-correcting, it starts oscillating and everyone gets dizzy pretty quick, lol.

We all did experience some vertigo at times, which was a bit surprising. Particularly noticeable on hard braking. For a brief moment everything felt out of whack, then back to normal again.

Still, I was impressed with how the motion aided the feeling of flight. Acceleration, deceleration of course, but the turbulence is what really added to the experience. Just the subtle (or not so subtle) bumpiness pulls you right in. And the control loading definitely felt heavier than I'm used to, even with a properly trimmed aircraft.

As for the cockpit, since I haven't added the shell and overheads yet, I was surprised to find that some of the overhead was a bit awkward to see/reach. Much closer than I thought it would be even though I knew the cockpit was small having been up front before. I just hadn't actually sat in the seats.

The good thing about the course is that you do practice some minimal radio work and Cockpit Resource Management, dividing up tasks as you normally would between pilot flying and pilot monitoring. I found myself chair flying the scenario for about an hour and a half before the sim session to make sure I had a clear idea of what we were going to do. Helped a lot.

So, I highly recommend you give the course a try. You won't be disappointed and you'll make some great friends and hear some interesting stories while you're there. I know I'll be back again for more!
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Tony
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787 George



Joined: 01 Oct 2014
Posts: 104
Location: Lubbock TX, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great information Tony, thanks for sharing that link.

George
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FRANKY



Joined: 05 Sep 2014
Posts: 30
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have done this many times with Wayne and it is a great experience. Just did it again in January at the JetBlue training center in Orlando on the A320.

Its real great time !!!
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MistyBlue



Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 39
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm scheduled for the 737 ATOP Advanced class in November. Have you done that one yet? Should be fun to get do a full flight from A to B.

How did you like the A320 class? Heard the JetBlue facility and the environment are very good.
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Tony
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FRANKY



Joined: 05 Sep 2014
Posts: 30
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Yes have done the advanced 737 and A320. Wayne makes it a lot of fun and you really get the feel of a complete flight from start to finish !

I love the JetBlue facilities, great environment and really nice people. They have a great set up there.

Let me know how you enjoy it !
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