Sunset over Dubbo, central New South Wales.
Checked to line for a week, and flown a total of 2 sectors! I was meant to be doing an overnight tomorrow night to Armidale, however i'm now operating as the safety first officer for a new hire doing their first flight. So the jumpseat it is!
I did however have my first cyclic in the simulator, which straight after my check was an intense week. It involved an engine failure at v1 on a pretty average night weatherwise out of Townsville. The take-off to the south has some pretty high terrain and therefore there is a company procedure, which was at 1DME TL, turn 100 till 6DME or 2000ft, whichever comes first and then track outbound on track 030 till lowest safe altitude or radar assigned level. I requested 3600ft which was the 10nm minimum safe altitude and in the northeastern sector it was 3000ft.
Once we did our checklists and secured the dead engine, i requested direct tracking to NIKKY waypoint which is the inital fix on the VOR 19 approach. Normally i would do an RNAV however there was a RAIM outage for the time that we were departing. (Means that using the FMS for an approach would have produced flags, resulting in a one engine missed approach)
We did 3 holding patterns at NIKKY, to confirm the approach checklists were done, the cabin was secured, the briefings complete and that both pilots were satisfied that we were in a safe configuration and understanding to commence the approach. The VOR to TL must be handflown once the gear is put down, as per company SOP's. I configured at 11DME to be configured an stable by 8DME which is the final approach fix. From there is was a matter of crew co-ordination and flying to get the plane down. We landed safely and the exercise was over.
The next event was by the captain into Cairns, doing an 15nm DME arc arrival 15 ILS. Handflown with a pressurisation fault and roll control fault. All handled well. After our break it was time to get back into it.
Next was an uncontrolled engine fire on descent into Tamworth. Again the associated drills and checklists were done, it was time to get the plane on the ground and simulate a mock evacuation. Shortly after we had to do some bad weather circling approaches at night, which are always challenging. My excercise was all engines operation, so i could use the autopilot. The captain on one engine had to handfly his, not easy, and his involved a missed approach from 300ft.
So 4 hours later we emerged absolutely tired and mentally exhausted, but good to fly the line for another 3 months till the next check. It was a good experience and despite it being stressful and hard, you have to consider the sim as a day at work with abnormal operations and just deal with the problems that occur, as you would the real aeroplane if you were flying on the line. It was good to see that my procedures and drills for abnormal operations were better and more understood than when i was doing endorsement training in the sim nearly 3 months ago.