Another weekend away from home…

After four days of guaranteed Days off, it was time to get back to work again. Unfortunately it was Saturday, a day I usually spent with family and friends. A simulator check ride was planned and I even had to study at home the day before, so it couldn’t really be called a day off…

The sim session was planned for the evening and I could have taken the afternoon flight from Dresden to Frankfurt easily. However, checking the flights at midday, I suddenly discovered that two flights to Dresden had been cancelled and my service to Frankfurt would be the first of the day. There was no way I would take the risk of not getting on board that flight and missing my simulator flight! I packed my back hastily and went on the Autobahn with my car – I had six hours for 500km! I did not know what was coming as ithad  snowed heavily the night before and I had to be quick and drive safely at the same time.

I saw the first accident about an hour after I left. A car was laying on the side and pieces of it were scattered over the whole road. Cars had stopped and people were running over to the crashed car… Really bad scene and if I hadn’t made a quick stop before, I could have been in it.

At about 4 pm I got to my regular hotel, checked-in and rested a bit, because an hour later I was already back in my car and drove to the Lufthansa Flight Training centre at Frankfurt Airport. During our check rides we follow a preset program that is based on the rules set by the German Federal Aviation Authority. We start with a traffic pattern for each pilot and after that the actual examination starts with an engine failure. It was the captains turn first, loosing an engine at rotation speed – gear up, stable and safe flight path and then the engine failure procedure – fuel dump, return to the airport, RNAV approach and go-around – another approach (this time ILS) with a second engine failure on final and landing. Then it was my turn and the sequence was similar. Engine failure on take-off and VOR approach, system failure during the go-around and an ILS approach… Time for a break!

The second part of the check ride only had to do with low visibility operation. After a rejected take-off, we successfully departed Frankfurt’s runway 18 and did an approach on runway 25L. Of course, there had to be a system failure again that led to go-around and another approach. This time we landed and each of us did a landing in perfect weather and with some cross-wind to finish the check ride. I am safe for another six month, when the next check ride is due…

I got back to the hotel at 23.30 and soon fell asleep. I didn’t do much on Sunday, because the weather was bad and I rather wanted to watch some old western movies in TV. It didn’t make sense to drive all the way home to Dresden as my next flight will be on Monday morning with a briefing time of 3:15 am. In six hours I will be working again – time to go to bed!

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