After the familiarization flight, today was ground school day. Yes, tedious, but necessary. I was determined to commit to memory as much procedures, limitation and other important information as I could before attempting the first flight.
Ground school was divided into two different sections, according my training plan:
- Day #1, where we would go over the aircraft’s systems and basic procedures, including an overview of the Prodigy G1000 avionics suite;
- Day #2, where the focus would be on airplane performance and limitations, as well as emergency procedures.
Ground School Day #1
I had planned to study the aircraft’s systems during day 1, but I had to skip most of that, since the available documentation does not contain any systems description.
I decided to focus first on the G1000 avionics suite. I read through the available documentation, a 33-page document provided by Carenado, filled mostly with screenshots of the available pages and not much useful information. Once again, a note towards the publisher – the document was useless. I quickly read through it and even noticed some glaring errors on the document. The FLC autopilot mode is not described at all (which is interesting, since it is incorrectly modelled) and the function of the NAV button is described as “Selects/deselects Heading mode”. The system pages are just presented with a single phrase like “Shows the actual status of the aircraft electrical system”.
After the G1000 disappointment, I turned to the standard procedures documentation. this was a little better, provided in the form of extended checklists. Some important information was missing regarding flight profiles, but the actual operation of the systems was fairly well described. I tried to follow them in my head and commit them to memory.
Then I went in the sim and, without starting up the engines, I ran through the cockpit preparation, power up and before start flows, just to make sure I had those memorized. The rest of the procedures were just simulated in my head, since I didn’t want to start-up the engines. It was a good exercise, and it made me more confident that I had at least basic knowledge of how to operate the aircraft.
As a final exercise, I closed the normal procedures document from Carenado and took a sheet of paper. I played through a flight in my head, trying to follow the flows I had memorized. I wrote down what I would b doing. At key points, I brought up a file I found on the internet with some checklists and made sure I had covered all the items on the checklist before I proceeded. This took me about 30 minutes, but I ended up with 3 hand-written pages describing the normal procedures in my own terms.
I was happy with this and felt confident to progress to the second ground school session.
Ground School Day #2
The first step for day #2 was studying aircraft limitations. It may come as no surprise that Carenado did not include any documentation about aircraft limitations. I had to look in the internet and I was able to find some reference information and speeds.
The most relevant ones I could find were tables for takeoff speeds (V1, VR, V2), flap manoeuvring speeds and Vref speeds. Based on this and some information I was able to gather from various sources on the internet, I was able to establish a very basic flight profile, which I tried to memorize:
Takeoff and climb
- VR: rotate the nose to around 9 degrees nose-up
- Positive rate of climb: retract gear
- 500′ AGL: set CLB thrust
- 120 KIAS: set flaps to 1 (if taking off with flaps 2)
- 140 KIAS: set flaps up, accelerate to 160 KIAS
- At TA: accelerate to 200 KIAS
- Maintain 200 KIAS until reaching M0.55
- Maintain M0.55 until cruise altitude
Descent and approach
- Descend at M0.55 until reaching 200 KIAS
- Maintain 200 KIAS until 15 nm out
- 15 nm out: Decelerate to 180 KIAS
- Localizer capture: Decelerate to 140 KIAS, select flaps 1
- Glideslope alive: Decelerate to 120 KIAS, select gear down, flaps 2
- Glideslope captured: Decelerate to VRef, flaps 3, then flaps full (if needed).
The final step for the ground training sessions was the emergency and abnormal procedures. Carenado provides some documentation on this, and although it is fairly simple, it appears to represent well the fact that the Embraer EMB-500 is a simple aircraft designed to be operated by one pilot only. The emergency procedures aren’t all that complicated and were fairly easy to review. I didn’t try to memorize them, though, as I felt this would be better done just before attempting to train them in the simulator.
And that was it. Ground school is done. The next step is to get in the airplane and do a simple introductory flight using mostly the autopilot, and see if I have a basic grasp on the normal procedures and flight profiles.
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