Learning to fly the Jet
How I started and the demo flight
A drive to Bankstown regional airport in Sydney some 17 years ago, turned a new corner in my life path. To learn to fly again, I initially learnt some of the basics when I was in the Israeli air force when I was just 18. Remembering the practices and precise flying requirements to fly in gullies and avoid power lines it all comes back like a door in time opening up. Hours and hours of practice and study; first private pilot licence then instrument training, night rating, it never stops. Anyone who thinks that's it, I can fly, is kidding themselves. To fly is to keep learning, it is a healthy addiction.
Fast forward on to 17 years and now the challenge to learn how to fly a jet! Single engine high tech Jet. They say it’s not so different from the latest Cirrus SR22, well, we will see...
One year before the delivery schedule of the Jet, which was scheduled for October 2019, Cirrus invites us as Vision Jet position holders to the Tennessee Cirrus Vision Jet state of the art training facility where they train and prepare the new owners. It was clear this was going to be a new ball game, a whole new way of thinking.
A warm welcome was given by the Cirrus trainers at the Vision Jet Center and access to the simulator and avionics training systems opened the challenge to how hard the work will be to get to the competencies needed to fly this amazing Jet.
The highlight of the visit was the demonstration flight, sitting left seat with Adam Hahn guiding and explaining the features. We started the engine and that sound of a Jet engine spooling up knowing that this is the sound that will soon be mine was soul altering.
We run through pre-flight checks, then onto the runway to take off on my first feel of that engine motion, building acceleration down the runway and the feeling of taking control of that beautiful bird as she takes off was exciting. Adam speaks to air traffic control and we are cleared to climb to 18 000 feet, it is set into the Avionics and I can’t believe the speed of the accent, watching the altimeter spin like a slot machine... we were at 18000 feet within minutes.
We worked through some manoeuvres Adam showing me the safety features and getting a feel of the stick shaker and the stick pusher. Steep turns and completing a missed approach. Then back in light to moderate icing conditions to the Knoxville airport to a 18kt cross wind, 50% flap position yet crisp perfect landing, a proof that trailing landing gear has some advantage.
The interior of the Jet is just a genius space also, with the windows being so large all the way around the plane giving a 360-degree view. The pilot and Co-pilot seats slide all the way back to the passenger space for easy access and when in command position leaves the passengers so much leg room that you cannot touch the seats in front.
The demo Jet was a racy red with black interior leather, over the next few months we will choose our interior and exterior, so it was good to see other Vision Jet Owners choices some fully customised some in the premium package. It is so hard to choose as they all look great.
I spent a few days at the Training facility getting familiar with the avionics, flying the simulator, taking a flight in an SR22 and pre-course checks with an instructor that determined how much I need to work on stepping myself up to the levels of flying required prior to taking the Jet.
So, with fantastic informative online training material and a basic understanding of the requirements needed to start the training I went back to Australia to prepare for my entrance to the flight training in August 2019.
At 57 try to make your brain turn back time and go back to learning and retaining.. I would read a course, view the video and read the supplied material and it just wouldn't stick in the same ease as when I was younger. The brain couldn't kick into gear. So I slowed down and worked on the material in small bits after a while I started to click and the learning started to stick and stay there and grow.
It helped that the course material is in a format that is easily absorbed and interesting to keep you going. Short video tutorials then short questions and answers. You need to listen carefully and go over them a few times. Lots of them, but all very interesting and well structured.
Having completed the online course by the pre-requisite time and working hard to learn the avionics it was time to go to the US and join the group of new Cirrus Jet Owner and pilots that will learn to fly this incredible new Jet.
Cirrus Vision Jet Type Rating
The course material is vast and over three weeks of intense learning;
Aircraft General, Air-frame instruments and panels.
Oxygen / Automatic Flight Control System
Flight controls/Avionics/Power plant/Engine fire protection/Electrical / Landing gear /Ice Protection / Fuel System /Weight and Balance / Performance and planning.
Aircraft Handling, service, maintenance / Cirrus airframe Parachute System.
Hours and hours of simulator time and flight checks.
I was joined by two of my friends from Israel, who are also going to receive their own Jets within a few months. We are all competent world flyers each having owned and flown Cirrus Propeller aircraft for over 10 years and completed a few migration Europe flights together also, but to bring ourselves up to the standards that Cirrus demand all the new Jet pilots must attain before the delivery of their Jets is soon made very clear to us that we all have a Grand Canyon to leap!
Make no mistake about the seriousness of this course, you must pass with flying colours or Cirrus will not deliver the jet to you. It has been done before and they are absolutely serious about competencies and safety.
The professional approach and the high standard of instructors puts any training I have done in the past to shame. We are all in for a wild ride of long long hours of mind and brain draining training.
Everything the instructors threw at me, I worked through practicing on simulators static and full motion, hours and hours on the desktop Avionics until I could work all the 5 screens of the Garmin 3000 + with speed and automatic motion.
The last few days are high paced with competency testing and flights in the Jet under intense pressure. The instructors throwing all different situations and changes at last minute at you to ensure you are confident and can both fly the aircraft and have full command of the avionics.
The final test is in the full motion simulator, going through all that has been covered in the course. When the test has finished the result is announced through out the centre - open the doors of the simulator and the Cirrus staff are all there cheering and clapping...what a high and relief!
All the pilots who successfully complete the course sign the board adding to some impressive names of amazing pilots.