Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 13 - Checkride!

TL;DR - I passed!

This is going to be a bit of a long post, but I tried to remember more or less the sequence of events and everything we did, in case that helps anybody out!


As usual, we started with the oral. Pretty straightforward. It was both of us in there at the same time, which was a first for me. The examiner would just alternate asking questions between the two of us. Started with some of the memory items from the checklists (Engine fire before V1, go!) and then went through some of the limitations (flaps extended speed, autopilot limitations, thrust reversers, etc.). Both of these areas were straight off the flashcards or study guide provided in the training materials. So, no real surprises if you studied.

He then went to a large poster of the cockpit on the wall and proceeded to ask us questions about various buttons and switches and the systems they controlled. "What happens when we turn the engine anti-ice system on?" "How long should the surface deice light be on for once activated?" "If the AC Fail light comes on, what systems do you have left?" These also were pretty straightforward, taken from the training materials and ground school lessons. Fortunately, there were no questions like "draw a schematic of the electrical system" or "how many holes are in the speedbrakes?"

Then it was time for the "preflight". Since we didn't exactly have an actual airplane in the building, it was a bit funny how they did this. There is a video we had watched in class about the preflight, so he just played it and muted the sound. He'd ask "what is the pilot checking now? What is he looking for?" - those kind of questions. Since I had (literally) used the video to help me fall asleep a couple times at night (yes, really), this was also no problem.

You see, the Citation II is not a new airplane, and this video was made quite a while ago. And it shows. Enjoy.


Now it was time to figure out our Takeoff and Landing Data for our TOLD cards. It's just a matter of looking up the proper numbers for weight, temperature and altitude.

Having passed the oral, it was on to the flight!


I'm pretty sure I have the sequence of events right here, but it's very possible I've missed something. It was a busy day!

- Complete cockpit checklist as if we just walked out to the airplane.
- Right engine start
     - Rapidly rising Interstage Turbine Temperature (ITT) indicated a hot start, so I shut the engine back down.
- Normal start on both engines
- Short taxi for takeoff
- Takeoff roll
- ENGINE FIRE light on before V1, abort takeoff
- Normal takeoff
- Kennedy Five Departure out to the "practice area" near the DPK VOR
- Steep turns (360 degrees, 45 degrees of bank, left then immediately followed by right)
- Stalls in clean (autopilot on), takeoff (autopilot off) and landing (autopilot off) configurations
- Unusual attitudes

Done with airwork, now back for approaches.

- Direct JFK VOR for the VOR RWY 4L, circle to 31R (autopilot available)

Now, I've done a few circling approaches, especially in training, and of course the visibility is usually pretty good when you're actually out there flying for training. The examiner took the visibility down to something just above minimums, maybe 1 1/2 miles? 2 miles? With the cloud deck right above me, it was definitely a different experience. The runways were hard to see in the first place, let alone maneuvering to line up with a different one. I'm sure that's why many operators prohibit circling approaches altogether. I really wouldn't like to have to do one in those conditions for real.

- Takeoff
- Engine problem after V1 (we noticed a runaway ITT)
     - We continued the takeoff and climbed to 2000 and shut it down in the air.
     - Based on the ITT problem, we elected to not attempt a restart. So now it was single-engine operations for a while.
- Vectors for the ILS RWY 22L (autopilot available)
- At DA, no runway in sight, missed approach (single engine still, of course)
- Vectors for the ILS RWY 4L (autopilot not available, hand flown)

This is the approach that had caused me problems the day before - I was weaving back and forth on the localizer and I suspected it was due to rudder trim not being set right. So before I started this approach I made sure I had it set right!  And ... ta-da!

That's way better than the day before! Amazing what a simple few turns of the rudder trim wheel will do. Runway in sight just before DA, and landed.

- Takeoff, climb to 2000, engine failure as we level off (man these engines have problems!)
- Engine shutdown then successful restart
- Vectors to the IF for the RNAV (GPS) RWY 4L (hand flown, only LNAV minimums available)
     - A little bit of twiddling with the FMS for this one
- The weather had improved a little, so we got the runway in sight, descended to land, but a go-around was called by tower at about 50 ft.
- Vectors for the visual approach to runway 22R
- Flaps would not extend, so we got delay vectors to run the appropriate checklist
- Landed!

And then I heard the words I wanted to hear - you passed! About a 2 hour flight.

Sim partner's turn

Now it was my sim partner's turn to fly, which meant I was now the copilot. We had learned that the copilot is often much busier than the pilot when it comes to emergencies. Finding and running the checklists can keep you pretty active.

In some ways, I was more nervous about being the copilot than being the pilot. For one, there are so many ways where mistakes made by the copilot could really cause problems for the pilot that would lead to a checkride failure. Setting the wrong altitude, wrong frequency, bringing up the wrong checklist, missing an item on the checklist, etc. I didn't know how the examiner would handle a situation like this, and I sure didn't want to find out! My sim partner had done a decent job for me, I wanted to do a decent job for him.

His checkride was basically the same as mine. Some of the engine failures were for different reasons, but I think the general flow was the same. And apparently I did a good enough job as copilot, since he passed too.

For a last little bit of humor, the examiner had us taxi up to the gate at JFK to end the day. Not really built for a Citation!

Ahh, the moment I've been waiting for...

Temporary certificate in hand!

DPE: Vinay Singh
Since this is my first type rating (and I don't have a bunch of previous turbine time), my certificate is going to be a little wordy for a while. I require what is called "SOE" - Supplemental Operating Experience. The FAA words that as "The CE-500 is subject to Pilot-in-Command limitations." This means that for the next 25 hours, I must be flying with another fully-type-rated pilot. This should not be much of a limitation for the type of flying I'm looking at doing. 

Also, since the Citation II is eligible to be flown single-pilot (if the pilot has passed the additional checkride for those privileges, which I of course have not), my certificate also reads "CE-500 Second in Command required." Which for those 25 hours will be another PIC-rated pilot. Once I meet the SOE requirement and get the limitation removed, I could fly with someone who is only Second-in-Command qualified.

In red - my new rating. Highlighted - the additional limitations!

If anybody has any questions about the process, or the school, or what it was like going from Bonanzas, Comanches and light twins to a type rating, just let me know, I'll be happy to answer any questions.

I am really looking forward to flying the Citation II! 

(photo from Wikipedia)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 12 - checkride prep

It was checkride prep day!

Started off in the simulator, essentially running through everything that will likely be on the checkride. The entire flight was at (or near) JFK.

After an aborted takeoff, the second takeoff, climb to altitude and airwork went great - steep turns, stalls (clean, takeoff, and landing configurations) - no problems there. Back to the airport for the ILS RWY 22L using the autopilot to minimums, and missed approach.

On the missed approach, an engine failed and we shut it down (no restart). Vectors to the ILS RWY 4R, single engine. Nearing glideslope intercept he had me turn off the autopilot and hand fly (we knew this was coming). And the minute I did, everything started getting out of hand.

I was having a really hard time following the flight director. Every time I'd turn to follow it I think I was on it, I'd drift off heading. I weaved all the way down final! It was somewhat humbling, because I've always considered the single-engine ILS on checkrides to be something that people worry too much about, they are usually pretty straightforward once you have the airplane all trimmed up. And I think that was my problem - I may not have had the rudder properly trimmed when I had engaged the autopilot after the engine failure, and so the autopilot masked that out-of-trim condition. Until, of course, the point where I turned it off just as I intercepted glideslope, and never really got stabilized.

The ground track, or at least what it felt like to me!
So, doing my bobbing and weaving down final, once the runway was in sight (with 1/2 mile visibility), I was not in a good position to land, and went around. Fortunately this was still a training event, not a checkride, so the instructor just repositioned me back outside glideslope intercept on a vector. The second try was much better and I landed safely. Whew!

Following that I got things back together. Takeoff, engine failure, successful restart, RNAV (GPS) RWY 4R with a go-around/missed approach due to pink elephants on the runway or some such thing, and then the VOR RWY 4L, full procedure from the JFK VOR, circle-to-land runway 31R. They teach a local technique for the circling part of this that works every time if you do it right.

Landed, took off again, and vectors for the visual approach to runway 13R with inoperative flaps (stuck at 0 degrees). No problems there either.

And apparently, that's pretty much the checkride! You can bet I will really be focused on that single-engine ILS - we've done them before and I had no problems, so I'm sure I'll be okay.

After the sim, we did a couple hours of prep for the oral part of the checkride. I was way more worried about this than the flying part, but it seems pretty straightforward and I don't anticipate any problems. I've been studying the aircraft systems for about 6 weeks now, so hopefully some of it has stuck!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 11 - Hot weather day

The main focus of today was high temperature and high altitude performance, or rather lack there-of, with one engine inoperative. But of course the syllabus graciously added a few other things to keep it interesting.

The flight was from Reno, NV to Redding, CA on a summer day. Density altitude was about 6300 feet. Reno's "HUNGRY THREE" (hah!) departure from runway 34L requires a climb gradient of 315 feet per nm to 8400:

This calculates to about a 5.25 percent climb gradient. We used the Citation II performance charts to determine that we could make this gradient, assuming an engine failed on takeoff, at a maximum of 11,500 pounds (1,800 pounds short of the maximum takeoff weight). So, it seems we might have to leave some of our Reno gambling winnings behind...

And so we did. The engine failed on takeoff roll, just above abort speed (V1) and I continued the climb, apparently missing the cloud-hidden mountains all around. Once this were settled down we restarted and went on our way to Redding.

Along the way we had a cabin depressurization and emergency descent. Pitching the plane over for a maximum-speed dive with the speedbrakes out was a lot of fun in the simulator. I bet not as much in real life.

Flying ILS into Redding, we were warned of thunderstorms in the area and possible windshear. And wouldn't you know it, we ran into bad windshear on short final! Recovery procedure is throttles to maximum and pitch up as much as necessary to arrest the descent rate. "As much as necessary" is all the way up to just short of a stall.

Fortunately, we have this to guide us, an Angle-Of-Attack indicator:

Pitching up into the yellow band is recommended for windshear escape. The crosshatched area around .85 is where the airplane will stall. We used this previously during the stall maneuvers and it works very reliably in any configuration - once the AOA gets to the crosshatched area, the plane buffets every time.

We were told that the windshear event being simulated was the Dallas-Ft Worth event that brought down Delta Flight 191 on August 2, 1985. That event really started a lot of the research into windshear and microbursts. Even knowing it was coming, and even being in a simulator, it was definitely enough to get the heart pumping! Fortunately we were able to make a missed approach and fly out of it eventually.

We followed that with a LOC/DME back into Redding. Funny how the windshear also damaged the glideslope antenna. On vectors for this came a "Fuel Filter Bypass" light. Not much of a checklist for this one, but the warning does get your attention (so much they put it in there twice).

And sure enough, one of them did decide to give up on final.

Landed, fixed the engine and went back around for a practice visual approach. Of course that meant a runaway elevator trim problem to identify and disable before it drove us into the ground!

I am feeling way more comfortable in the airplane than just a day or two ago. Even considering everything that happened on the flight today, it was actually a pretty easy flight. Is that a good sign, or not? Don't know!

Tomorrow is our checkride prep day!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 10 - Cold weather day

Jepp charts. Lots of professional pilots use them. I never have, neither does almost anyone I know. But of course that's what we're using in training, so although I could just bring up FAA charts on Foreflight, I decided to just learn the Jepps. Approach charts I had seen enough before that I didn't need a whole lot of practice with them. But for SIDs and STARs I've never used and have only rarely seen the Jepp versions!



I definitely had to hunt around to find the information.

Today as you may have guessed we flew from Seattle Intl. It was simulating a cold weather day, with snow at SEA, low IFR, and icing conditions along our route, which took us down to Portland Intl, PDX.

It was another day of problems. Engine anti-ice failure, bleed air leak, anti-skid brake system failure, generator failure, engine fire, circuit breaker panel fire, low hydraulic level and pressure, and of course the landing gear wouldn't extend!

In addition to that, we flew three instrument approaches at PDX. The first one was the most challenging - the PDX LOC/DME RWY 21.

Of course we started at BTG VORTAC and had to fly the whole thing, procedure turn and all. Look at all those stepdown fixes! In addition, it's steeper than normal, at a 3.43 degree descent angle, and sure enough I was having trouble keeping the speed under control while making that descent. Had to use the speedbrakes a few times but I imagine I probably could have avoided that with a little better speed and descent planning.

The instructor must have had the visibility set at about 1/2 mile, because once we finally did see the runway I was too high and close (700 MSL/674 AGL) for a safe approach. Missed approach, the published one, of course! This approach is just as busy or even moreso for the copilot who has to set all the radios, altitude preselects, run the checklists and keep the pilot out of trouble. It's a good training approach!

Tomorrow we sweat - "high temperature day" and engine failures in mountainous terrain. That checkride is getting closer!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 9 - Lousy engines!

I thought jet engines were supposed to be very reliable - well not today they weren't!

It was "Engine Failure Day". That's not what they call it, but they should. We had low oil pressure, we had clogged fuel filters, we had engine fires, we had bird strikes.

They failed on takeoff roll. They failed after V1. They failed in cruise. They failed on approach.

Throw in a couple of other more minor issues like flaps not extending and the AC system failing (that's AC as in "AC power" not as in "Air Conditioning", although that would also be a true emergency in the summer!)

I can't even begin to remember the order of everything. But we did fly around single-engine most of the day. Even did some single-engine missed approaches. Good times.

Flew four instrument approaches each, and one visual approach (oh sure it was easy until the flaps broke and the engine fire light came on...) The instrument approaches were two ILSes, one Localizer-only, and one NDB.

Yes, I said NDB.

Why? I have no idea. I assume the Citation II training syllabus was approved by the FAA in 1947 and not updated since. Okay, maybe not that long ago. Now, NDB approaches are great for building situational awareness but I just can't think of a good reason for them to be in this type rating course in 2019. If you really did need to be able to fly them, you should seek out additional training.

Granted, it was kind of fun. I don't remember the last time I flew one for practice. Fortunately we were given vectors to final and it was pretty straightforward at that point. And it actually turned out pretty well for me!

I definitely learned today that the copilot can easily be busier than the pilot. There were so many checklists to run, right after each other, that it got a little hectic and confusing sometimes. Especially since the problems always seemed to happen at absolutely the worst time - while setting up for an approach, for example. However, we got very good at saying "Citation 2SF request delay vectors to work the problem", as you would likely do in real life.

My sim partner is a former airline pilot who hasn't flown for about 10 years. I, on the other hand, am very current but have never flown in a two-person crew environment. I want to do everything myself in the plane (whether I'm pilot or co-pilot), but am learning to call things out to him. We're helping each other out as much as we can.

Tomorrow will hopefully be a bit less exhausting. We're simulating a cold-weather (meaning icing) trip from Seattle to Portland. Good times!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 8 - Maneuvers and approaches

What a day! Showtime was at 6 AM so we could make up my sim session from yesterday. Fortunately we had already briefed last night so we were able to get right to it.

Started off with my "S1" lesson, with me in the left seat. We did the three type of stalls mentioned before, steep turns, and then back to JFK for the ILS OR LOC RWY 22L.

The steep turns went okay, especially on the second try. Stalls really weren't any different than in any other plane I've flown them in, easily controllable and the recovery actions were the same.

We then returned for the ILS. The instructors had prepared us for the power settings and such for the various segments of an approach, and with the autopilot running it was no big trick to make sure I was on speed. The instructor showed me the plot of glideslope and ground track, where he was happy with the consistent speed at about Vref + 10 (the top number on each pair of white numbers). Although, honestly, I just set the power, it seemed to be working, so I left it alone!

Time for a quick break, then back into the sim for my partner's "S2" lesson - review of steep turns, stalls, an engine failure in cruise, and non-precision approaches. While he's flying, of course, I'm running checklists and trying to stay ahead of the game so I can help him out as needed - course reminders, altitudes, and such.  At the end of his flying it was my turn for a RIGHT seat takeoff and approach. Now, I sit in the right seat several times a week in training, and have flown from that seat quite regularly. So I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but it was. Although this aircraft has full instrumentation on the right side, it's not as complete or as integrated as the left side. So it was a bit more work. The autopilot was also randomly disengaging too (not caused by the instructor), which was creating some confusion and difficulty. I was vectored for the JFK VOR/DME RWY 22L, and flew it "okay". Since the autopilot was randomly disengaging, I just turned it off. Notice below there is no plot of my ground track for this one!

Then it was my turn in the left seat again.

By this time we had been in the sim about 4 hours (yes we got a break halfway) so I was getting a little tired. But we started off at Teterboro, NJ with the Teterboro Two Departure, a departure that is known for having pilots bust the 2000 foot initial altitude. It doesn't take long to get there! But with the two of us we managed just fine.

Tereboro Two Departure

Cleared up to 10,000 suddenly the right engine gave up on us as we were passing 6000. We told ATC we were leveling off to work the problem. Shut it down and then restarted it. This is something I have done in twin-engine piston aircraft reasonably often, but it's so much less work with a two-person crew! It was really a non-event. Resumed climbing to 10,000.

Then we worked into some steep turns and stalls again, and I am happy to say they went great! Of course, the fact that I had just practiced them 2 hours earlier helped a lot. Back to the JFK VOR for the full VOR RWY 4L, circle to runway 31. I had the benefit here of having seen it during my partner's flying, so I knew what to expect. We even did a turn in holding at the FAF. Descending, broke out of the clouds , turned right to circle to 31, and pulled off a decent landing.


My partner got his turn for the right seat takeoff, approach and landing, then I took back the airplane to fly the KJFK RNAV (GPS) RWY 4R using the UNS-1 FMS. Functionally pretty much the same as a Garmin 430 without all the features. LNAV-only, no LPV, so leveled off at MDA and fortunately saw the runway.

And then we peeled ourselves out of there and ate lunch.

Back tomorrow at 6:30 AM!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Citation II type rating - Day 7 - First real sim session

12:30 PM show for the first sim lesson today! Fortunately when I got there it was empty...

Okay, that's actually a beautifully restored Link trainer from back in the 30's and 40's in the main atrium at CAE.


How the sim sessions work at CAE is you are allocated an hour before the sim for prebrief and an hour afterward for debrief. Each pilot gets about 2 hours as pilot and 2 hours as copilot. So, 12:30 show means 1:30 in the sim and done by 6:30.

At least that's how it's supposed to work!

We showed at 12:30 only to find out the sim had broken a little while before and they were trying to fix it. Unfortunately, it also meant that the previous session hadn't been completed and they still had about 3 hours left. Now, there isn't a lot of spare time built into the schedule - I'll be in the sim every day until my checkride on Monday. So lots of different scheduling options were being thrown around (including slipping every, including my checkride, one day - ugh), but it all depended on how quickly the sim could be fixed. Fortunately it didn't take too long (a few hours) so the decision we settled on was to only do half (2 hours) or our sim session today, and do a session and a half tomorrow (6 hours). The instructors and the scheduling office worked quickly together to make sure this would work.

We finally got into the sim at about 4:00 PM today. Since we were only doing half a session, only one of us got to be pilot. I went ahead and served as copilot for today (but I'll do the exact same flight tomorrow morning as pilot).

Sim lesson 1 is a pretty basic intro to checklists and flying the sim. No emergencies or abnormal conditions for this flight! On the ground at JFK, we ran through all the startup checklists, and lined up on runway 4R.

Cleared for takeoff, we flew the Kennedy Five Departure, navigated to a VOR (remember those?) and then proceeded into the "practice area". The main maneuvers for today were steep turns, stalls (clean, landing, and takeoff configuration, that last one with a turn) and an ILS approach.

The steep turns seemed pretty straightforward, nothing that would be unusual to any Private Pilot. The stalls were also very benign and predictable - having an AOA indicator here helps a lot, you know exactly when it's going to stall. Recoveries were also straightforward, using pretty much the same methods you'd use in a 172. Well, I guess a 172RG anyway. Of course that's all from the right seat, I'll see if I think they're so simple after tomorrow's lesson!

From the copilot's side I was busy running checklists, calling out speeds, and generally helping the pilot out. Even got to say familiar things like "watch your altitude" - sounds a lot like flight instruction!

Just about 2 hours total in the sim today. More tomorrow!