In today’s Pilatus PC-12 NG training session I flew three approaches, and actually got to work the Apex avionics while the “airplane” was moving! The procedures are becoming more familiar, but I have a few day-two training observations. One is that the autopilot/flight control system should be made a no-go item. Anyone hoping to successfully fly this airplane in IMC simply cannot afford to be without George. The other is to NEVER try to program the Apex (or any other set of boxes) while flying down a final approach course, lest the avionics sidetrack you. How do I know? At 500 feet agl I realized I forgot to lower the landing gear….arrrgh. Thanks, EGPWS.
Also, I’m thinking that two pilots would be best. One to fly, the other to work the avionics. The more I think about it, the more I wonder what heavy IMC, a missed approach, a re-routing–at night and near high terrain–might be like for a solo newbie Apex driver. If you aren’t really, really good friends with your wonder-boxes they can work against you, in spite of their vast capabilities.
Lastly, I’ve come up with a new angle on the tried-and-true “aviate, navigate, communicate” triumvirate. Let’s change that to “aviate, aviate, aviate.”