While I knew all of this at a certain level, it wasn’t until going through the SimCom course for the Piper Meridian that I understood how sophisticated the systems are in the turboprop. Day three of the training was mostly spent wading through the systems. The thick training manual includes colorful system outlines, diagrams, and schematics. But it was instructor Bill Inglis who made it all come alive and made it relevant. Along with discussions about the systems, Inglis included right from the start points about how to deal with failures of those systems and the consequences. While checklists are stressed, there is also emphasis on cockpit flows–ways to move through checklist procedures in a logical path in the cockpit. Pilots can more easily move through flows and then follow up with the checklists to make sure no items are skipped.
In addition to the deep dive into systems, we spent time in the flight training device (FTD) practicing for failures. A Garmin G1000 trainer–basically a panel with the system installed just for practicing using the system–also proved helpful.
By day four–last day–it was time to go flying again. For that, we set off from Vero Beach, Florida, to Florence, South Carolina. The climb to FL270 gave me time to run through normal checklists and manage the systems. While en route we practiced running through checklist flows for a dozen imaginary problems. Of course, there were multiple approaches at each end.
Day five is the long anticipated flight home. Piper’s Bob Kromer handed me the keys to the $2.2 million airplane on day four. The plan is to fly it home solo today. Stay tuned.