I’ve become a bit of a nag around one particular subject and I’d like to apologize in advance. When it comes to pilots preparing for airline interviews, that subject is the SIM.
Here we go again you may be thinking, yep, well, it’s because I care. There’s little to no benefit to me as a business if you do a practice SIM or don’t. But I do have to discuss the fall out when you nail the interview aspect, underperform in the SIM and receive the resultant “ you’ve been unsuccessful this time” email.
And I really feel for you, it takes a lot of effort to get through these airline assessments.
Lack of performance at that final stage is one of the 2 key reasons a candidate does not receive a job offer. So why, I ask myself, do 70% of pilot candidates not prepare thoroughly for the SIM?
Trying to figure this out my research highlighted some of the most common reasons:
- The cost
- Lack of time due to the short time between notification of interview and assessment date
- Already flying multi-crew so don’t need it
- Just had a cyclic SIM so am SIM current
- I’m using my computer flight simulator at home
- I cannot get the time off work
Some of the above are extremely valid reasons, you can only do what you have time to do and also what you can afford to do. Other than that, the reasons are based on an assumption that a home flight simulator is good enough or that you are current and therefore ready.
While being current is a good thing, that is no guarantee of meeting the expectations of the airline on the day.
So I asked my research group, do you know what the airline expects during your SIM assessment?
- The Turbo Prop and Jet Pilots knew generally but not specifically,
- The single and twin pilots had a very limited understanding.
95% of the entire group had also never flown that particular aircraft type before.
Taking all of that into account I’ll suggest, strongly suggest, a set of SOP’s to consider the next time you progress to an airline interview and face the possibility of a SIM.
SIM Prep Checklist
1. Full motion SIMs are expensive, using a fixed based SIM is a good enough standard.
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2. Ensure your SIM Instructor has airline multi-crew operational experience and even better, experience on an airline recruitment team.
3. Start preparing as soon as you apply for the airline. Timelines are now very short from application to assessment, get a jump-start.
4. Turbo prop and Jet Pilots still need to know the airlines SIM expectations, and it may be a different aircraft type to the one you are type rated on. Do at least an hour in the SIM for this specific purpose, being current is often not enough.
5. Single and twin pilots coming from GA, instructing or small regionals need more time in the SIM, this is a totally foreign environment, I recommend 2-4 hours minimum.
Plan for it in advance to give yourself the best chance.
Hey, that rhymes.
So, where should you go?
Anywhere that can offer the standard of instruction outlined in point #2 on the above checklist.
One of my favourite SIM providers has developed a “Jet Orientation Course” specifically for those low hours pilots coming of out of GA or Instructing, the half-day course covers all the key elements.
Get more information here: https://www.pinstripesolutions.com/shop/sim-practice/