What a Phenom...enal adventure!

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What a Phenom...enal adventure!

Message  Admin le Jeu 13 Mai 2010, 23:18

Hello everyboby...

And yes, I'm not much on the forum at the moment (a postponement), but you'll read why: I found a new job.

It was almost a year since I was looking to replace a my former job in a French company, bankrupt due to the economic crisis. After flying in business aviation on aircrafts of all kinds, with a good feeling for the MU-2, I dragged my gaiters on airliners from seven different companies which all except one have bankrupted ... on airplanes like the B737-300, -500, -800, the MD-82, -83 and B757-200 ... I took a lot of fun, but a strong desire to return to my first love drove me to look into aviation business. So I found a place on an Embraer Phenom 100, beautiful little twin-jet with avionics which makes the Airbus 320 and B737-800 an archaic look.

Yes, but now, despite my hours and licensing ATPL (A) JAA, we must study again, since the beginning, to pass quickly my FAA licenses, because the aircraft will be registered "N". After a week of intense review, a tight organization, appointments, hours of internet searching for information, some VISA debits, phone calls to U.S.A., deposit of my fingerprints, procedure to obtain a U.S. visa, a TSA (paper needed to step in a simulator from the U.S. "9 / 11"), a Written ATP, tickets for Dallas, an FAA medical, a validation of my licenses JAA ATPL to FAA PPL, contract, and a big smile the whole family very happy to see me out of the terrible spiral of Pole job ...
So I've been driven by family, to take my American Airlines flight to Dallas / Fort Worth in the middle of a controllers' strike. It starts well! After several hours of waiting, we boarded in the B767.



The atmosphere is "vacation" in the plane, but I'm always in my FAR AIM 2010 to be as comfortable as possible on site. 10 hours and half of flight later, we land in Dallas...

First adventure, looking for a car: impossible to get somewhere without in those countries. I rented the smallest car available and I went to the hotel I booked the day before you go ... Do not ask me why, but being in Texas, my car is registered in Florida:



The next day I arrived at CAE SimuFlite where I'll do my "Initial Training" on the Phenom 100 ...



The first week will take place in a classroom, and in front of benches training "prodigy" to become familiar with the G1000 Improved found on VLJs:



At the bottom of the class are the Brazilian, American and Canadian flags...

In a corridor between King 200, Challenger, Falcon, Learjet, Gulfstream, Citation, HS125 simulators... I find myself facing the most futuristic of all, the Phenom 100, which seems almost out of the final film Star Wars:



To give you an idea, here in the foot (the photo is not mine):



I'm training with three Americans and one Spanish, resident in Panama. The contact is fun, but soon I realize that I am the only one who does not know, or have flown the aircraft. How to confess that I have never flown over, or even seen one or touched!! Three weeks ago, I did not even know that I would fly on this plane one day...
While waiting to start on the simulator Phenom, we train on the simulator glider free service in the lounge:



The first night did not stay in vain to surprise, we sent a "good restaurant" Steak House style with lovely waitresses:



The next week, we started the sessions in simulator ... This starts to become serious. First observation: it is as rigorous as at Boeing, with the same professionalism. The briefing is complete, the session content is supported, we do not play here...
Some students have difficulties, it will have to hang on. For me, the hardest part is to return from a multi crew work to a single pilot work. "Hey, Who want to listen to the ATIS while I am figthing with this f…ing engine on fire !!!". I laugh there, but in the cockpit, it’s another story. A step up can be complicated for some, but a step down is sometimes not easier ... The simulator is stunningly realistic. It is rated Level D, and we believe it:





And here we are in the final in Charlotte (We will try to avoid going to the strawberries (“fraises” in French)! -> French joke due to the well-known “Charlotte aux fraises” cake and “going to the strawberries” means going in the mud…)











Phew! It went well ... But the simulation is done for this ... In any case, this jet is surprising because we don’t need to flare when you're on the 5% slope. It reminds me of the Mitsubishi MU-2 that left me good memories! One of the trainees came to Dallas with its Phenom 100. That's cool! He suggests I fly with him, with one of our instructors. We're off to a "small" airport of Dallas, in Addison. And then I discovered the beautiful "beast"!:



The bird is more leggy than is usually seen with these small jets (Eclipse, Mustang). It seems big! The time to find the fuel attendant and a ground power unit, I take "treat for the eyes" with any type of aircraft moving on this runway embedded between buildings. Apparently the residents do not complain here!

Here on final, a beautiful all red Learjet:



A Piper Cub in the juices of origin as we see less and less often:



A T28 taking-off:



And a Mitsubishi MU-2 (Hey, when we talk about!) Always noisy with Garret turbines at ground idle!:



Frankly, it was a long time that I had not seen so much diversity of aircrafts on an aerodrome outside a meeting. And I did not take pictures of the Cessna 152, 172, 182, 206, 340, 350, 400 (FYI, there are much more of these Lancair industrial production than Cirrus there) ... Beech Bonanza, Baron, 90, 200, 350, 1900, Cirrus, CJ, Challenger, Falcon, Learjet, .... Ok, we come back on the Phenom.

Once the GPU arrived, (no APU in this plane), we checked the status of the circuit:



There are other applications ... like this!



Come on, we put the engine start ... ON, START .... "That's all to do !"...
And we take off ... This is not a CJ3 but it sends! Nothing to compare with an heavy Boeing ... Once in the air, I attend the training! The instructor has much to do in this congested area of Dallas ... I confirm, it's better to be in a simulator for training on a such airplane:







While en route, it calms down a bit:



And we prepare for the arrival in Houston, on Hobby Airport:



On arrival, you fly over Houston ...



Here again we see a lot of different type of aircraft, such as this DC3 (rather a C47 for that matter) with this Cirrus ... The clash of generations:



Once arrived, we asked for a "Courtesy car" (a Mercedes last model, please!), and a "small" restaurant to debrief ...

On return, the owner ask me to take the left seat with the instructor on right one ... Uh! What should I answer that??? Okay, but I confess I feel a bit on the ass, and moved, when we know the price of the flight time on this kind of Jet .... I apologize for not having taken photos of return, but for a first flight, I was a little overwhelmed, and I wanted to do well... Then the pictures, it will be for next time! Review: Aw…so…me! Frankly, a pleasure! If I have one small thing: it is a bit too "touchy" in flight, which we tend to put the autopilot in loaded phases. But in Dallas, I made a visual approach really nice ... That evening, I was almost reluctant to leave the bird!



During the rest of the week, simulator sessions rippled one after the other. I begin to feel more comfortable in this "plane". Realism is always surprising. I saw myself in situations of real stress in simulated combined failures!



The section reserved for tortured pilots:



And the executioner place:



In fact, it seems barbaric, but at every session, we learn a lot. Even if you leave the link with a feeling to be an empty box, it comes out pretty happy because you feel it serves some purpose. And then we have a little pride to see that the instructor try to overload you, that means it goes well and it's time to complicate things. What a pleasure to see that despite the addition of impressive failures, which are becoming increasingly unlikely, not enough to prevent us from bringing the virtual plane and its occupants safely and in good health, all with panache ...

It is far from the little blue box from the early simulators, which greets us at the entrance of CAE Simuflite:







Frankly, there were pilots who were not afraid of ridicule by training in these simulators in uniform, with cap, please. But that was another era!



After 7 sessions of 2 hours (still single-pilot), comes the stressful check ride, with, for my part, the combination of type rating and ATP to fully validate my FAA licenses at the same level of my JAA license. You never know, maybe it will be useful in the future. It begins with a session of oral examination by the tester from the FAA, which reviewed the limitations of the airplane, "Memory Items" checklists, emergency electrical circuits, hydraulic, fuel, pneumatic, performance, weight and balance ... Everything passes. It still takes two hours before deciding to move in the simulator. The stress of the situation is always like this every time, but after a few minutes, I'm free and replaces the stress by concentration.

Test Details for those interested, the others can move on (*): The exercises are linked together: preparation of the cockpit, engine start, an abnormal start ("Hot Start"), before take-off briefing and we take off ... After a normal takeoff on 31R of JFK Airport, a Kennedy One Canarsie with Breezy Point departure, the control asks me to get away to the North-West area: I attack steep turns ( 45 °), clean stall, landing configuration stall, departure stall and clean stall with "Stick Pusher" ... Then we return to the first approach. An holding pattern, a VOR 04L manually without FD. At minimum, I go around for a RNAV GPS 04R Y (yes, breakthroughs GPS are standard in the U.S.!) with circling for a 31R landing and autopilot (we have to demonstrate that we know how to use this tool!). Full landing with a 180 at the end, we align on 13L. Acceleration stop following an engine failure before V1. Take off on 31R, with engine failure at V1, sector climb, attempt to restart the engine but the engine caught fire ... Procedure ... Fire extinguished ... single-engine ILS 22L manually ... Single engine go-around, of course! Back for a single-engine ILS 04R approach with autopilot ... Engine fire come back on short final ... Landing and Evacuation ... Re-launches with an aircraft in good condition for a 22L Visual Approach 04R ... During the flap maneuvering, an alarm "FLAP FAIL ... This will be a clean landing without flap ... Once landed ... "BRAKE FAIL” ... We must stop with the emergency brake, without bursting the tires ... The END after 2 hours and half, and a pleasant "Congratulation" into the ear from the tester who has the good sense not to wait long to give the verdict!

* Debriefing much more relaxed, papers setting, signatures and issuance of provisional license mentioned "AIR TRANSPORT PILOT and EMB-500" ... IT'S DONE !!!!!!! But I'm exhausted. In the morning, I had an appointment at 6:30, it is 1:00 p.m. ...

After two days of rest, or rather preparation ferrying the aircraft. But for now, I'll make a trip to CR SMITH MUSEUM, which traces the history of American Airlines. This discovery is very exciting for a company that started on DC3.



A moving film is projected on a giant screen:



I discovered many witness to history, as this map and sextant, which makes me realize how glad I am to have a GPS these days. However, I have used this instrument of another time in my childhood when my training in seagoing yacht... Memories!



I finished the visit by the magnificent DC3 restored by a large team of volunteers and enthusiasts. The plane that made me dream so much throughout my life is still beautiful. It remains for me a symbol of being an airline transport pilot.



Then I followed courses in international law, international security (I was afraid ... You must not leave the house once we attended this course!), as well as RVSM and MNPS course...

On Saturday evening, I fly to Brazil in the company of a "Mentor Pilot". It’s Sven Lepschy, Head of Training in Embraer CAE Training Services. I met him at Dallas CAE Simiflite. He will follow my first hours on the plane, but will especially help in the various administrative procedures for recovering the aircraft from Brazilian territory, bringing the U.S. to do "Americanisation" and then to fly to France. He had already done several times this trip to USA in Phenom.

We landed, after 10 hours of flight on an American Airlines Boeing 777, at 7:00 am at the airport in Sao Paulo. This is a huge megalopolis in a huge country. We exit the customs, a man ahead with a big placard printed with our names and logo Embraer was waiting for us. There is a taxi, mandated by Embraer to go to the site of San Jose Dos Campos. It is more reassuring, it is not sure to get into a doubtful taxi. After an hour of highway, we arrived in San Jose Dos Campos, and we filed in a hotel overlooking the city.



After a shower, we give an appointment for a quick lunch, then depart in the wake to Embraer ahead ... Oh yes, they're waiting for us!!!! We found ourselves in front of closed doors. I know it's Sunday, but we were told that the "delivery" section was open 7 days on 7...



Phone calls, finding a contact with the "help" of the entry sentinel which speaks Portuguese only, language that we do not talk at all. After one hour of gestures, we can get the phone number of the person on call, who speaks English. Conclusion: We are May 2 and May 1 as a holiday and fell on a Saturday, then all Embraer teams are at home on Saturday and Sunday ... If we had known, we ... We return to the hotel, and we take this day to prepare flight plans, check that everything goes well, edit the maps that we want, store all this in an order that makes sense to us ... In short, we are given a reason to be there, and actually it's quite useful because, as we do not know, this has enabled us to develop together. The next day, re-play cards, but this time we are expected, and everything seems to spin like a well-oiled machine and above all well accustomed to this procedure: the reception hall, badging, and coaching in the local allocation an office with computer, printer, telephone with international access, fax, paper, pens ... and large bay windows overlooking the delivery hangar and airplanes inside. That's where I see our plane for the first time ... It is small among the other Phenom, 170, 190, Lineage 1000, Legacy ...







I am very happy to discover it. Then began the lengthy process of papers, signatures, verification, inspection. We will not be authorized to make a test flight, because the aircraft is now N registrated. We are no longer allowed to fly in Brazilian airspace, except for the flight to leave the country. The aircraft has already made its first flight acceptance by a U.S. company that specializes in this kind of work. We still get the right to make a high speed taxi to check that everything is good anyway. So, late in the day, we do all the aeronautical testing we can. Returning to our parking, we do a complete fuelling for the next day ...



We decide to leave the next morning, early enough, because the scheduled day is long. In the evening we're having dinner with another crew who came to seek a Phenom 300. We discovered to our surprise, the variations of pizzas, which would pale the Italian ... And it is a chocolate pizza with strawberries, kiwi and vanilla ice cream. You may not believe me, but it is not bad at all:



The next morning, we arrive at the site opening, but due to a few glitches of last minute, we lose 20 minutes of schedule: a little pressure in the tires, hydraulic reservoir, the oxygen cylinder ... gave us time to see the magnificent Phenom 300 departure:



It has more range than us and can reach in only one step Belem, the airport of departure of Brazilian territory. With the Phenom 100, we will have to stop before in Brazilia to fuel... Brazil is a huge country!

A picture before the start of the crew...:


First take-off, first impression: great! A great pleasure ... The team that we received is not far from the runway, they greet us with gestures, and we can not resist greeting them, rocking the wing. Frankly, this team Embraer is terribly nice.

Quick glance at the airport (SBSJ) before leaving:



Already, the vast country is depopulated under our wings, and becomes more and more green:



The airplane is a true Jet, it rises, and hisses, it reacts like the big ... I'm not lost at all, I'm very pleased. The cockpit is now in full day light, I am no longer in the simulator...



Preparation of the arrival in Brasilia (SBBR) International Airport, capital of the country: the traffic is intense, but the Phenom integrates seamlessly. First ILS, first flare, taxiing to a Lider FBO for refueling. This first flight lasted 1 hour 43 minutes with a cruise speed at FL390 and cruise TAS of about 380 kts. Perfect!



Short stop, we must leave because we are expected by the Customs in Belem! Restart:



And now, we approach the Inter Tropical Front (ITF) which will be little active. It must be said that we had planned to leave early to avoid being in this area right in the afternoon, the worst time...



We arrived in Belem, after a flight over the Amazon without any problem ... We begin to relax, because the plane seems not to be the rule rather common for new aircraft, namely, being crippled with minor faults ... This is part of debugging!

We are now on the final, established on the ILS at Belem (SBBE):



Flying over an arm of the Amazon (the river!)



At right, the city of Belem, who against all odds, seems immense:



Once landed, we vacated on the other runway after a flight of 2 hours 36 minutes. We find ourselves facing the city:



On the door opening, we are astonished by the heat and humidity of air (100%). I have to wait almost 10 minutes before my camera turns in temperature so that the mist disappears from the objective:





We realize that apart from human intervention, the Amazon forest is there:



Finally, we get the paper without which we could not leave the country:



It is time to leave: we have a complicated flight, because we will fly to the limits of the range of the aircraft, more than three hours. The next stop is Trinidad (TTPP), with an alternate in Tobago... If unable to reach Trinidad, we have a ETP in Cayenne (French Guiana). In short, tense flight, but without worry because the fallback is there.

After takeoff, we pass over the vast Amazon River:





The flight takes us to the 400 level, not to consume too much fuel ... We do our testing: Long Range... or not Long Range Cruise, that is the question! After quarter of an hour to load and test, we get the following result: with the wind, the Long Range cruise goes 60 kt slower than High speed cruise, and arrived with 10 more pounds... The choice is quickly made, it will be "A bottom handles !!"... All is well in the best of both worlds!



Unfortunately, everything has a purpose: as we approach the border of French Guiana, a failure to take seriously surprises us:



It is confirmed by the Fuel Status Page:



We take the check list ... Nothing! And just on the leg where the fuel is our priority! Just before the blackout, we noticed that the fuel was well balanced, and each reactor pump in the tank corresponding wing. Well ... It takes a look at the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) that have no value in flight, especially allows to determine the seriousness of this lack of equipment, and to determine the best airport to land. If this is a NOGO, it may be wise to choose an airport where it is more likely to be repaired, especially for a flight like ours, where there is no passenger.
But after reading the MEL, we are surprised that the two existing fuel level sensors aboard the aircraft, only one is required to consider a flight without any maintenance intervention, but with the precaution of never transfer fuel and taking-off with the complete full fuel on both wings.
On this leg, we have left with the full complete (even a little more). There's no danger in the home, and we decide to continue the flight as planned.

In the French Guiana FIR, I have a little fun with the French controllers and speak in my native language, much of my damn "Mentor Pilot" Sven who did not understand our language.



Approaching area of Trinidad, we still dealing with heavy traffic, but the controller has no radar. He has to manage all aircrafts with Radial / Distance and we stacked one above the other in the holding pattern. Fortunately, our fuel sensor has returned to work, and allows us to confirm that we still have enough fuel.

The landing was still performed after 3 hours and 9 minutes, which is very honest. Just parked, we enjoyed the sunset, next to the aircraft.



The time to protect it, and we were sailing towards the customs and our hotel:



We are quite tired but very happy with the first day of flying on the new aircraft that goes well beyond my expectations, especially for the pleasure of flying ...

We finish at the Carlton Savannah which is superb in a great price:



But too tired to enjoy the pool, we went to join the arms of Morpheus in the ultra-comfortable beds:



The next day, after a quick breakfast, return to the airport with a city glance:



We try to leave early to eventually move to Fort Lauderdale this evening, but it is very tangential, because Customs import air schedules have strict acceptance of records. Our final decision will be the next step: Saint-Marteen.

Liftoff of Trinidad:



It rapidly loses sight of Trinidad:





To see a bunch of islands, all like "paradise" (I've selected a few of them, because there are many):









As we prepare for the arrival in Saint-Marteen, through ChartView (did not find these cards in our Trip Kit Jeppesen):



We are just past the side of Guadeloupe:





We even pay the luxury of a True Speed (TAS) 400 kts ...



Then a volcano with a small ash cloud… I’m scared!!!



Then this is the approach of Saint-Marteen (TNCM) ... While there, sorry, I made a manual approach to sight in an idyllic setting, and I could not take a picture, but Sven, having little to do since I'm trying to do maximum myself in the shoes of my future work as single-pilot was able to make videos in HD: you can look at this video at the end of this topic...

But what I can tell you is that yes, there are people on the beach who took photos while your wheels are waiting to reach the beginning of the runway. I hope that any of these photos will go on the net and that we will find her! "

The flight lasted 1 hour 33 minutes.

Once parked, I can take some photos of the aircraft, which if you find them beautiful, are only due to the location and the colors of the place, and not by the skill and artistic approach the person holding the camera:















The tower of Saint-Marteen with its large radar dome:



Unfortunately, the fuel truck will come to us too long to refuel and we're not able to reach Fort Lauderdale before the deadline today. We must stop somewhere, tonight. As it is wise to move closer to Fort Lauderdale for this morning, we decided to push on to Provinciales, our next step fuel.

A 727 freighter (with winglets!) takes off in front of us... With the mountain before, I'm not sure he can take off at maximum weight. Anyway, it is surely rather lightweight from Saint-Marteen:







Then it’s our turn to take-off towards the mountain, but we are light ... very light ...





Then came a succession of sublime islands:





Then we end up flying over a very shallow waters which draw on a turquoise omnipresent:



Another approach to land after a 1 hour 44 minutes flight on one of the Turks and Caicos Islands in Providenciales (MBPV).
Here in the beginning of downwind right:



Once there, we are as usual, very welcome. It's hot, but with the smile on our lips. The place is paradise.



Although, prices are far from paradise for hotels ... Following advice, we found a complex, which is large discount maybe because they have work in progress. In fact, it suits us very well because the work is during the day, and we're gone tomorrow ...



The beach is beautiful, turquoise water and ... Hot:







The complex is nice too:



There is not many people: they include the following morning, starting as construction noise is infernal (disc cutters, hammer drill, drill ,...). I understand why we paid so cheap ...

Back to the reality of our true dream, and take-off form Turks and Caicos Islands:



View on our resort on the beach:



Destination Fort Lauderdale (KFLL) in Florida, for the Americanization:



The ballad is still pretty ... Come on, just for your viewing pleasure:





This is complicated, a little later with some storm cells on radar, and the announcement on the radio the closure of the airport in Fort Lauderdale because of strong storms. We immediately reduce speed and proceed with minimum consumption.
Upon arrival on the coast of Florida, we confirm our view that the radar had been seen long time before:



Finally, after a little wait, the airport reopened, and we land after a 1 hour 47 minutes flight. Customs went smoothly, and we finally get the last missing paper... The aircraft is in full agreement with the regulations!

But we learn that our RVSM approval for Canada, the North Atlantic and Europe has still not arrived. We cannot leave tomorrow. We take it to fix a few points of detail, and the fuel sensor, in which the problem became more and more recurrent. They will find a connection which was improperly crimped, and explain the intermittent failure: Thanks to the team Embraer Fort Lauderdale , who have received us very well.

For the record, we rented a small car that we had a good laugh, any cubic asymmetrical, and with the sun visors that can no longer see much on the road, and all with a 3-cylinders engine. ..Not seen on French roads! Perhaps the French have refused to import due to poor visibility to the front with the sun visors…







Here is the video of the first part of our trip:



Stay tuned for the second part of the trip to France.
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Date d'inscription : 09/03/2008

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