New international operators are always surprised to learn that no FAA regulation demands international training of any kind before the first flight across the pond in a Part 91 airplane. Common sense certainly dictates that the complexities of operating outside the U.S.–in airspace often built to standards significantly different from those most U.S. pilots are accustomed to, or using measurement standards different from those of the U.S.–make checking with FlightSafety International, Air Training International or Scott International Procedures a pretty good idea. While the IOC does not officially qualify as international training, it makes for a great refresher.
Steve Thorpe, assistant chief pilot for airplanes at Merck who trains at FlightSafety’s Teterboro Learning Center, reminded pilots of the opportunity to practice some of the tough international procedures during the open time at the end of recurrent training.
An international procedures over-water flight run in a full flight simulator at FlightSafety for Merck might look like this:
The session begins with the crew plotting the oceanic clearance on a plotting chart. After takeoff, the flight joins an oceanic track en route to Europe, where the crew will face a navigation problem or systems malfunction that requires them to divert or return to their point of departure. The crew will need to successfully exit the track before proceeding to the departure airport or the one to which they will divert.
Next, the instructor positions the aircraft near Keflavik, Iceland, where the crew might face a medical emergency or systems malfunction that requires a diversion to Iceland. This will force the crew to cross active tracks to reach their destination. Systems and navigation malfunctions might also include triple generator failure, pressurization malfunctions, navigation problems, air data computer failures and IRS failures, as well as a variety of simulated medical emergencies. In addition to providing real-time exercises where crews can practice in the midst of the oceanic environment, the session offers the opportunity for crews to review RVSM requirements, proper radio procedures, position reports and route plotting.