September 4, 2013

Pilots Train as Angel MedFlight Awaits Citation X's Arrival

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Angel MedFlight's Citation X (shown before modifications and new livery)
Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance is highly anticipating the arrival of our newest acquisition -- the Cessna Citation X. As we wait for the fastest civilian aircraft in its class to return from upgrades, modifications and a new paint job, a number of Angel MedFlight pilots are undergoing training to fly this awesome jet.

Kindle Tannery is Chief Pilot for Angel MedFlight's Part 135 air carrier certificate holder Aviation West Charters and explains that aircraft that weigh over 12,500 pounds require a type rating. "The systems are going to be so complex, you need training on various systems of that aircraft," says Tannery.

Citation X cockpit (photo by Richard Masoner)
Take for example a King Air 200. It's less than 12,500 pounds but a King Air 350 is over 12,500 and needs a type rating. "Basically, any aircraft that weighs less than 12,500 pounds, I don't have to go get special training -- I can hop in and go fly," says Tannery.

”The FAA requires pilots to get special training and get checked out and it's noted on your license and your pilot certificate that you are qualified to fly this aircraft." Tannery has on his pilot's license Learjet 35, Learjet 60 and soon, Citation X.

The schooling can take anywhere from three to six weeks to complete. Tannery says, "It's very intense. You really have to shut off the world. A lot of things in your personal life, you have to filter those things out and really focus on this training."

Tannery's training near Dallas, Texas lasted 21 days. There were several eight-hour days of classroom study followed by training in the simulator. After each day in the classroom, Tannery says he would go home and spend another four to six hours reviewing what he had learned that day and preparing for the next day ahead. "It's a lot of book study, reading and understanding the systems," says Tannery.

There are two types of training. One starts with the ground work and systems knowledge and after that, the flight training. "First they bring you in and teach you the systems, the basics and then they add to that knowledge things like system malfunctions. And you go through various degrees as you prepare to jump into the simulator." says Tannery. "You just don't go to flight school and jump in the 'sim,' you have to understand what you're getting yourself into." Tannery says he spent 10 days in the classroom before even touching the simulator.

Simulator training is when a pilot in training applies what he's learned in the classroom. Tannery says everything you can imagine, they can throw at you in the simulator. "They are so realistic that you feel like you've done it already. When you are in a simulator you don't think you're in a simulator." Tannery says the visual effects are very accurate as far as landing, airport environments, taxiing when you're on the ground. It is the best video game that you'll ever see."

Angel MedFlight looks to have the Citation X in air ambulance service in the fall. Because of this aircraft's speed and increased range, more people around the world will be able to experience Angel MedFlight's unparalleled patient care.

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