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Alaska Airlines Simulator Experience!  
User currently offlineVREF SPEED From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3083 times:

My flight experience in an Alaska Airlines MD80 simulator.

A few years back I was an employee ( Ticket Agent ) for Alaska Airlines based in San Jose, California. I worked for Alaska Airlines for a little over 1 year. I quit the airline industry because they didn’t pay well. I remember we would plea to the higher ups to give us a pay differential in San Jose because of the cost of living and since I was there it never happened. I think I quit Alaska making $8.50 an hour.

Although I wasn’t pleased with the pay, the work was fun and I met a lot of great people. I also had a lifetime opportunity to fly the McDonald Douglas MD80 simulator at the Alaska Airlines Headquarters in Seattle,WA. It was probably one of the most exciting days of my life!

Sometimes I wish I can turn back the time and start all over again. I went to high school, vocational aviation maintenance school (George T. Baker, Miami FL) and I got my pilots license along with my MULTI,COMM,INSTRUMENT ratings. After that I did not purse the airline pilot career because I didn’t like the idea of being away from home. I wanted to be involved with airplanes in general because I love aviation. I decided to work for the airlines. I worked for RENO AIR, AMERICAN EAGLE, and ALASKA. What a fun time I had!

I remember one time working in San Jose for Alaska, I was in the employee lunchroom and a jump seater pilot came into the lunchroom and sat at the table to eat lunch. He was by himself and since I don’t like the sound of silence I sparked up a conversation and asked him what he did for Alaska? He told me he was the chief pilot for Alaska and he was evaluating the crew that just came in. I felt a cooling feeling meeting the chief pilot. I talked to him for a while and told him that I was a private pilot. He was really receptive and I guess he liked my attitude enough that he gave me his business card and told him to call him if I was ever in Seattle to fly the simulator! My jaw almost dropped to the floor! I couldn’t believe he said that. I have always wondered what it would feel like to fly a big iron. I would love to become an airline pilot for 1 month just to fly the Boeings or Airbuses, I know that eventually I would get bored of it after flying it for a while. This was my opportunity of a lifetime.

A month went by before I gain up the nerve to call him. I called him and have left a message to call me. After not hearing from him for over a week I contacted his receptionist to find out if he was around, she told me that he had a family emergency and would be out for a couple of weeks, she asked if she can help me? I told her that he invited me to take a ride in the simulator whenever I was in Seattle and I told her I was going up there next week to see some friends. She told me to come see her when I was in town and she’d see what she could arrange.

I got into Seattle on a Friday morning and went to meet her in the corporate offices. Little did she know that I flew to Seattle mainly for the simulator, my friends were out of town that weekend but I was willing to take the flight there. I met with her and she was really cool. She took me out to lunch with a couple of other office workers, I felt a little out of place but it was ok. When we got back to the office we walked over to the pilot training center, I was in heaven!! She checked the simulator schedule and told me that it was booked for the day but if I wanted to I can come back after the last session was over at 10:00PM. She must have thought I was disappointed, I told her sure I would. I hung out around Seattle until 9:30PM and headed back to the training center.

I arrived at the center and was greeted by the engineer. ( I guess he’s the guy that sits behind the simulator on the computer). He told me that there was a crew in the simulator and they were almost done. Once the crew finished up ( around 11:30 ) he told me to step into the cockpit simulator. WOW, this looked like the real thing!! Everything in the cockpit looked identical to the real plane. I sat in the captains chair and he went over the throttles, thrust reversers and some V speeds. I was pretty familiar with the controls because I do a lot of reading and flying.

He sat back in his computer chair and asked me what I wanted to do/ What kind of weather, etc. I told him to start me out in Seattle airport clear skies. The screen lit up in front of me and I was taxiing to the runway. This was a full motion simulator that stands on stilts about 30 feet in the air. When I would advance the throttles to taxi I would feel the slight acceleration, I also felt little bumps and grooves as I taxied on the taxi way!! How realistic is that!! I finally got to the runway and lined up using the tiller wheel.

I applied full throttle and felt the G force pushing me to my seat, what a RUSH!!! I take off at my assigned take off speed and cruise around Seattle. What a blast. For the second time around he failed the right engine on takeoff and I flew the pattern with a failed engine! I was surprised that the plane handled so well, I brought it around and buttered my landing. The third setup was an ILS approach into Seattle slightly below minimums. I flew the needle all the way down with minor adjustments. After the ride (which took a bit over 1 hour ) I thanked the engineer and went back to the hotel.

I will always remember this experience and I thank Alaska Airlines for bringing me as close as possible to a dream that I had for a long time.


2 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSxmarbury33 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 447 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3049 times:

Yea i was there a couple months ago with my friend who flys the MD80 for alaska i went in the MD80 sim but couldnt go for a ride tho. Maybe next time. They have these weird 734-7-9 sims that sit in the mid of a classroom but have all the CRT's and LCD's lit up just no screen or motion are these certified for any training or are thy just for procedual training?

User currently offlineTWA717_200 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3040 times:

That's got me thinking about my upcoming HP 737 and 757 sim. opportunities. I can't wait. Will post a full report.

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