A pilot’s life for me…

Would you think me facetious if I said a pilot’s life is full of ups and downs. The last three days I have had a continuous barrage of fires and engine failures, instrument errors, flight control malfunctions, and other emergencies in the worst sort of weather conditions. No, none of these were ‘real,’ I was completing my checkride at American Airline’s Flight Academy in Arlington, Texas. My profession has some very strict requirements. Every nine months I have to prove my proficiency not only in normal everyday operations, but also in a wide variety of complex emergency situations, and I must pass or I lose my license. No other profession that I know of has a requirement like this; it is like having to take a bar or board exam every nine months. No tenure here – if you can’t perform, well…

That is the reality of it, but honestly the training is always great. The flight simulators are fantastically realistic, the neatest ‘video games’ you can imagine, with full motion and visuals. The one I was in yesterday cost about 20 million dollars. It is always a workout to operate through all the challenges and malfunctions. It is a great feeling to get it all done, just like it felt acing that last final before you graduate. I do have the coolest job ever.

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