Cathy Pacific was a delight to work with and train. The first crew that came in for training was their Chief pilot Laurie King. He had a white beard and went through the 6 week course. There was no student FE’s so I was his FE during his simulator and aircraft training. We developed a great friendship.
After Laurie finished his training and got his type rating, he immediately went through the next class, but as an FE student. He wanted to experience what the job of an FE was as part of the TriStar crew. He was the only captain that I knew that ever did that.
I was his FE instructor and I have to say it was a lot of fun to train him as an FE. He was a great student and genuinely interested in the FE position in his aircraft. My biggest laugh came when we were in the sim doing the emergency procedures; two engines out approach and landing. The FE is responsible for reading the checklist to the pilots, who, with two engines out really have their hands full. The FE must read from about 3 emergency checklists but can’t complete all of them, so he must read down each checklist as far as he can go and then wait for the aircraft to be in a configuration for the pilots to configure the aircraft for the approach. It becomes a balance of the FE actually managing the cockpit, reading the checklists, monitoring the pilots as to where they are in the approach and reminding them what is next on the checklist.
During emergencies, the FE was a huge asset in the cockpit, he or she kept track of the checklist, kept an eye on the pilots and even tho the Captain was always responsible for the flight, it was the FE who, in the emergencies, really managed the flight deck. You see, when things got exciting in the cock pit, the pilots tended to get ‘tunnel vision’ and often would not see some warning lights come on. Sitting in the back, behind the pilots, the FE had the best view in the house and could see everything and remind the pilots as needed what was happening to their aircraft.
At one point during the two engine out approach, as I taught Laurie, he had three fingers in the emergency checklist, using them as book marks so he wouldn’t lose his place and could immediately get back and finish the checklist when needed. After doing the emergency procedures training in the simulator, he had a huge appreciation for the FE on his crew. Laurie King was a great Captain and a wonderful student with a great outlook on life.