Flight Training

Flight training consisted of a four hour flight in the actual aircraft. The usual training crew consisted of two student pilots (a student Captain and a student First Officer), a Lockheed instructor Captain, two flight engineer students and one instructor FE; so six souls on board total. Once in a while there would be no FE students so I would just fly as the FE for the two student pilots.

The way the flights worked, one student pilot would fly for two hours with the Lockheed instructor pilot in the other seat. So if the Captain was in the hot seat, the instructor was in the F/O seat. When the student F/O was flying, the instructor flew in the left seat.

One of Lockheed’s instructor pilots was Captain Ted Limmer. I had the extreme pleasure of flying many training flights with Ted with ANA and British Airways to name a few customers.

The first time I flew full stalls in the aircraft was with British Airways and Ted was the instructor pilot. Once in the full stall, the plane shakes so bad, you cannot see anything because your head is being shaken so much your vision is just a blur. Ted has to hold on to the control wheel and just by feel, push forward to start the stall recovery at the right time! Anything not secured in the cockpit when you do a full stall will be on the floor when you are done with the first one. Recovery takes about 2000 to 3000 feet if you do it right, a lot more if you don’t. We’d start full stalls well above 10,000 feet.

Another training Captain I had the pleasure of flying with was Captain Rodney Boone. Rod and I flew many training flights together.

Our Chief Training Pilot was Captain Chuck Hall. I only flew with Chuck on our check rides in test ship #1001 when we would start customer training and everyone had to get FAA re-certified for training. Chuck was a very smooth pilot and could fly the TriStar extremely well. One time, we were in ship #1001 and had to borrow, of all pilots, Captain Ralph Cokely, who you may recall is a test pilot and flew on the maiden flight. Chuck was in the right seat and Ralph was flying instruments in the left seat and he was making, initially, an engine out instrument approach in the test ship. I was the FE and getting re-certified myself. On short final, Chuck pulled back a second throttle on Ralph and turned it into a single engine instrument approach! While pulling back the second throttle Chuck said “…Ralph I know this isn’t necessary for the check ride…”. Of course this didn’t bother Ralph at all, he just continued to fly a perfect instrument approach on raw data no less (no flight director)!!

At decision height (DH) Chuck leaned over and flipped down the instrument blind that prevented Ralph from seeing out through the front of his windshield. When the blind went down, there was Ralph, lined up perfectly on center line and he made a smooth landing. Well, Ralph was indeed a test pilot and he knew how to fly!

Actually, both Ralph and Chuck were two of the best pilots I few with. They were very smooth and both had a lot of piloting skill. After the TriStar program ended, Chuck went to work for Japan Airlines flying as a B-747 Captain until he retired.