Top 5 Tips - Base Training

by Carlos Garcez on Feb 22 2019
Hi! My name is Carlos Garcez and I'm a Senior Captain at TAP Air Portugal on the long-haul fleet. I started my career back in 1980 with the Portuguese Air Force, flying T-33 and T-37 trainer jets, and also the mighty Chipmunk, where I completed my military career as a flight instructor. I then moved to the civilian sector and became an FI with Aerocondor in Cascais, now known as L3 European Airline Academy, and a year later I joined TAP, where I've been flying for more than 30 years. In almost 40 years of flying, I've had my fair share of first flights and type ratings in both Boeing and Airbus aircraft, so I thought I could give you my tips for a successful Base Training. These are my Top Five Tips:

1) Do what you know.
Flight simulators, no matter how advanced they are, are never quite like the real thing. Having said that, if you have got to this stage one assumes you have already completed the simulator type rating. You should know the techniques required for take-off and landing on the type that you are been trained in. Do what you know how to do.

2) Line up and take it all in.
On your first take-off you will notice that the airplane is much more predictable and easier to handle. You will feel the interaction between the machine and the runway surface. So here you are, lined up on the runway, the take-off briefing is done, the "Before Take-off" checklist is complete, the Tower gave you the take-off clearance. Each time I line up for take-off, I always make an assessment of the present weather, the runway characteristics and surroundings (obstacles or terrain) and mentally review the immediate actions in case of engine failure. Before and up to V1, the take-off must be aborted, and after V1, the take-off must be continued. That helps to keep my situational awareness at a high level should anything go wrong at departure. Perform your take-off as you have practised in the simulator and the manoeuvre is pretty straightforward.

3) Configure at the correct time.
Coming in for landing, your main goal is to start the approach at the correct speed, allowing you to configure the aircraft for final. We call that a stabilized approach. In this phase of the flight (as in any other) you should already be aware of the conditions to expect for landing - things like wind direction, temperature, runway condition and whatever else that affects your landing performance. This is obviously easier to achieve if you are flying in the circuit doing ‘touch-and-go's’ because every few minutes you perform a landing and a take-off roll!

4) Always be prepared for a go-around!
It is the wisest decision a pilot can take. If you feel something is not going right, don't hesitate to go around! Hesitation in a go-around situation is known for being fatal sometimes. Going around will always guarantee you another try, remember that!

5) Enjoy your flight! Always!