Here's another with Mark trying to convince me that we can actually get this thing off the ground....
Allan at the Wheel
Submitted by: Allan Wheeler
VPC Callsign: Allan Wheeler
Here's a pic of what I did a couple of weeks ago. I flew the Alaska 737-400 simulator left seat for 2 hours. Took off from Seatac 16R, flew around Seattle getting checked out on handling and instruments and shot 3 full stop landings ... 2 hands on and 1 autoland with a 50' ceiling. We could have walked away from all of them and even used the airplane again. It is really amazing how real it felt. Now I'm wondering how I can get my house up on hydraulic actuators. Wow.
I flew that simulator at the Alaska A/L training center near Seatac. One of my neighbors is a flight attendant for Alaska and I've helped them with their computer from time to time. She set it up with the sim instructor who's also an Alaska line pilot. He's a great guy and gave me real instruction rather than just having me bore holes in the sky with it. I'd have bought them a whole new computer for that experience.
It was much different than I thought it would be. For one, control pressures are very heavy. You must constantly be on the trim during power or attitude changes unless you do lots of bench presses. Also, you don't use any rudder in turns which was hard for me remember. I kept wanting to stay coordinated and had to concentrate on keeping my feet on the floor. I had more trouble taxiing than anything. No problem using pedals and toe brakes on the runway but the tiller is so sensitive I almost made us seasick weaving back and forth on the taxiway. I thought the hands on landing was easier than FS. It was easier holding path and course but did take lots of throttle jockeying. I did another using autothrottle and I can see that it's a pretty useful gadget. I hadn't used A/T in FS much but do now. The autoland landing was interesting. Hands off until it was time to steer, use brakes and reverse thrust. A chimpanzee could have done it. Another surprise was that I didn't think you actually flared a 737. I thought you just flew them onto the runway in a nose high attitude. The outside graphics are simplistic compared to FS but that's to be expected since you're not really heads up all that much. Mt. Rainier was there and freeway traffic etc. but the airport lighting is much better than FS. Flying FS beforehand was a big help since I knew pretty much where things were and what they did.
You can do what you like with the picture. Just don't tell anybody that this is what an Alaska A/L pilot looks like .... nobody'd fly Alaska anymore ... and I lovvvvve Alaska Airlines.