Flying the simulator


You must be pro-active as opposed to re-active.  Anticipate what is going to happen so you are ready as opposed to letting it happen then reacting to it.

The only effective method of flying a large aircraft on instruments is the selective radial scan as opposed to the random scan often taught to G.A. pilots.

Briefly, this entails scanning the attitude indicator constantly and when scanning other instruments always scanning them via the attitude indicator.

At the top of the attitude indicator is a sky pointer and it is critical that this component of the attitude indicator is included in the scan.

Minor applications of bank will soon have you flying off heading.

The two formulae you must constantly keep to the forefront are:



This aircraft can be flown successfully by following the numbers at the bottom of this page. 

For you to do well on the test you must stick to those number.

Minor variations of thrust or attitude will result in large variations in speed and/or ROD.

These RB211 engines produce a lot of thrust so minor variations in thrust symmetry will cause you to yaw and therefore drift off heading thereby requiring constant application of bank to make heading corrections.

As with all instrument flying the smaller the corrections the easier the task.


This is a heavy clean aircraft so variations in thrust do not always produce immediate results. If you do not have the correct ‘numbers’ things will go wrong even if, at the time, all appears well. A comparison between the 747 and the aircraft you are currently flying would be akin to comparing a whale with a dolphin.


The aircraft is sensitive in roll because the ailerons are complimented by spoilers thus giving an immediate response.

As a result, some pilots will initially over control.

Try to pressure the ailerons as opposed to making positive control inputs.

The elevators whilst responsive require a more positive control force than the ailerons.


Rudder and aileron trim are not required but the key to successfully flying this a/c is trimming the elevator.

Guard against trying to fly it on the trim button i.e. put the aircraft where you want it first then trim out any forces.


The aircraft will be aligned on the centre line, engines running and checks completed but you must call for the checklist.
Some testing officers require you set the park brake and set 1.20 EPR then release the brakes and call for Take Off thrust (this will be set by the support pilot) and ask him to call V speeds. In fact, ask for all the support you need. He may refuse but it is better to ask than not.
Keep the centre line of the runway between your legs.

Keep one hand on the thrust levers until V1 is called then place both hands on the control column.

The rudder becomes effective about 60 knots. Keep the aircraft straight with rudder after 60 knots but it shouldn’t be needed. The rudder is large, like everything else on this aircraft so only use small amounts.
At VR smoothly pull back on the control column until you reach 13 degrees. Don’t snatch at the elevators to get the aircraft off the ground but keep the rotation going until you get to 13 degrees then positively stop the rotation. (The horizontal stabilizer area is larger than a 737 wing so you will get ground effect trying to stop the rotation about 10 degrees) The horizontal stabilizer is reset so that at 15 degrees you are climbing away at V2+10 in trim. They require you to maintain V2+10 regardless should any discrepancy arise. The usual positive rate gear up.

You are departing on the back beam of the localiser so watch your tracking. It senses correctly i.e. if the localiser beam is displaced to the left then you must turn left to regain the centerline. Provided that you are flying runway heading you can’t deviate far and due to the narrowness of the beam close in don’t worry too much until you are about 10 DME.

You reach 1000 feet pretty quickly so lower the nose to 9 degrees to accelerate as per the profile. The aircraft will accelerate quickly so get the flaps retracted on schedule. Delaying flap retraction will soon have you flying far too fast for the given flap setting.

Approaching 2500feet you will still be accelerating and climbing about 2-2500fpm. You must take positive control of the aircraft and not just hold onto the control column. Be pro-active and reduce thrust to about 1.40 to reduce the rate of climb.

You will reach 2500 before reaching 280 kts. So you will then need to further reduce thrust to 1.16 EPR with an attitude of 2 degrees.

This is a big thrust reduction so watch your EPR gauges.
Of course reducing thrust lowers the nose so guard against inadvertently stopping the climb or inadvertently descending.

Remember at all times you have a positive attitude on the ADI varying between 2.0 (clean @ 280kts) to 7.5 degrees depending on flap setting. That is your level flight attitude and failure to maintain that attitude will have you descending in no time at
all. Whatever situation develops positively setting the correct attitude in the ADI will immediately stop any height excursions.


Anticipation is the watchword. The instrumentation, whilst old technology, is far more sophisticated than what some of you are used to. The ADI (artificial horizon) gets it’s information from the INS so is very accurate. Steep turns will require about 2 degrees of additional pitch once the bank exceeds 25 degrees when additional thrust (1.22) will also be required. Remember there are 4 engines so all thrust variations are minimal. Trim the simulator in the turn. Coming out of the turn usually creates more problems than entering. Use the formula 1 degree of heading for every 3 degrees of bank so 15 degrees before the required heading start rolling out. Remember you gave to reverse everything you did to enter the turn. This includes attitude and thrust and trim. Positive adjustment of the attitude and reducing thrust and then trimming will ensure you maintain height and airspeed.

You could be asked to reverse the steep turn from left to right in one manoeuvre.


After the airwork you will be vectored for an ILS approach. SLOW DOWN ASAP.
Setting the airspeed bugs for the approach. Usually this is done prior to releasing you from the position freeze position. The testing officer will fly whilst you set the bugs.

Remember the flaps take a long time to go from 1-5 (more like 30 secs. Than the 45 Cathay state) and you cannot go 1 knot below the speed for flap 1 until the flaps are at 5. Once past 5 the flaps run out very quickly. Fly at Flap 5 until on finals then take flap 10. You must fly the correct speeds otherwise you will be too fast on the glide slope and won’t be able to get past flap 25 until you get the speed back. Flying at other than the correct speeds, flap and thrust settings and attitudes means that none of the attached figures apply.
Approaching the glide slope. Be proactive and not reactive.
The ROD will be 800 fpm if you are on speed.
Immediately prior to glide slope intercept bring the thrust back minimally say 1.15. Remember you already have high drag with flap 20 and gear down. Almost as soon as you have taken the power off you are putting it back up to 1.22. Also reducing thrust lowers the nose and eases you nicely into the descent when you take flap 30. Failure to increase the thrust, as mentioned above, will cause you to go below the glide slope.

Fly the approach with constant reference to the ROD of 800 fpm but not to the detriment of tracking the localizer (a common fault). Runway heading is 073 and many pilots fail to maintain that heading thus constantly deviating from the localiser centre line. Remember you must keep the sky pointer in your scan.

Once established on final approach bank angles should not exceed 5 degrees.
Again due to the inertia when you are re-intercepting the localizer roll back onto that heading immediately prior to intercept otherwise you will go through the localizer and then have to intercept it again from the other side.

Large aircraft cannot be manoeuvred close to the ground and in fact most airlines have a requirement to be stable by 1000 feet but if not stable by 500 feet a go-around is mandatory. So we fly the aircraft down the ILs in the final approach attitude and landing configuration.

This means that near enough isn’t good enough. You need to be on the localiser/centre line and at the right ROD/glideslope all the time. You have no margin for correction close to the ground. (See pictures of Asian airlines landing on the old and new airports in Hong Kong).

You have to keep track of the altitude and call your own minima.


Call for max. thrust and apply some power and the support pilot will set the max. thrust. Raise the nose to 13 degrees calling for flap 20 and then gear up.
Application of max. thrust gives a strong nose up attitude so all through the climb from minima to 1000 feet you are constantly trimming forward with the trim button being exercised almost all the time.
Again things happen fast so remember at 1000 feet lower the nose to 9 degrees and accelerate cleaning up on schedule and keeping the aircraft below 250 knots until flap 0. As per the take off profile you will have to reduce thrust to keep within the flap limit speeds.


The go round may be for a left or right downwind and at some stage you will be asked where the airfield is. Remember you have 2 ADF needles pointing at the locator at the end of runway 07 and 2 DME’s giving you the distance. Some testing officers have asked pilots to reduce to 200kts. Be aware this is below the minimum manoeuvring speed for flap up so to fly any speed below +80 you have to select the appropriate flap for that speed.

The landing is not part of the test so I won’t bother with a briefing. However if you aren’t stable and lined up with the centre line don’t attempt last minute corrections. Just state you would go around.

REMEMBER if you do something badly or incorrectly you must put it out of your mind and concentrate on the job at hand. You can’t relive those moments so forget about them except, of course, to decide not to do the same again. It is how you perform the task ahead that will decide whether Cathay give you a job. A task badly done can work to your advantage if you display good airmanship to retrieve the situation. This will allow them to see a side of your flying not normally available to them in the set test.

You must learn the following figures off by heart prior to the simulator ride.
Failure to do so will devalue the training.

I suggest that you superimpose these figures on the approach diagram.


UP           0          280      2          1.16     STR LVL
              0          250      5          1.16     “ “
             5          186      7.5       1.22     “ “
             10        176      7.5       1.22     “ “
             20        166      6          1.22     “ “
DOWN   20        166      6          1.26     “ “
             30        156      1.5       1.22     3 DEG DESC