Flight crew ground training and preparation is a separate procedure to your flight, and will qualify you to act as a flight crew member in our aircraft.
It will take about three hours.
It needs to be renewed annually for subsequent flights.
On completion, after a short review of your knowledge and understanding of normal and emergency procedures, you’ll be issued with a certificate qualifying you to fly with us an L-39 flight crew member.
You’ll be trained in managing and utilising your life support equipment.
Your flight suit. Secure and comfortable.
Your Anti-G harness. (‘G’ suit.) This can assist in some manoeuvres.)
Your helmet. Fitted and adjusted for maximum comfort and clear communications.
Your lifejacket. Required for overwater flight.
Your interface with the cockpit environment.
Normal and emergency procedures, including entry and egress, canopy operation, safety harness usage, communications, and cockpit familiarisation.
First comes ‘Suiting Up’.
This is the time for us to assist you to carefully don your Melbourne Jet Fighter flight suit/G-suit/helmet/life jacket, ensuring that they fit, and that you’re aware of their functions.
Your pilot will then brief you on weather, mission timing, and confirmation of the flight profile, as described below.
(This can be modified in minor ways to accommodate personal preferences, but for first time flight crew we recommend flying it as shown and discussed during your training.)
Our flight profile will consist of four phases; (Times are approximate, and can vary due to factors such as weather or air traffic.
Departure and cruise. Ten to fifteen minutes.
Manoeuvring. Ten minutes.
Simulated ground attack. Ten minutes.
Recovery and landing. Fifteen to twenty minutes.
From engine start, taxying for take-off and after landing, and engine stop, your time in the aircraft will be approximately one hour.
Flight time will be approximately forty-five to fifty minutes.
Remember these times can vary slightly, according to weather and air traffic conditions.
The flight route may vary for the same reasons.
After briefing, we flight crew proceed to the aircraft, and a final pre-flight inspection will be carried out together, showing the various items to be checked.
(The aircraft will have already been prepared by our ground crew, with this inspection a final check.)
You will then be installed in the aircraft with the assistance of our ground crew and your pilot.
The normal and emergency features of the cockpit shown to you during training will be reviewed, with particular attention paid to ingress and egress procedures.
The flight will then proceed through engine start, taxi and take-off, with your pilot keeping you informed of their various aspects.
After departure from Essendon we’ll climb initially to either two or three thousand feet, departing to the South via the city environs, en-route to the lower reaches of Port Phillip Bay.
During this cruise phase, you’ll be shown turns, climbs and descents, in a progressive manner, commencing gently, up to your levels of comfort.
This is the time to embrace the immersive nature of the goldfish-bowl like environment that is uniquely ours, manoeuvring around any clouds present, perhaps seeing familiar places from our vantage point.
Ten minutes or so into the mission, we’ll be at seven thousand feet over the beaches of the Nepean Peninsula, with Cape Schanck to our left, and Port Phillip Heads to the right.
In the manoeuvring phase, we’ll commence with a demonstration of varying ‘G’ forces, in a progressive manner, via medium and steep turns.
If you’re comfortable, we’ll proceed to showing you some basic flight manoeuvres, commencing with gentle wingovers, and leading to a looping and rolling sequence, as discussed during your training.
The simulated ground attack uses a small island in Port Phillip Bay as the designated target.
The aircraft is manoeuvred in a pattern that identifies the target, and then carries out a low-level high-speed ground attack run, followed by an evasive egress, assessing results.
All serious fun!
The recovery and landing phase follows.
We’ll demonstrate a standard military pitch and break procedure at RAAF Base Point Cook, air traffic permitting. (If Point Cook is not available, we’ll use an area over the Bellarine for the same purpose.)
This will consist of a low-level flyover at high speed, followed by a steep turn over the landing strip into the landing circuit pattern.
We’ll configure the aircraft for landing, and go around just before the landing runway is reached.
The landing phase back at Essendon will be completed using standard civilian procedures.
On arrival, a de-brief shall be conducted, and you’ll be presented with your Flight Crew patch, and a certificate attesting to your accomplishment.