Type Rating – Boeing 737

A Type Rating is easily said, literally a rating on a specific type of Aircraft. After completing the integrated pilot training you are qualified to earn money while flying a single- and multi engine aircraft. This sounds great but the commercial pilot license with a frozen ATPL is simply not enough to fly commercial aircrafts which are operated by two pilots at all times. For this, you need another training based on the aircraft you are going to fly. This extra training is called a Type Rating. Quite some people ask me what a Type Rating is and what the course looks like. I completed the Boeing 737-800 Type Rating recently and this is my story.

Intro Week
I started the Type Rating on the Boeing 737-800 at CAE Amsterdam in July. The Type Rating is divided in wings3different sectors and it starts with an intro week. The intro week is a busy week where you learn a lot about safety and the business itself. For example; emergency procedures and customer service. A lot of tests need to be completed during this week and they expect a score of at least 90% in order to pass. Swimming with a life vest on, extinguishing fires and cabin related exercises, everything is included! Of course you also get to know the other people of your Type Rating course, which can make or brake the entire experience.

Are you a teamplayer?
I was really lucky with my teammates. Normally in a big group of people there is always at least one person which does not fit in the group that well, right? I would not lie if I said that my group, of 12 people, was absolutely great. We all helped each other during the course and everyone was so incredibly nice and willing to learn. All of us were there with one goal: to pass the Type Rating successfully and as soon as possible, which was amazing to experience. As I said, the people can make or brake your course. With this I mean that it is really important to be able to get along with these people since you will see them almost 24/7 for a couple of months.

typerating1

Simpartner
In the beginning of the course everyone gets a sim(ulator) partner. This is someone else in the course with whom you have to fly all the simulator sessions. Together you have to study and you have to pass the simulator sessions. My sim partner is from the Czech Republic and we get along very well. Every day we studied in the mock-up (see picture) to practice, over and over again. It were long, exhausting days and nights. Everything to get the job done, of course. It was literally like this: eat, sleep, study, sim and repeat.  No social life whatsoever, so be prepared if you are starting a course soon! As you might understand this person is very important, you will learn from his or her mistakes and the other way around. If you are able to choose your sim partner, then choose well! 🙂

Groundschool
The first 3 weeks of the Type Rating are ground school. Sitting in a classroom while instructors/engineers explain all aircraft systems. They teach us about performance, mass and balance, SOP’s, safety and a lot more. This technical part contains a lot of tests and checks. Around 3 or 4 every week and they expect a high standard. At CAE Amsterdam the instructors were all very kind and knowledgable people so make sure you ‘use’ them. Sounds strange maybe but you know what I mean right?

Fixed Base Simulator
After the completion of ground school you continue to the 12 Fixed Base sessions followed by the Full Flight sessions.  The first sessions start with a complete setup from the gate to the runway and after the 4th session they already expect you to know how to fly different approaches by using the correct SOP’s .The sessions also include all kinds of different failures. Engine failure at V1, engine fire at V1, aborted take offs, pilot incapacitation during the most inconvenient time, rapid depressurization and a lot more. So be prepared for this guys/girls!

Full Flight Simulator
There are 7  Full Flight sessions and in these lessons you will learn howimage-2 to land the aircraft with a good landing technique, get used to high crosswind landings and one engine inoperative landings (OEI) with Flaps 15. In the end you will learn how to fly in low visibility and practice maneuvers. You will learn how to handle a TCAS TA & RA, GPWS warning, recover from wind shear and upset situations. As you can see there are many things covered in one session and therefore it is not that hard to get behind. Every new session they expect you to know and to reproduce the previous sessions well, which can be demanding. I know this sounds terrible but as long as you study hard and set your priorities you will have no problem.

License Skills Test (LST)
The final exam of the Type Rating is called the LST (License Skills Test). Basically this is a session where you take off and have an engine failure or fire. You will get other failures during the flight and you will have to show different approaches with one of them being OEI. You will need to show an aborted take off followed by an evacuation. Maybe this sounds like it is only about handling the aircraft but it is not! This test is also about working together as a team (and not competitors to show the instructor who knows his or her SOP’s the best…!), communication, decision making, situational awareness and to get the passengers, cabin crew and ATC informed about the situation at the right time. Everything to land the aircraft safely. The instructor sits in the back and says nothing by the way. He will leave you completely alone so if you expect help from him you can wait a very very long time haha!

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Circuit Training
There is this extra session after the LST just before you can go to Base Training. This is called PSCT training and it is the same as your base training but on the simulator. In this sessions they concentrate on flying circuits and on the correct landing techniques. When this is completed they schedule you for Base training on the real Boeing 737-800!


Base Training
Click here to read the article of my Base Training in the Boeing 737-800!

The final part
After completing the Base Training, the final step of the Type Rating, a lot of paperwork and administrative tasks were awaiting us. In order to have the Type Rating endorsed to my license I had to visit the civil aviation authorities in Dublin, Ireland. The entire thing was concluded with a wing ceremony at the headquarters of my company.

Looking back on it all, I had a very exciting time with lots of stressful moments. I learned a lot, gained a couple of friends and met very interesting people. It was hard at times but definitely do-able with the right attitude and motivation. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

The story contains a lot of words and phrases you might not understand nor be familiar with.. I am happy to explain it all in depth in the comment section below 🙂 Besides this I am very keen to learn about your own experiences regarding this subject. This way I might be able to write another article with more details for pilots and aviation enthusiasts that still need to complete their own Type Rating.

13 thoughts on “Type Rating – Boeing 737

  1. Hello Michelle! Very informative article. Well written and highly motivating.
    Well, I’m about to start my Boeing 737-800 TR with CAE, Amsterdam in a month. How do you advice me to prepare right now for the Typerating? I still have a month so I want to utilise my time and study for the Typerating so that I do not lag behind or struggle much during my Typerating? What shall I study now? How shall I prepare? Please advice. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kunal,

      By now you started your Type Rating so unfortunately my comment doesn’t really help you anymore. However, it might help others.

      It all starts with the airline, some are known for their strict procedures while others use the basic ones. If your airline uses strict procedures it might be wise to go through them before the course starts. Build yourself a simple mock-up at home and start practicing the “flows”. Time left? Checkout the FCOM and go through some question banks to familiarize yourself with the way questions are presented on the type rating exams. And last but not least, take care of all the additional stuff well in advance so you can focus on the things that matter. By this I mean: hotel bookings, paperwork, gym membership, tickets etc.

      Good luck with your Type Rating!

  2. Hello Miss Michelle I think this Type Ratings is like an industrial training at a business sector.So I understand that Getting a flight license is not enough for flying a plane. Before being a first officer at a aflight You should have the education of plane model and They nearly test your skills like You have had at flight school.Whereas ; Almost most of the people think that it is enough to get a Pilot License to fly a plane as a pilot. They think just like a typical Car License However ; This is different just you told to us above at the column. So This Type Ratings is just like Flight School education Where The instructors want to see your abilities aviable for the related boeing model although You have a Pilot License ( Graduated from Pilot School ).

    Secondly ; In the future If You moe on another Boeing model Plane like Boeing 757 or 777 or also Airbus Models Are You going to have Type Rating session ?

    Thank You very much. I wish You peaceful moements at your filghts and Good Luck to You at your Pilot Career.

    1. You got the picture Omer! You need a Type Rating for every aircraft that is operated by 2 pilots. In some cases you only need to complete a conversion course. This is only the case when the types of aircraft are similar to each other.

      To make it clear:

      – When moving from an Airbus 320 to a Boeing 737 you need a new Type Rating.
      – When moving from the Boeing 737-400 to a Boeing 737-800 you need a conversion course.

      Have a nice day!

      1. Thank You very much Michelle. And I pray for your sucess to be a Captain Pilot always. I am sure that You are going to be one of the Best Airline Captain near future. Good Luck to You. God bless You. Kindly Regards to You from İzmir city -Turkey. And also I hope one day I meet You on your flight.

  3. Hello, Michelle. Again, another great article with plenty of useful information. Two things come to mind: how long after your work in Phoenix was completed did you begin the B-737-800 rating? And did CAE require a minimum number of hours before beginning the type-rating work? Usually you obtain a Commercial ticket then a CFI-I rating to build hours prior to working on the jet type-rating. It may be different in Europe, however. And how much SIM time was required before you got to fly the actual B-737?That must have been an incredible day flying for real. Does your training include the interview process with a carrier? It all sounds good, but as you pointed out in an earlier video, this can become an expensive adventure, and the European protocols seem to add a layer of certification. Still, if you love flying this is all part of the process. Good luck and clear skies.

    1. Sorry for my late reply Dennis! I just noticed that I missed your comment… I began the B737-800 Type Rating roughly 2 years after graduating. CAE doesn’t have any requirements besides having the required licenses to start a Type Rating course. I know that in the US it’s common practice to gain experience as a flight instructor but thats different from the situation in Europe. Here you can start flying for an airline with just a (F) ATPL / CPL.

      It was amazing to fly the B737 for real! I will never forget my Base Training;) The interview with the airline was part of the selection process and took place months before the Type Rating course began.

      Thanks for your questions, All the best!

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