Friday, September 28, 2012

Time between sending the application to getting an interview

Many of you have asked me how long it takes from sending the application to being called for the interview. The answer, as anything else in Indonesia, is very arbitrary. Depending on the needs of Susi Air, sometimes guys are contacted within 1-2 weeks. This is especially so if they are looking for guys with high hours and you fit that category. Expect anything from 3 weeks to 3 months.

Also, after completing the interview, it may take up to 1 month to get an answer. I have heard of guys who were told at the interview that they had passed and that they were hired on the spot. This is very rare though! So don't get your hopes up too high! If you have any questions then drop a comment and I will be happy to answer them.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A few pictures of Susi life

 MAF Caravan
 Papuan locals grabbing what they can get
 Waiting under the wing
 East Nusa Tengara
 Pre-flight oil check
 Flying cargo
 Volcano enroute
 Active volcano
 Refuelling during turnaround
Parked at Cilacap

Monday, September 3, 2012

First Officer Terms and Conditions

Upon employment a refundable bond of US$ 2500 is payable to the company in order to cover training costs and license conversion. You sign a contract and a non-competition agreement that states that you are not allowed to seek employment with any other competing Indonesian company within 24 months of leaving Susi Air. The payscale is as follows:

Monthly Salary as First Officer:
US$ 750.-  until reaching 500 total flight hours 
US$ 900.-  with total flight hours between 501 - 750 
US$ 1.100.-  with total flight hours between 751 – 1.000
US$ 1.250.-  with total flight hours above 1000

Additionally, depending on base allocation:
Papua incentive pay: US$ 20.- per day additional. 
Malinau/Tarakan/Ketapang incentive pay: US$ 15.- per day additional

Salary is net as the company pays tax. It also includes 3 meals a day, accommodation during weeks on duty, transport to/from airport and laundry. The normal roster is 3 weeks “on” and 1 week “off” or 6+2 weeks, again depending on the base. No holiday in during the first 6 months of employment. Expect to spend a year as First Officer before your upgrade to Captain if you arrive with 200 hours total time.

The actual interview and what to prepare

The Susi Air interview has changed a lot during the past few years. Gone are the days where you could be in and out in 1 hour and just have to talk a little about yourself and your career. These days it is more like an actual airline interview and can be really tricky. Susi Air says that only 50% of the guys who go for an interview get the job. This really depends on what the requirements within the company are at the present time and is not always set in stone. If you are good enough you will get the job!

The interview is spread over 2 days as follows:

Day 1: Arrival in Pangandaran. You wil be given a room either at the Susi Hotel or one nearer the beach. There will be a short introduction to the company by the Director of Training and an outline of what to expect during your time in Pangers. Then you will be asked to sit the Compass Test and a psychometric test. They are both computer based and take around 3-4 hours total to do.

The compass test tests your hand-eye coordination (rudder and yoke), memory, motor skills, mental maths, multi tasking and rational thinking. There is a section of 25 questions of pure algebra which you have to complete in 20 minutes. It is basic addition, subtraction, division etc. No calculators are allowed! Below are a few diagrams showing what you can expect, but to be honest you can’t really study for the Compass Test, just do it!:

The psychometric test profiles you by asking the same type of questions over and over again but in different wording every time. There are 255 questions in total. An example could be: I work best alone or I work best in a group etc. Not only are your answers recorded, but the time it takes you to react and answer is also noted. Insider tip! It is only the middle third of the 255 questions that are recorded and used to profile you!

Day 2: After breakfast you will sit the first of 2 written tests. The first is mainly technical questions on C208B systems. There is no time limit. I have made the flight safety C208B Caravan manual available on Dropbox via this link:, make sure you read it through a few times and get a fundamental grasp of the fuel, oil, electrical systems and the PT6 engine. Also, make sure you now the different speeds, Vx, Vy, Vne Vs0, Vs1 as these will be asked. Here are some example questions:

Describe Lift?

Answer: Lift is the phenomenon generated by an aerofoil due to pressure differences above and below the aerofoil. An aerofoil is cambered on its topside and flat on its bottom side. Therefore, the airflow over the top of the aerofoil has to travel farther and thus faster than the airflow below the aerofoil. This causes the pressure blow the aerofoil to be greater than above, creating a pressure difference, which results in an upward lift force.

What is dihedral?

Answer: Dihedral is the upward inclination of a wing from the root to the tip.
How many Nav lights does a C208 Have?

A. 1
B. 2
C. 3 

The GCU controls the starter-Generator and serves what functions?

A. overspeed protection
B. speed sensor
C. starter cut out
D. Voltage regulation and protection from high voltage + reverse current
E. all of the above
Describe Isac Newtons Third law of motion?

Answer: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, to relate this law to lift we can say that the wing causes the air moving past it to curve downward, creating a strong downwash behind the wing. As this mass of air is accelerated downward, the reaction force pushes the wing up.

The second written test is also multiple choice like the first one. This one is mainly principles of flight mixed with some meteorology and IFR procedure questions. All of them CPL level, so if you have just finished your flight training you should have no problems. Remember that for at least the first written test you might be asked to back up your answers with a diagram, i.e drawing the forces acting on an aerofoil when it produces lift. A few sample questions can be seen below:

Frost covering the upper surface of an airplane wing usually will cause:

A. the airplane to stall at an angle of attack that is lower than normal. 
B. the airplane to stall at an angle of attack that is higher than normal.
C. drag factors so large that sufficient speed cannot be obtained for takeoff.

On a wing, the force of lift acts perpendicular to, and the force of drag acts parallel to the

A. flightpath.
B. longitudinal axis.
C. chord line.

What will occur if no leaning is made with the mixture control as the flight altitude increases?

A. The density of air entering the carburetor decreases and the amount of fuel increases.
B. The density of air entering the carburetor decreases and the amount of fuel remains constant
C. The volume of air entering the carburetor decreases and the amount of fuel decreases.

True airspeed is best described as calibrated airspeed corrected for

A. altitude and non-standard temperature. 
B. installation or instrument error.
C. non-standard temperature

A common location of clear air turbulence is

A. near a ridge aloft on the equatorial side of a high-pressure flow.
B. in an upper trough on the polar side of a jet stream.
C. south of an east/west oriented high-pressure ridge in its dissipating stage.

After the written part of the interview, they then decide to throw you into the simulator. It will either be a C172 G1000 (very nice) or a Piper Arrow generic (Microsoft flight simulator, not so nice) sim. You are expected to intercept and fly a radial inbound to a hold, execute a hold entry, fly a hold with correction for wind and shoot an approach (normally a VOR/DME or a VOR/ILS). It’s pretty basic stuff and the only tricky thing is to get used to the G1000 if you are not already.

The final part of the selection process is the personal interview. Normally it is with the Chief Pilot, the Head of Training and the Head of HR. They will start off by looking at your CV and asking questions about your flying career so far, your ambitions, what you plan to do after Susi Air etc. They will also ask questions about your personal life, do you have a girlfriend/wife etc? It can be beneficial to your chances to say no to this as having a spouse is seen as a hassle. They then ask you technical and scenario based questions. Examples:

“You are over high terrain with lots of cloud around and your Captain wants to start descending to the destination airport. What do you do? How do you inform him that it is a bad idea? Help him understand the terrain and the danger of CFIT. If he still does not understand, maybe use the phrase “Captain you must listen” and then take control.”

You are given a company (Susi Air) GPS approach plate and asked if you would do the approach and if there is anything missing. The answer is NO because  a) it is not an official approach plate and b) there is no MSA.

After around 1 hour the interview concludes. Some guys are told straight away that they got the job while most are told after 2-3 weeks via email. The most important thing is to relax, answer as truthfully and to the point as possible and if you don’t know an answer just admit it instead of guessing! After the final day of interviews, make sure you head to Jacko's by the beach and have a few cold Ankers! Ellen even gives pilots a bit of a discount!

Over the coming weeks I will gather as many questions as possible and try post them on the blog. Good luc and hope this all helps!