Yesterday I did my triennial IPC (Instructor Proficiency Check) .
This is a line-check that all line-training captains have to do, at least every third year, in order to show the airline and the authorities that we are competent to do the job as instructors.
With this IPC it brought the number of checks that I have been subjected to, THIS month, to 3.
I started of the month with an annual line-check. This is a check that all pilots have to do, every year to show that they are competent in handling the normal day-to-day operation of the aircraft and that we are following all relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's).
I then pursued with completing my annual Licence Proficiency check (LPC). This is a check that is done in a simulator every year to satisfy both the Aviation Authorities and the Airline of my competency to handle the aircraft in both Normal and Non-normal situations. The LPC (valid one year) and the OPC (Operator proficiency check, valid 6 months) are probably the checks that you have heard most about. These are the checks that a lot of pilots fear because failing theses checks means that we are taken off line, not allowed to work until we have received re-training and done another check. These checks also tend to be the trickiest to do since they have loads of failures in them and we very rarely have ANY failures during our daily flights.
In association with the LPC there are also 2 written exams that we have to do on a computer. The first exam is a technical test comprising of 25 multiple choice questions on different technical systems and the other test is a 25 question SOP exam. The pass-rate is 75% on both.
After that I had my triennial Fire and rescue course and now, lastly I had the IPC (Instructor proficiency check).
In my case it's a little bit extreme since I have managed to get all my checks in the same month but the same amount of checks are done by all commercial pilots (Well, a few more for instructors. :)
This is just one of the reasons why the aviation business are one of the safest in the world. The checks should not bee seen as threats but as critical safety barriers where the general public is protected but also where we, pilots, are protected from ourselves. If we have lost our skills in any area we need to be made aware of this and practice that area to proficiency again before we fly another aircraft.
Even though this is the case, a lot of pilots dislike the checks heavily. As you can imagine, its not nice to have your knowledge, skill and livelyhood "questioned" every 6 months but my experience is that if you come prepared, do a bit of studying before, there is very rarely anything to worry about.
I have come to thoroughly enjoy my checks since it gives me valuable feedback, something that can be a bit scarce otherwise as a linetraining captain and TRE.
The only way to get better is by training, studying and receiving and accepting critique and feedback.
If you want to see a few of the exercises we are being tested on during the LPC/OPC you can download my app by pressing here and see it for yourself. I promise that you wont be dissapointed.
Have a fantastic day my friends!