British Airways: Simulator Preparation (2024)

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely passed the initial assessment down at Waterside and have been invited to the British Airways simulator assessment on the Boeing 747 (As of 2024, the assessment is now completed on the A320 or A380). Congratulations! I understand the excitement and nervousness that come with such an opportunity. In this blog post, I will guide you through the essential steps to prepare effectively for this assessment. So, seatbelt signs on and let’s jump in!

Understand the Assessment Process 

The first step in preparing for any simulator assessment is to familiarize yourself with the process. The British Airways simulator assessment on the Airbus A320 or A380 is a full-on day. Expect a 4-hour simulator (with a break in the middle) with a 90-minute pre-briefing and a 15-minute debrief. That’s an almost 6-hour day before you factor in travel time. You will be part of a 2 person crew tasked with flying the aircraft, manually, all raw data and manual thrust from A-B where something non-technical will happen along the way and you will have to consider if continuing your flight is the best course of action. The BA simulator profile is ever-changing but think along the lines of a medical emergency, a closed airport, and deteriorating weather. 

Study the documentation

There will be two sectors, you will be PF (pilot flying) for one and PM (pilot monitoring) for the other. Don’t worry too much about SOP callouts, as BA understands there’s a lot to learn already so they are expecting you to use the SOPs you know and use currently. However, LEARN the pitch and power settings and profiles they give you. Two of the competencies you will be graded against are Professional Standards and Knowledge, therefore your knowledge of these will be expected. Additionally, knowing these will give you spare capacity in the sim!

You will be given a 4-5 page document with everything you need to know which includes the pitch and power settings mentioned above. It also includes the profiles for take-off, approach, and landing. Note the landing is NOT assessed. This pack also includes a copy of the checklist used during recruitment. Learn this document and learn it well. I cannot overemphasize the importance of putting the work in beforehand.

Practice CRM and Communication Skills

Effective communication and Crew Resource Management (CRM) are vital skills for any pilot. During the assessment, you’ll be evaluated on your ability to communicate clearly and efficiently with your partner. Remember, you may not come from the same airline or country, so communication is essential (and also a pilot competency). Practice using standard phraseology, maintaining a calm and professional demeanor, and actively listening to instructions and suggestions. Collaborate with your partner! You are a team, you generally pass or fail as a crew (not always!), so help each other out like you would in the real world. This is not a points-scoring exercise, you are working together as a team to get the safest outcome. If you think your partner is doing something unsafe or unstable, SAY SO!

Pay for a sim assessment

Consider booking additional simulator sessions before your assessment to gain familiarity with the aircraft’s handling characteristics and practice specific maneuvers. Yes, they are expensive. But joining British Airways is considered a career airline. Spending £500 now will pay dividends for your future. If you would like recommendations, please send me an email ( I do not get kickbacks or commissions so any suggestions from me are genuine. 

Mental and Physical Preparation

The assessment process can be mentally and physically demanding. Prioritize your mental well-being by staying focused, managing stress effectively, and getting adequate rest before the assessment day. Seniority is important at BA but don’t shoot yourself in the foot and only give yourself a week to prepare. I would recommend taking a full 2 to 3 weeks to digest all of the documentation, armchair fly the profiles and attend a privately paid-for sim session.

Do your best

Do your best, but don’t stress too much. You will make mistakes. Everyone I know who has got in to BA made mistakes during the sim assessment. As long as you fly safely, recover from your mistakes and keep focused you will be fine. Finally, enjoy! Not everyone gets to fly a full-motion A320 or A380 simulator.