FFE Training Academy....My Journey Continues

Topic 1260 | Page 2

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Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey Tim - sounds like things are moving along nicely for ya!

We lost three more students today for a variety of reasons. One thing they do not tolerate is attitude. We lost one today for that reason

I'm always trying to tell people that! smile.gif

Isn't it amazing how many people show up with a horrible attitude when given an opportunity to learn a new trade with almost all of the costs paid up front? It's shocking to me how dumb people can be. I think a lot of that comes from the other trucking sites who let anyone spout off garbage about these companies being one big scam or taking advantage of people. That makes a lot of people show up with a very cynical and jaded attitude, very defensive.

Then again, some people just have a lousy attitude!

But stay positive and stay focused on yourself. Keep a great attitude and keep putting in the work. Those instructors are watching closely for that kind of thing and it goes a long way toward deciding who gets to stay around and who gets sent packing. They know they can teach you to drive if you're willing to listen, learn, and put in the work. So show em you're willing to learn and they'll be willing to teach.

Keep doin what you're doin! smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tim I remember one of the things you liked about FFE was their thorough training, well it looks like they are holding up their end of the bargain. My left leg started hurting just reading your post! Keep up the good work, can' wait to hear some more from you.

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Tim - sounds like things are moving along nicely for ya!

double-quotes-start.png

We lost three more students today for a variety of reasons. One thing they do not tolerate is attitude. We lost one today for that reason

double-quotes-end.png

I'm always trying to tell people that! smile.gif

Isn't it amazing how many people show up with a horrible attitude when given an opportunity to learn a new trade with almost all of the costs paid up front? It's shocking to me how dumb people can be. I think a lot of that comes from the other trucking sites who let anyone spout off garbage about these companies being one big scam or taking advantage of people. That makes a lot of people show up with a very cynical and jaded attitude, very defensive.

Then again, some people just have a lousy attitude!

But stay positive and stay focused on yourself. Keep a great attitude and keep putting in the work. Those instructors are watching closely for that kind of thing and it goes a long way toward deciding who gets to stay around and who gets sent packing. They know they can teach you to drive if you're willing to listen, learn, and put in the work. So show em you're willing to learn and they'll be willing to teach.

Keep doin what you're doin! smile.gif

Sorry I have not posted for the last few days. We had a severe thunderstorm the night before labor day, and a lightning strike knocked out the electricity and damaged the wifi system here at the Academy. Took a couple of days to get the wifi repaired.

Brett, yes, you are dead on about the attitude thing. These instructors are all nice people, but they intentionally come across as militaristic in their training methods, not just to ensure that people get the message they are trying to instill, which is teaching trainees the importance of being safe, professional drivers, but also to see who can hack it. Things will sometimes get very tough out on the road, and having drivers with little patience for the hard knocks that are sure to be a part of the job will not help the bottom line for the company. Don't worry about me in that regard. I am enjoying the experience, and have not had a single complaint, exept for maybe the wifi going out, lol.

It is not that tough if you approach the training with the right attitude just as you say. I also have noted that the trainees that shut up and listen gain the respect of the instructors, and they will go out of their way to help and encourage them, even when they are struggling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Tim I remember one of the things you liked about FFE was their thorough training, well it looks like they are holding up their end of the bargain. My left leg started hurting just reading your post! Keep up the good work, can' wait to hear some more from you.

Yes indeed. The days are long, and the training intense. I don't know if the workout on my left leg feathering made the double clutching easier, but I have not had any leg aches since, lol.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 8 was Tuesday, the day after Labor day. We were taken out Hwy 287 freeway south of Fort Worth to learn double clutching and to drive the trucks on the roadway for the first time. We practiced driving up and down the frontage roads, making turns and learning the beginnings of road driving. Most all of us struggled, but most of us also got better as the day wore on. For me, upshifting came pretty quick, but downshifting was tougher. My biggest issue was either forgetting to flip the range switch back to low, or keeping the clutch depressed after taking the shifter out of gear to neutral, and forgetting to rev the engine back up a bit to get into the lower gear. I was a little bummed, but after receiving my eval for the day, I realized I did just fine by comparison with the other students, and in fact, just a bit better than average.

Day 9 was a little more intense. We drove to an industrial area in north Fort Worth where we practiced turning and shifting, only in a busier, tighter area. BTW, each truck only has two students per instructor at this point, so we are getting good seat time. My shifting continued to improve, and my daily eval reflected the improvement. I was given the task to drive back to the Academy on the freeway in rush hour traffic, and that was a rush itself, but I loved the challenge. It went fine.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but driving is not the only thing we do. We have an hour class in the morning before driving, and an evening class before we are released. Of course, we also have about an hour to hour and a half homework daily too. Ain't much foolin' around time here folks. I have been hitting the sack early every night exausted. I also caught a pretty nasty cold that was floating around the dorm, and was feeling sick for Labor day and the day after, but fought through it.

Day 10, today, we practiced advanced shifting and city driving. We drove 30 miles over to Dallas, where we will be taking the Texas DPS road test for our CDL. There for the morning, we practiced driving the actual route that the DPS evaluator will have us drive. To me, this was huge, as it gave what I feel to be a big advantage actually knowing what to expect and to easier prepare for it mentally. The course had some very tight turns, two RR crossings, freeway, large boulevards and small streets, etc. We will also have to perform a static air brake test, pre-trip, straight line back, parallel park, and do an alley dock for the DPS evaluator.

For the afternoon, we drove to a hilly area in SE Dallas near Duncanville. I got my first taste of driving on a fairly steep grade, both up and down, although nothing to compare to Donner Pass. This is Texas after all, lol. The great thing was that today I finally started to "get" downshifting, and my daily eval score really showed it. I knew I was doing something right, because the whole time I drove, my instructor was quiet. I nailed the afternoon with only one minor mistake that she pointed out to me. I feel confident that I will pass my final road evaluation tomorrow. It is hard to believe that I will be graduating in just a few more days. I also received a passing score on my pre-trip eval as well. More to come.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hang in there Tim, sounds like you're doing real well. The toughest part is just around the corner, when you're with the trainer. I got to tell you though, no matter how tough it is, you're gonna love it the day they hand you the keys to your very own truck. Of course then you're starting another tough time period in the beginning of your career, but it's all good, it helps us determine whether we're actually cut out for this or not. It sounds to me like you're doing just fine. Keep it up!

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hang in there Tim, sounds like you're doing real well. The toughest part is just around the corner, when you're with the trainer. I got to tell you though, no matter how tough it is, you're gonna love it the day they hand you the keys to your very own truck. Of course then you're starting another tough time period in the beginning of your career, but it's all good, it helps us determine whether we're actually cut out for this or not. It sounds to me like you're doing just fine. Keep it up!

I am sure you are correct Old School. However, it is a time I am looking forward to, because it means I have been employed and am learning the real ropes out on the road, not just the basics of safety and to earn a CDL here at the Academy, not to diminish that either though.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 11. The remaining students including me all took their final road test today for the Academy. Everyone passed, and now unless we hit something or do some other dumb thing, we will graduate Monday, then take the DPS test for our CDL. I did not score quite as well as I would have liked on my Road test, but I passed with a 91%, so maybe I am just being picky, lol. We were told that statistically, anyone who passes the FFE road test has better than a 98% chance to pass the DPS driving test for the CDL. My shifting was not quite as crisp, mainly due to an ornery transmission and clutch in the truck I tested in. I also failed to get into a proper lane and lost a couple of points there too. The afternoon was spent practicing on an obstacle course to simulate driving in busy truck stops, dock areas, etc. I had no problems there. We also had a class on trip planning and map reading.

Day 12. Today was alley docking all day long. I did seven alley docks total, and had no real problems except on one that had a big, deep mud puddle to negotiate. This maneuver really takes patience, and 100% awareness of what is going on around your truck. It is not so hard if you go SLOW and feather the clutch, and listen to the instructors on how to make the necessary adjustments when getting a little off line. Tomorrow is more alley docking, and we will then go off site to practice parallel parking again without any lines or cones.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tim, you did really well on that company test. Don't let your expectations shoot you down. Like they told you, if you did that well on that test you're sure to pass at the DMV. Don't sweat all the little details like getting your shifting just perfect. They will recognize if you seem to have the basic understanding of how to do this thing, and they will pass you knowing that you'll have plenty of time to polish your skills once they get you on the road.

Your just on the verge of clearing one hurdle, and you will soon be stepping into the next phase of this whole training period. Thanks for keeping us informed, it is really encouraging to see you progress, and I know that other new folks appreciate seeing how this whole process unfolds.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Tim, you did really well on that company test. Don't let your expectations shoot you down. Like they told you, if you did that well on that test you're sure to pass at the DMV. Don't sweat all the little details like getting your shifting just perfect. They will recognize if you seem to have the basic understanding of how to do this thing, and they will pass you knowing that you'll have plenty of time to polish your skills once they get you on the road.

Your just on the verge of clearing one hurdle, and you will soon be stepping into the next phase of this whole training period. Thanks for keeping us informed, it is really encouraging to see you progress, and I know that other new folks appreciate seeing how this whole process unfolds.

Old School, I appreciate your advice. I hope my account of my training experience helps others as well. One of my personality traits is that I sometimes tend to be a little too tough on myself when I feel I don't measure up to a standard I set for myself. It is a double edged sword.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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