I interviewed in August 2019 at the Shreveport facility for a SPIFR position out in the country, just happens to be close to where I live. I have 4000 hours helicopter time, 390 hours in the clouds and sim combined, mostly dual pilot. Retired U.S. Army Warrant Officer pilot with 10 years Part 135 civilian time, 8.5 years HEMS, before hanging it up in 2013 to enjoy life a bit.
I made it known that I hadn't flown in 6 years, Metro invited me to the interview still. With my background, I felt confident I could succeed. The interview went well - the Metro people were extremely pleasant, yet thorough in their questioning. The written test then went well also, I aced that. Next, and finally, the ride in the EC-135 sim didn't turn out well. I've never been in a 135, much less had any knowledge of the systems. The young fellow who conducted my ride showed me how to adjust the seat, and that was it. I started with hovering exercises at LaGuardia, then proceeded to attempt a confined area approach and landing to the Statue of Liberty (all the while trying to figure out the proper use of the cyclic trim button). I then made an approach to the water front heliports in Lower Manhattan. Thus far, my performance was acceptable yet rusty. Coming off of Manhattan, I punched into the soup at 100 feet and was xyz'd to base to final for the ILS at LaGuardia....I recognized the intercept, turned left and commenced the approach (while still trying to figure out the control touch and trim function). At this point my tunnel vision was advancing with my fatigue, and I would have executed a miss in the real world as I exceeded the lateral and vertical limits twice - however, I corrected and continued, as I thought the instructor wanted to see if I could execute the ILS to DH. At 200 feet AGL, there were the approach lights - I called the landing environment and proceeded. I should mention, I initiated the approach at 60 knots. After that, I was told to accelerate to 90 knots while on final. And finally, while trying to decelerate and land, the world went away in cloud at 100 feet - I tried to do a manual go around (no auto pilot allowed on any part of the ride), got too slow in cloud, and spun in.....Red Screen! With some practice and stick time, I could have been back up to speed and executed with no problem.
I waited in the outer lobby for 30 minutes. The recruiter, who was also a very pleasant person, came out and told me I didn't do well enough to be a Metro pilot. I suppose I could have griped and moaned about the ride exceeding my currency level, not having flown in 6 years, but I didn't. I have since practiced and studied all facets of IFR and VFR helicopter flight, and when/if the opportunity presents itself, I will try again!