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MEBA2012: We must rethink civil pilot training – CAE boss

Posted 12 December 2012 · Add Comment

The head of CAE, the world's largest training organisation, (stand 360) has called for a rethink about how the training industry should prepare the next generation of aircraft captains, both in the airline and the business aviation sectors.

Group president of civil simulation product training and services, Jeff Roberts, said that the threat of pilot shortage for the civil markets is real.
“I think that CAE and our subsidiary, Oxford Aviation, are able to produce capable qualified co-pilots. But I think the real question is how do we create captains? I think we are going to have to think differently about how we accelerate the development of judgement and experience from the traditional approach of let’s fly an aircraft for 1500, 2000 or 3000 hrs,” Roberts said.
“It sounds self-serving but I genuinely think there is a role for simulators to play. It is more intensive. I don’t know whether one hour on the simulator is worth five or 10 flight hours; we need a scientific study to work this out. But I believe we should be putting people through a wholly new designed command course to create captains and against that background have to think about various segments, such as regional operations or business aviation. How do we get a concerted effort to create supply to meet the demand?”
Roberts argues that the accumulation of hours on a C150 or 172 on visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flights doesn’t prepare a pilot for business or airline operations.
“The military creates command pilots within a year-and-a-half with 350 hours in a sophisticated aircraft with difficult environments and with a good safety record. They spend a million or two million dollars to do that and, of course, business aviation and even airlines cannot afford that kind of investment. But that kind of thinking is where we need to be. We have to think differently.
“A rethink about engaging today’s technology – e-training, simulation, evidence-based and continuous training – should allow us to go to the regulators and create something new.”
CAE is using MEBA to celebrate its tenth anniversary of the partnership with Emirates in Dubai. “We started with six simulators, we now have 12. We have doubled in ten years – that has outpaced the delivery of aircraft. It was the right idea at the right time with the right partnership.”
The training centre includes business aircraft simulators including a new Challenger 604/605.
The joint venture will be opening a second facility in Dubai at Silicon Oasis that will be good news for BBJ and ACJ operators, as well as the growing number of low-cost carriers using the Boeing and Airbus narrow-bodies.
“Initially we have four bays at Silicon Oasis but we have the land to allow us to grow to 10 and so that could take us to 22 simulators in the UAE,” said Roberts.
CAE has expanded its business aviation capabilities at Burgess Hill near London’s Gatwick and at Amsterdam, as well as in China and Mexico.
“We believe providing access to training in closer proximity to international operations is the future. We want to be where the airplanes are and where they’re going so we can leverage that for our customers,” Roberts concluded.


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