LABACE Convention News

Online Training Helps Helicopter Operators To Close The Safety Gaps

 - August 15, 2013, 10:30 AM
Training Port delivers a wide range of courses covering largely safety-related topics developed with business aircraft flight and ground crew in mind. These are all available purely online and can be accessed on mobile devices such as tablets.

New risk management requirements for safety management systems (SMS) and the responses to these encapsulated in the International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) have been big drivers of demand for a wide array of training for flight and ground crews. But what corporate pilot and flight department manager Scott Macpherson found when he tried to provide this for his team was that he just could not get all this training conveniently in one place. This prompted him to start Training Port to consolidate available educational resources and deliver entirely online training for operational safety and maintenance topics.

The Canadian company is forever refreshing the presentation and the content of its many courses. It has just expanded the curriculum by introducing initial and recurrent courses on airborne weather radar training led by experts Erik Eliel of Radar Training International and Archie Trammel of AJT Inc.

According to Macpherson, who holds type ratings for the Dassault Falcon family of aircraft, simulator-based companies like Flight Safety International are doing a fine job providing equipment-specific aircraft training. Training Port’s approach is to focus on more human factors-based training that is of value to any operator and its staff.

Macpherson sits on the board of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and specifically on its committee overseeing IS-BAO. He told AIN that operators are facing multiple new challenges in ensuring that their operations are entirely attuned to the commitments made in their safety management systems and that this process has revealed gaps in business aviation’s approach to training. Training Net can provide clients with a full initial assessment to identify precise training needs.

“The industry has recognized that it needs to move past inflexible training and that operators need to make a full assessment of their needs based on what their [operations] manual has committed them to,” said Macpherson. “When SMS was first discussed 15 or so years ago there really was no specific training along these lines.”

From the start, Training Port decided to deliver its training entirely via the Internet so as to be readily accessible to trainees, even when they are on the road. Lessons, which can be viewed on tablet-devices and even smart phones, are broken down into short, 15-minute sessions so as to be easily absorbed by busy staff. On average, trainees take about one lesson each week and each lesson ends with three to five questions so that by the end of a year they have done about 150 to 180 exam questions overall.

The company makes a lot of use of sophisticated graphics and professional voice-over instruction in its Web presentations. About 40 percent of each session involves trainees responding interactively.

The lessons are refreshed in format and content every year or so to avoid getting stale. “This approach is especially important for providing effective recurrent training,” said Macpherson.

Training Port (Stand 4012) is now placing a strong emphasis on international expansion. In May, it signed up Germany’s Aeroex as its representative in Europe and it is now exploring options to have a presence in India and China.