Thirty students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have gone to Canada to train to become air traffic controllers as part of an agreement between Nav Canada and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation. The students expect to complete all their required training at the Nav Centre, described by Nav Canada as its world-class training and conferencing facility in Cornwall, Ontario. Training lasts for about two academic years, at which time the students plan to seek qualification as controllers at air traffic control (ATC) facilities in their home country.
Classes started at the Nav Centre in late August. Coursework now concentrates on English-language instruction specifically designed to teach the students ICAO-standard proficiency in aviation English and in ATC phraseology.
Following language training, schedules call for students to begin studying all aspects of VFR and IFR air traffic control. During that phase of study, students will train on advanced simulators, updated to accurately replicate Saudi Arabian airspace. Specific areas of study include aerodrome control, non-radar and radar approach control, air traffic management and air navigation system communications, navigation and surveillance. Plans also call for two five-day familiarization tours of Nav Canada facilities to provide an understanding of day-to-day operations.
“We are pleased to be working with our Saudi Arabian counterparts,” said Duane Clefstad, director of international training at Nav Canada. “They value our ability to custom-build courses, which sets us apart from a lot of ATC training schools. While we tailor our courses to meet the requirements of Saudi Arabia or any other jurisdiction, we do so in ways that meet ICAO standards. And our courses can start at any time during the year, on a timetable that suits the customer.”