FlightSafety International (FSI) began customer pilot training for the newly certified Gulfstream G650 on September 10 at its Savannah Gulfstream Learning Center. FSI has 16 pilots enrolled in the first class, which is expected to last three-and-a-half weeks and will be supported by two full-motion simulators, four graphical flight simulators (GFS), 14 pilot instructors and one center manager. Both simulators are currently approved for FAA training; one is approved for both FAA and EASA training.
David Davenport, FSI vice president and general manager of the Savannah center, noted, “The demand for the EASA training is not nearly as great as it is for the FAA training, especially in the first 12 months.” Nevertheless, he expects both simulators to be EASA approved by the beginning of next year. FSI is building two more G650 simulators that it will deploy at other locations in consultation with Gulfstream. For the last year, FSI has been training Gulfstream factory pilots on the G650 and conducting maintenance training with the help of the GFS units. FSI also obtained interim Level C approval for its simulators from the FAA so it could use them to train factory pilots. “Thanks to our close relationship with Gulfstream and its engineering team, we were able to demonstrate to the FAA that the simulator does in fact operate just like the aircraft even though the aircraft did not have type certification at that point,” Davenport said.
Pilots enrolled in FSI’s G650 course will benefit from a variety of high-tech aids in the classroom, Davenport said, including the Matrix cockpit desktop learning device, which allow students to interact with the cockpit while sitting in the classroom for more realistic scenario-based training. “Smart boards” in the classroom allow instructors to display all related manuals electronically, both Gulfstream’s aircraft flight manual and FSI’s training manual, to highlight important aspects of aircraft systems. Emulators will show pilots how to use iPods and iPads to control the wireless Gulfstream cabin management system (GCMS), designed to allow passengers to have mastery of everything from cabin airflow and lighting to electronic entertainment and information. “It is a pretty interesting high-tech classroom right now,” Davenport said.
FSI started working with Gulfstream “well over” three years ago to develop the G650 pilot training curriculum and more than four years ago to develop the maintenance training and the courseware. “It has been a more than three-year process to develop the manual, curriculum and simulator,” he said. Davenport estimated that 50 percent of G650 course pilots have previous Gulfstream experience, but said that did not affect course design. “We developed the training classes as if [students] had never seen a Gulfstream before,” he said.
“We have spent the last year gearing up for this event to occur. We knew there was going to be something of a backlog of training to accomplish in a short period of time and that is why we have the two simulators ready to support a new aircraft,” Davenport said. “We are starting a new pilot class every 12 days between now and Christmas.”
In January, FSI will begin a cabin attendant training course on the G650 using a full cabin simulator with full motion and visual systems in the cockpit and at the passenger stations. The course is expected to last five days for new flight attendants and three days for those with previous experience. For those in the latter category, the course will focus primarily on G650 systems, including the wireless GCMS.