At NBAA’09, CAE SimuFlite (Booth No. 251) is offering demonstrations of its e-Learning and technical training programs. “We are trying to bring training closer to our customer base,” said CEO Jeff Roberts. “We are talking about e-Learning, our online distributed learning program.” The e-Learning courses make it easier for customers to train without the expense of traveling to a training center for long periods of time.
Roberts added that SimuFlite is expanding and refining its technical training for maintenance personnel. “Creating more of a practical hands-on environment is our key message,” he explained.
The e-Learning general operating subjects for pilots and maintenance technicians cover knowledge not addressed in type-specific training. Courses are available for initial and recurrent training, either instructor-led at a CAE SimuFlite training center or online through CAE e-Learning.
SimuFlite’s Practical Assessment Tool (PAT) allows maintenance technicians to learn aircraft component locations, inspection procedures and criteria in a tracked environment, reducing dependency on actual aircraft for training. The Web-deployable PAT uses aircraft photos, allowing targeted scenarios to be quickly displayed to maintenance technicians. Lesson completion can be tracked on CAE’s learning management system.
The PAT can address some of the “practical assessment” regulatory requirements for many countries that mandate technicians complete practical training to be qualified to service a specific aircraft. PAT can also be used as a familiarization tool to ensure that students understand the aircraft and as an operations tool for mentoring and passing information quickly to all technicians in an organization.
The company’s Professional Trouble-shooting Skills (PTS) program focuses on the philosophy and logic of aircraft trouble-shooting to develop systematic processes and decision-making skills. It helps technicians learn how to determine both the cause of a malfunction and the most time-saving and cost-effective resolution. Hands-on troubleshooting exercises use schematics and simulated aircraft systems that respond to troubleshooting procedures. PTS reports the time and cost for each solution.
Quality Assurance Program
A program that is making training increasingly operations-oriented, Roberts said, “and applying it more and more in the practical realm,” is CAE Flightscape, a corporate flight operational quality assurance service for business aviation operators. Flightscape eliminates infrastructure costs typically associated with housing an internal quality assurance program. Aircraft equipped with solid-state flight data recorders are Flightscape-ready with no additional hardware required.
“We have been highlighting the Flight-scape program for two-and-a-half years,” he said, “and response in the marketplace has been positive. This program makes it possible to download real flight data right off the airplane, analyze it and feed it back to the maintenance and flight departments. The analysis can include predictive trend analysis, which in turn may lead to altering a training curriculum on the basis of real-time experience.”
CAE Flightscape enables operators to identify both operational and maintenance events and visualize complex events using interactive 3-D flight animation. Users share an industry “lessons learned” knowledge base and can also use Flightscape results to review fleet-wide trends and even track fuel consumption. The flight data analysis service provides a collaborative quality-assurance environment for operators, investigators, OEMs and training providers. No resident flight data expertise is required in the client organization, Roberts said. Data is evaluated by trusted, neutral expert analysts using best practices methodologies. Their analysis and safety action recommendations are accessible 24/7 via the Internet. Flightscape also offers in-house software for operators that wish to manage their flight data analysis program internally.
Assessing the effect of the economic downturn on SimuFlite’s training volume, Roberts said, “Certainly we’ve seen softness in the market. Aircraft transactions are down, which results in a decline in initial training requirements.” To a lesser extent, he added, recurrent training has diminished as some operators have scaled down the number of active pilots in response to lower flight activity. SimuFlite’s recurrent training has been less affected by the recession, he added, because operators require requalification checkrides for their pilots, regardless of economic conditions or number of hours flown.
Is the training segment recession-proof? “No,” Roberts replied. “That business is much more resilient. Here in Orlando our full contingent will support the various NBAA committees on which we serve. Because of the current economy we don’t have as robust a presence as in the past, but we’re here to liaise and interact with our customers, to show appreciation for their support. Through this we hope to further develop ways to help them–and us–to get through this difficult time.”
SimuFlite recently retired three simulators, including a Falcon 20 model sold to SimCom in Orlando. “Over time they reach the end of their useful life,” Roberts said.
Principal CAE SimuFlite business aviation training locations are in Dallas; Morristown, N.J.; Burgess Hill, UK (London area); and Dubai, UAE.