Paris 2011: Inside Russia’s Airline Pilot Factory
So where do young Russians go to become airline pilots? How does the training startTypically, they apply to the advanced flying school at Ulianovsk, which is a well-regarded old institution. In 2010, Ulianovsk accepted 200 new cadets and graduated 82 of them.
The syllabus there is focused on initial training in aircraft handling skills and navigation. The flying is done on the venerable Yak-18T trainer and the newer Diamond DA 42. Yakovlev’s Yak-18T is a single-engine piston aircraft that has introduced several generations of Russian pilots to flying. It works well as a skills screener and ab-initio trainer for basic flying skills.
The DA 42 piston twin is intended for introducing pilots to the world of the glass cockpit and into the art of crew resource management (CRM), which is about coordinated the work between captain and copilot during flight. “This airplane is simple, and having a glass cockpit, it is easier for the trainees going on to fly the Airbus A320,” said Tulsky. Aeroflot instructors assist Ulianovsk and offer jobs to its best graduates.