EASA’s new regulations for pilot training and issuance of European pilot licenses, ratings and certificates took effect yesterday.
German aerospace research center DLR has completed a series of flight simulator trials with a new helmet-mounted display. The testing program enlisted helicopter pilots from the German federal police, ADAC (the German Automobile Association) and German armed forces. Aimed at easing landings in poor visibility, such as brown-out or white-out conditions, the information displayed includes altitude, speed, course, attitude and obstacle situation. The device eliminates the need for pilots to constantly switch between looking outside the helicopter and checking the instrument panel.
Profound change is coming to the flight-training industry, prompted by new legislation in the U.S. and by the rapid growth of airline and business aviation in countries where aviation is finally gaining a stronger foothold.
Last October, a post on the International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP) website launched a discussion about training for business aviation pilots. The writer, an IAFTP member from Europe, worries that “the world’s aviation training community is focusing on air carrier training issues and ignoring the unique training needs of the global corporate and business aircraft community.” The question posed to fellow IAFTP members was, “What training initiatives exist or are being developed for us?”
Loss of control in flight is now the biggest cause of commercial aviation fatalities, so what can be done to teach pilots how not to lose control? Two 2009 accidents involved stalls–Colgan Air 3407 and Air France 447–yet stalls are an elementary maneuver taught early in pilot training. If stalls are such a big problem, could training later in a pilot’s career using simulators better prepare pilots to get out of a stall or impending stall?
China is facing a chronic shortage of pilots to fly its growing fleet of business aircraft. Moderating an ABACE show seminar on crew training in Shanghai yesterday, consultant Christopher Jackson said the current backlog of orders from China indicates a need for an additional 500 to 1,000 private aviation pilots. He said operators in China typically need a ratio of five pilots per aircraft.
For flight academies training the next crop of Chinese pilots, a flight simulator or training device can make the training process much more efficient and effective. Simulator manufacturer Frasca International is here at ABACE 2012 (Booth H509) to promote simulators and flight-training devices for flight-training organizations, and to add to the more than 20 Frasca devices already in use in China. The next five to 10 years will see rapid growth of aviation in China, said Niu Tao, Frasca’s chief representative for China. Tao is based in Frasca’s office in Beijing.
Last month FlightSafety International and Gulfstream Aerospace opened a new learning center in Hong Kong to serve Asian operators of the G450 and G550 jets. Equipped with a G550 level-D-qualified full-flight simulator that is convertible to a G450, the new facility expects to provide 250 “training events” this year, according to David Davenport, manager of FlightSafety’s Savannah learning center, a key player in defining the Hong Kong facility and its responsible manager now that it is up and running.
The 1,500-hour flight-time requirement for new pilots needs modification, despite the good work that produced HR 5900, the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 in which the revised requirement is included.
The training requirements for a commercial pilot certificate in the U.S. don’t prepare aviators for the real world of airline operations, according to a report released in March by the GAO. Flight training also does not emphasize the skills required of young aviators hired by the regional airlines, often their first airline job.