the need for advancements in training never ends
October 24, 2019
The on-going growth in demand for business aircraft training means that providers must expand their capacity and keep their training devices and courses up to date. LeRoy Cook scrutinizes the newest training innovations and approaches of leading providers
Aviation training providers walk a perpetual treadmill of advancement, as new developments in the business flying industry demand continual upgrading of the material presented. Our cockpits are not static; new avionics and equipment mean added training is needed to keep abreast of the changes such devices bring. Rules and procedures are likewise subject to change. With each training cycle, fresh material is to be expected.
To be sure, some things never seem to change. Whenever we enter the simulator, we can always expect to encounter a dial-a-disaster. But, wat better place to experience a crippled airplane’s handling and performance loss, and practice the procedures that guarantee our survival, than in simulated flight? Modern marvels of flight simulation have evolved with the environment they emulate and they now offer vastly increased capability. Gone are the old mechanical flight decks and darkened windows with pin-pricks of light for faux scenery.
Today’s flight simulators and the supporting training centers behind them have vastly enhanced the productivity of training experiences. Scheduled training is valuable time taken away from flying company trips. Initial and recurrent training is an important aspect of safety, to be sure, but one that has to be designed to make the most of the time available. To achieve this goal, organizations offering training courses are constantly seeking ways to streamline and improve the process.
Renowned training provider FlightSafety International has recently entered into a joint venture with TRU Simulation+Training, Textron’s in-house initial and recurrent training arm. This combining of forces advances FSI and TRU’s ability to serve Citation and King Air customers, in ways not possible before. Final details of the joint venture will take effect by year’s end.
FlightSafety International has announced that Dassault’s FalconEye HUDs (head-up display) have been installed in Falcon business jet simulators at its Learning Centers in Paris, Dallas and, most recently, Teterboro, New Jersey. The upgraded simulators and training courses provide pilots with information and training to fully utilize the FalconEye Combined Vision System HUD. The courses address normal and abnormal operations, operating procedures and limitations, applicable to all phases of flight.
The FalconEye HUD combines database-driven terrain mapping and actual thermal and low-light images into a single view. The camera displays a 40 by 30 degree field of view with 1280×1024 resolution, ensuring full coverage of the viewing area without tunnel vision effects.
Steve Gross, senior vice president, Commercial, said: “Incoporating the Dassault FalconEye HUD into our simulators for the Falcon 900LX, Falcon 2000LXS, Falcon 2000S and Falcon 8X highlights FlightSafety’s commitment to develop and deliver training programs that meet the current and upcoming requirements of our customers.”
Demonstrating further advancements, FlightSafety International began offering Enhanced Flight Vision System touchdown and rollout training for Gulfstream Aerospace aircraft in July, 2019. The training is applicable to G280, G450, G500, G550, G600 and G650 airplanes, meeting the FAA training requirements for operators who want to use EFVS in lieu of natural vision to descend below DA/DH or MDA. Completion of the course allows pilots to obtain FAA authorization to begin approaches when visibility is lower than the published approach minima. Also, the courses help pilots identify failures affecting EFVS capability, and then to apply appropriate contingency procedures.
Dann Runik, senior vice president, Operations, said: “The development of these courses highlights our commitment to provide training that will enable our customers to take full advantage of the approval Gulfstream has received for the Enhanced Flight Vision System for approaches all the way to touchdown and rollout.”
For pilots who fly Gulfstream G650, G550 and G280 aircraft, FlightSafety has developed an Advanced Rejected Takeoff Go/No-Go Recurrent course. In this course, pilots will encounter 13 new simulator scenarios, each requiring a decision by the crew to either continue or reject the takeoff. The course will also help to validate the operator’s takeoff briefings, by testing them against various airports, environmental conditions and aircraft weights. As Dann Runik states, “Our new Advanced Rejected Takeoff Go/No-Go Recurrent course is designed to review and reinforce the skills and lessons learned during the Initial course.”
As these new HUD, EFVS and Go/No-Go training offerings from FlightSafety show, training can never remain a static course of instruction and practice. Equipment and emphasis is constantly in evolution, requiring changes in curriculum and the simulator environment.
CAE, founded 72 years ago as Canadian Aviation Electronics, is the global leader in civil aviation training and associated markets, with more than 10,000 employees at 160 sites in 35 countries. The list is expanding, with CAE’s recent announcement of brand new training centers in Bangkok, Thailand and Gurugram, India, near New Delhi. The latter will be a joint venture with InterGlobe Enterprises.
Nick Leontidis, CAE’s group president for Civil Aviation Training Solutions, says: “These new training Centers will provide local training solutions to meet the growing needs of our customers in Asia. Asia is set to have the strongest demand for pilots over the next two decades, and CAE will be there to support growth in the region with the most comprehensive training solutions.”
As announced in a 21 May 2019 EBACE press release, CAE recently launched an electronic training and checking authorization (eTCA) to better manage booking requests for training centers dedicated to business aviation. Pilots may now book their training requests in a few simple clicks, using CAE’s eTCA digital solution. Initially available at the Amsterdam, London Burgess Hill and Dubai training centers, eTCA is being deployed to additional sites in the EASA network.
CAE is continuously rolling out integrated technologies and services to reduce the complexity of managing pilot training before, during and after full-flight simulator sessions. New digital solutions are improving the training experience at key customer interactions – from scheduling training events to preparing for ground school and simulator sessions.
Under the leadership of CAE’s President and CEO Marc Parent, the company has evolved from primarily being a builder of flight simulators into a provider of total training solutions, from ab initio pilot training to full career training for civil, airline and business needs. Currently, more than 220,000 crewmembers, including over 135,000 pilots, train with CAE each year. Further expanding its business aviation niche, CAE acquired Bombardier’s Business Aircraft Training enterprise in late 2018.
CAE forecasts, over the next ten years, that business aviation will require at least 10,000 additional pilots, to handle growth in deliveries of new aircraft and utilization of the existing fleet. This is in addition to the 40,000 replacement pilots that will be needed to take over due to retirements and other changes. This is because of a 4% attrition rate for pilots, as the average age of business jet pilots stands at nearly 50 years, and another 4% loss because of business pilots who are expected to move to airline cockpits. Compounding the problem, an additional 27,000 business aircraft will join the fleet by 2028, according to CAE.
The CAE Rise™ training system, introduced last year, enables the translation of simulator training data, giving invaluable insights for instructors and training managers. As recurrent training has evolved from prescriptive checklists to competency-based assessments, training providers are now leveraging new sources of line and training data. CAE says the CAE Rise system can arm instructors will the capability to provide objective assessments of pilot maneuvers in real time.
SIMCOM Aviation Training provides factory-authorized training for the Pilatus PC-12 series, Daher TBM series, Piper M-Class series, Mitsubishi MU-2 and One Aviation Eclipse. In addition, SIMCOM offers training in Beechjet 400A, Cessna Citation series, Dornier 328J, Falcon, Hawker, Learjet and Westwind jets, and Cessna Caravan and Conquest, Piper Cheyenne, Beech King, Jetstream, Saab 2000 and Turbo Commander turboprops. SIMCOM training centers are located in Orlando, Florida and Scottsdale and Glendale, Arizona in the USA, as well as Kirmington in the UK. The company’s 47 simulators are staffed with over 100 instructors, conducting 6,000 training events per year involving customers from more than 80 countries.
SIMCOM prides itself on small class sizes, allowing instructors to focus on the training needs of individual pilots. As the company puts it, “customers are encouraged to ask questions, learn new concepts and build their aviation knowledge and flying skills.”
As business aircraft operators retrofit their cockpits with new-generation avionics, they will require training in similar-equipped training devices. With the support of Daher and Garmin, SIMCOM recently upgraded its TBM 700 simulator in Orlando with a new Garmin G600 TXi PFD and dual GTN 750 GPS/NAV/COMM units. Features include synthetic vision, terrain awareness system and new weather radar. Training Center Manager John Warnk said: “A significant number of legacy TBM operators have already upgraded their aircraft with Garmin avionics. We are greatly enhancing the customer experience by giving pilots the opportunity to training using the same equipment they have in their aircraft.”
“We are proud of our 20+ year relationship with Daher as their exclusive training provider,” said Eric Hinson, SIMCOM’s president and CEO. “Daher and SIMCOM are committed to providing high quality training solutions to all TBM operators.” The updated TBM 700 simulator adds to the TBM 850 and TBM 930 simulators in Orlando and the new TBM 910 simulator in Scottsdale.
Acquisitions and Partnerships
As training providers seek better ways to deliver advanced programs, it is not uncommon to see partnerships formed between providers. As stated near the beginning, we saw this earlier this year when FlightSafety International and TRU Simulation +Training agreed to join hands, combining forces to serve Textron Aviation customers as FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training. TRU will supply new simulators for Textron Aviation aircraft, and FlightSafety will continue and expand its 40-plus year relationship with Textron customers.
As TRU’s President Gunnar Kleveland said: “This new venture will enhance our ability to service our growing customer base.” In reference to Textron’s introduction of new aircraft models, Kleveland added: “This joint venture will allow us to better address that demand.”
In October of 2018, SIMCOM’s parent, SIMCOM Holdings, Inc., announced an agreement to sell to private investment firm Directional Aviation Capital, perhaps best known for its OneSky Flight portfolio of private jet travel providers and the Nextant Aerospace private jet remanufacturing program. Kenn Ricci, Principal at Directional Aviation, said at the time: “With this acquisition, we can now provide access to one of the world’s most highly respected brands in our industry, one known for its state-of-the-art proprietary technology and advanced flight training capabilities. At the same time, we look forward to serving a growing market that is critical to the continued safe operation of aircraft around the globe.”
On 29 August, 2019, a strategic partnership was announced between CAE and Directional Aviation Capital, a joint venture that gives CAE a fifty-percent stake in SIMCOM Holdings, Inc. In addition, Directional Aviation Capital’s affiliated business aircraft operators, Flexjet, Flight Options, Flairjet, Sirio, Nextant Aerospace and Corporate Wings, will enter into a 15-year exclusive training services agreement with CAE and SIMCOM. These companies currently have an expanding fleet of about 175 aircraft.
Marc Parent, CAE’s President and CEO said: “We are very pleased that Directional Aviation has chosen CAE to be its training partner of choice. Our investment in SIMCOM is another step in the expansion of CAE’s business aviation training business that gives us access to a rapidly growing customer base as Directional Aviation affiliates’ exclusive training partner for the next 15 years.”
Eric Henson, president and CEO of SIMCOM, added: “We are extremely pleased to partner with CAE and leverage their industry-leading technology and training expertise to better serve our customers.”
The Future Appears To Be Limitless
The on-going growth in demand for business aircraft training means that providers of ab-initio, initial upgrade and recurrent training must expand their capacity, and they must keep their training devices and courses up to date to mirror developments in flight deck technology. As aging business aviation pilots approach retirement, and the fleet of corporate aircraft grows, there will be a never-ending need for more well-trained pilots. We can expect to see added training centers and expanded plant size at existing centers, in order to meet the demand.