Boeing has announced that it is to consolidate its flight training capabilities in North America. Chris Long reports.
The Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook is essential reading for those in the global civil aviation training industry. The detailed breakdown of demand and regional trends helps major players to formulate plans for addressing that training task. It is no surprise, then, to see that Boeing Flight Services is one of the first to apply that understanding of the market.
In an exclusive interview with CAT Magazine, Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services, explained that there will be a re-orientation of the training delivered by Boeing. The aim is to make training available closer to the customer, and with 70% of new Boeing Commercial Aircraft going to export, the centre of gravity of training within the US has to move to a centre accessible to those customers. Miami has the attraction that it is a well-established major hub for customers based in the Americas and the Middle East. Importantly, there is already a significant Boeing training facility in place. Training there would thus result in minimum disruption to the customers, a critical design objective.
A natural consequence of the present slowdown in training for the Boeing 787 is that, if such a move of training capability were to be planned, now is the time to do it. Carbary has therefore launched the transfer of major assets from Seattle to Miami, including two B787 training suites and a cabin emergency evacuation trainer, with FFSs for other types to follow.
At present the Miami facility has 11 FFSs installed, with a further nine bays available. The expanded training facility will have the capability of providing pilot training for all the major Boeing types as well as A320, and cabin crew training for selected types will also be available. Maintenance training will still be delivered at the Seattle base. 787 maintenance training will be offered at Seattle as well as Miami.
The speed with which this build up will happen is impressive – the new capabilities are planned to be fully installed and operational at the latest by Q1 2014. As part of that process, Lenny Genna, president of L-3 Link Simulation & Training, is delighted to be involved in the move of the high-visibility 787 devices, and says that his team is already engaged in the breakdown of the first 787 FFS, with the second one to follow shortly. The L3 team leader for this move, Mark Gasson, vice president, L-3 Link Simulation & Training UK, indicates that the 13-member team is scheduled to complete the transfer and see the devices through their approval ready for operation by the end of July 2013. That approval will include for the first time an upgrade to full Level D classification
Carbary stresses that the design of training and managing of the services will remain alongside the manufacture in Seattle; that way the close ties with aircraft design, modification and testing will continue. As a result, the move will only impact about 100 people who are presently in the Northwest, with new hires if required, going straight to Miami.
This move will allow an enhanced facility to take its place alongside 18 other Boeing-run global training centres; some indication of the rate of investment in training at Boeing is that over the last three years the number of its own instructors has nearly doubled to 600. The aim is not only to increase the amount of training capacity, but, when matched with the re-designed training tools and methodologies, the quality of the training will also continue its upward trend. A further boost to quality is that courses which offer training over and above minimum regulatory requirements can made available, tailored to the specific customer demands. Boeing is playing its part in answering the global training challenge.