Jörg Schönfeld, Senior Director Pilot Training at Lufthansa Aviation Training, is presently deeply involved with his team in adjusting to the new challenges in training. The role of LAT is to deliver the training as required by a range of airlines – around half of them are customers outside the Lufthansa Group.

That tasking falls into two categories: the first is how to resume type-rating training that was interrupted during the shutdown; secondly, how to define refresher training as airlines start up again and in close coordination with the respective flight operations regarding their individual requirements and needs.

In all cases the training has to conform to EASA and LBA (German Civil Aviation Authority Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) regulation, but in this new environment that in itself needs to be re-thought. Schönfeld is keen to point out that a process of interactive discussion and close cooperation is working its way through the issues so that appropriate training can be completed as commercial passenger flights pick up again (cargo operations have, of course, kept going and even increased).

With no specific regulation covering interrupted type-rating training, LAT has used the data from the partially completed training to define what unregulated extra refresher pilot training needs to be carried out before continuing the formal syllabus. Depending on the individual’s track record and performance (background of aircraft types, overall experience, etc) a series of 1-3 extra sessions can be used to bring the trainee back up to their previous level. That can be done without any regulatory imperative and is left to LAT to decide what is necessary – big data is your friend here, when it comes to tailor-made training setups.

As for re-initiating currency – there are, of course, mandatory requirements. For instance, three landings in the past 90 days. The unique nature of present circumstances does require a little more reflection, and the individual airlines are considering which crews need to get trained first (usually TRIs and TREs), and what training in particular should be the focus. Once again the data helps, and the pattern emerging (but not yet definitive), is based on an individual airline’s operational risk assessments. The pilot would have three days of restart training, beginning with a CBT online course from home to top up theory with the emphasis on operating normal and abnormal procedures, followed by time in the FFS before completing a formal OPC and Line Training. Each airline will set out training – addressing, for example, specific route or airport challenges in its network.

The other looming challenge is in upgrading FFSs to incorporate software for UPRT. With the various lockdowns, engineers have not been able to travel and implement this change, so there will be a lag in bringing all devices up to the required level. LTA has 12 training centres in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the United States with more than 50 full-flight simulators.

In summary, the situation is still fluid as solutions are considered and implemented. Early results will influence the evolution of training until “normal” training can resume. The key, according to Schönfeld, is to remain flexible and build up experience.

Part of CAT Magazine's Restarting The Engines series.