It's good to report it has been a busy time, with our Global Airline Training & Simulation - Virtual event taking off in November. CAT Editor-in-Chief Rick Adams, FRAeS, picks out his highlights from the three-day event and discusses why he feels positive about the future.
In my closing remarks for the Global Airline Training & Simulation - Virtual conference a few days ago, I said it feels more like a beginning, that we’re near a turning point, and I’m energized for the future. I hope you have the same reaction to the pieces of positive news we’re hearing.
If you enrolled for the conference, you can access the more than 50 recorded presentations (including Q&As) via the link you were provided for the live three-day event. If you didn’t yet sign up, you can still register. After 12 December, the sessions will be available for our Premium website subscribers.
Contrary to the unfortunate BALPA advice that young people should abandon their dreams of becoming pilots, there’s plenty of evidence that commercial aviation will indeed need the next generation. CAE’s revised Pilot Demand Outlook, released at the Global ATS-V conference, is only slightly changed from previous iterations, and expects the active pilot population to return to 2019 levels by 2022 (about the time today’s new cadets will be ready to fly). Boeing’s market outlook shows aircraft sales off about 11% over the next decade, but still a need for nearly 2.4 million new aviation personnel between now and 2039.
Certainly flight training organisations are forging ahead. BAA Training has ordered multiple FTDs from L3Harris to go with an order of multiple FFSs earlier in the year. Alpha Aviation’s new simulator centre was inaugurated near Sharjah airport in the UAE. And, thanks to Resilient Pilot and HATCO liaising, the UK CAA issued a statement clarifying “that applicants who have completed the MPL course, including the associated skill test, do have an option available to apply for an MPL licence without completing the base training.”
MAX Go, MAX No
The FAA is clearing the runway for the Boeing 737 MAX return to service, and the onus is now on the airlines to implement the revised pilot training curriculum – including simulator training – and prepare the modified aircraft for re-certification. But EASA said not so fast, finding that “sufficient reason exists to require certain additional actions.” The troubled MAX history was described in Robert Moorman’s CAT feature earlier this year and my companion piece on What's Next for MAX training.
Prepare to hear a couple of newish phrases with more frequency: “security culture” and “eVTOL.” The technical cooperation and training arm of the UK regulator, CAA International, has been awarded City & Guilds Assured status for its Aviation Security training programmes. And in Central Florida, the City of Orlando, Tavistock, and all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft developer Lilium are planning the US’ first urban/suburban low-altitude “air mobility network” for both cargo and passengers. For those of us who grew up watching “The Jetsons” flying cars, it’s about time.
Most readers will recognise the pilot next to the priest (Charles Lindbergh), and some know the guy on the right is Edwin Link, inventor of the first practical flight trainer, aka the “Blue Box.” The guy in the middle is my great uncle and namesake, Richard Bennett, who created the first airport in Binghamton, New York, where he taught Link how to fly.