The key to shaping the market is not just to understand what is presently happening in the aviation training market but, importantly, to recognise and predict the future trends.
At Simnest Aviation, based in Budapest, Hungary, this simulator manufacturer and its training organisation - Simnest Pilot Academy - keeps its finger on the pulse of the training world. Miklós Kacsó, CEO of Simnest Aviation, has tracked the present trends and preferences for training devices and is clear that at the end of the training route – the airlines – there is the need to have the smoothest transition from recently-qualified pilots to become effective operational crews who are cockpit-ready.
Pictured Left: Miklós Kacsó, CEO of Simnest Aviation
In large part this means that the final task for most ATOs is to complete a course based on the EASA requirements of MCC, best delivered through the APS MCC training. Miklós emphasises that this provides seamless training to lead pilots into the full Type Rating training. With such an end in mind it is increasingly evident that, whilst adequate training can be presented using a generic FNPT II, the airlines much prefer that the APS MCC is carried out on a specific type. When recruiting many of them give preference to those graduates who followed this type-specific path. Naturally the use of a device tightly modelled on the aircraft retains the same validity for training as a non-type specific generic device has, so that does not impact on the generic training package when required. With these considerations in mind, Simnest is continuing to furnish its main product – the A320 FNPT II APS MCC – for both type and generic training. For even greater authenticity this FNPT II features original aircraft parts including sidestick, seats and is subject to a process of continual improvement.
The challenge is to convince ATOs of the undoubted additional training value of these characteristics, but the harsh reality of the current world situation is that, whilst airlines are recruiting very strongly, ATOs are cautious in making investments in new equipment until they have more confidence in continuing demand, and under present regulations there is no additional training credit for the use of type-specific FNPT IIs. What is needed is a clear indication from airlines that such training as seen as a significant benefit, and that by means of current and comprehensive feedback.
One such example of an airline’s experience is from György Tóth.
György Tóth, former Head of Training at Wizzair and Wizzair ATO: "Even after cadets have successfully finished their MCC training they have a lot to learn, a lot to practise during their type rating. In case they have been trained on a general device their knowledge is also general so they have to learn a lot to fall into line with the characteristics of the aircraft they are going to fly. This is why conducting MCC on a type specific device is an enormous benefit for the cadet and the airline as well. The cadets will pass their type rating with confidence, with solid knowledge and skills perfectly ready for their next step which should be a goal to the airline as well, besides the advantage cost-wise."
The use of a type specific device increases the range of options available to the ATOs and the airlines, as these devices are perfect tools for airline screening, assessment training and even for recruitment courses. Simnest is very happy to see this, and to encourage these initiatives, which were designed into the simulators from the start and which enable the industry to adopt additional capabilities. This creates more opportunity for ATOs and airlines to work together in a cost-effective way. Consequently they can be confident that they can recruit well-trained cadets from these ATOs. A generic device would simply not be able to do this. A great example for this cooperation is Skywings Flight Training in Belgium:
Cliff Cop, CEO of Skywings Flight Training, pilot and trainer for A330: "Besides providing high-level APS MCC training for the cadets they can benefit from on the long run, a type specific device can be a huge asset to the ATO as well, opening up new possibilities. We are successfully working together with airlines who are conducting airline screenings and recruitment courses on our simulator which wouldn’t be possible on a generic device. This cooperation also enables airlines to freshly recruit well-trained pilots from our flight school."
As a manufacturer Simnest Aviation can not only provide the hardware but, through the benefit of having their own ATO, the Simnest Pilot Academy, with its current and experienced instructors, they can provide a full range of support documents, ranging from Safety Manuals, Ops Manuals and Training Manuals, all of which conform to EASA requirements. Instructor training packages support the devices and in fact so comprehensive are these manuals that customers most often request them as a package in addition to the device.
Image credit: Simnest Aviation
This philosophy has also been picked up by future and current student pilots. Increasingly the ab initio route selected by new entries is the integrated pattern, and this often comes the desire to aim for employment at a particular airline, and that, naturally, leads to an early identification of the likely eventual aircraft type. Optimising the training to achieve that goal means that access to as much type – specific familiarisation en-route is the preferred route, and has the consequence of making those ATOs which have such devices more attractive as training providers.
Miklós is delighted to see the results which their comprehensive training package and device has achieved. In sharing that success with ATOs and airlines he believes that it is an opportunity for them to rethink what training devices provide the training effectiveness and best value and to become one of the Simnest family.
A final judgement on the Simnest solution comes from an important source - successful and happy graduate, one from the many:
Cristian P.: "I feel so fortunate to have been placed in your training center during my JOC/MCC combined courses. This was the best part of my entire flight training and I'm extremely glad that I could have the chance to do my very last part of the training here.
"The simulator is based on the A320, an amazing machine. You will get used to flying with the fly-by-wire system, be familiar with the A320 cockpit philosophy, and many more. Apart from the real feelings and motions, you will experience the same flight deck environment as in a real jetliner.
All the flight instructors are very friendly, highly experienced (currently being Senior First Officers, Captains) and extremely patient with you for every question you might have. You will constantly get feedback after the sessions from them, a fact that highly improves your performance throughout the training. If you want to join an airline company, just attend this course here!!!!"
Further information about Simnest Aviation can be accessed here.