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Leading Edge: Taking the lead

Safety, innovation and establishing new partnerships to solve ongoing challenges are the cornerstones of what makes aviation so great. And it’s precisely why I’m always impressed when OEMs, operators and aerospace and aviation companies extend themselves and make collaborative attempts to address NextGen challenges both here in Canada and on a global scale.


May 5, 2015
By Matt Nicholls

An April announcement by Airbus and FlightSafety International to provide “ab-initio” training to aspiring pilots at the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Fla., is one such initiative. The three-year deal between two great aviation leaders is meant to help address the worldwide demand for new pilots and provide a heightened level of safety in commercial aviation.

And while a recent report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveals that 2014 was one of the safest on record for global commercial airlines (see, On the Fly, page 8), collaborations like these go a long way in solidifying a strong safety culture.

Under the terms of this agreement, courses and programs will be aimed at First Officers, Multi-Crew Pilot (MPL) and specifically in the North America Airline Transport Pilot-Certified Training Program (ATP-CTP). FlightSafety and Airbus will offer candidates the opportunity to be trained in Florida, from those with no prior flight time all the way up to a qualified A320 first officer. FlightSafety’s role will be to train candidates to be qualified pilots, while Airbus will train them to be qualified as pilots specifically on Airbus equipment.

FlightSafety International certainly knows a thing or two about preparing pilots for the roles as commercial pilots. The company operates the largest fleet of flight simulators in the world and has learning and training centres in 11 countries.

It provides more than a million hours of training each year to pilots, technicians and other safety personnel from more than 167 countries.

The 110,000-square-foot Miami training facility is indeed impressive, boasting six full flight simulators, cabin door and slide trainers, state-of-the-art computer-based training classrooms and six flight training devices for the A320, A330, and A340 aircraft. Some 2,000 trainees from Airbus airline operators in the U.S, Canada and Latin American take courses here every year under the direction of top instructors.

At Wings and Helicopters magazines, we, too, recognize the value of collaborative partnerships to help drive change. We are also taking a leadership role to help educate and drive innovation and safety in aviation and aerospace, albeit on a different level than this key partnership.

Our Careers in Aviation Expos in Hamilton, Ottawa and Calgary held this spring (www.careersinaviation.ca/expo/) helped ignite the passions of high school and college students who are setting their sights on aviation and aerospace careers.

These day-long events bring together top leaders in a variety of aviation and aerospace professions to give students a chance to see what different aviation careers are all about – and help forge their path for future development. Key industry partners joined us in supporting the events, but we certainly can’t do it alone – much more industry involvement on all levels is needed to educate and help cultivate more young adults and ensure generation next is ready to fill future employment needs.

The CIA Expos are certainly not on the same educational and training level as the Airbus/FlightSafety collaboration, but they underscore how corporate leadership can drive innovation, development and ultimately, a safer working environment for aviation and aerospace.

As corporate citizens in the aviation and aerospace communities, it’s incumbent upon all of us to cultivate relationships and drive change – the future of our industry depends on it.


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