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Pilot training and recurrency issues

Aerospace
COVID 19 Coronavirus

By Alex Trotter | June 11, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted operators’ training and the efforts by the insurance industry to ensure obligations are met.

Sending a pilot to a simulator based recurrency provider such as Flight Safety or CAE can be a challenge in and of itself, firstly finding an adequate slot time, and secondly taking that pilot out of rotation during this training. With regular line and operator proficiency checks, including usage of FSTD’s (flight simulator training devices), required throughout the year to remain current, COVID-19 has put a further strain on scheduling such training.

The CAA on behalf of EASA may provide recurrency training exemptions to AOC holders that cannot meet their regulatory obligations

The CAA on behalf of EASA may provide recurrency training exemptions to AOC holders that cannot meet their regulatory obligations, however a ‘safety case’ may be required by both the regulators and insurers alike. This will need to outline how safety standards are being maintained by alternative means, as delaying training simply due to COVID-19 may not be sufficient. These safety cases may require slight adjustments to operations manuals and procedures, such as:

  • Increasing the number of ‘in aircraft’ sectors pilots undertake with their line captain
  • Ensuring pilots log flight time in the aircraft more regularly. For example, every 14 days as opposed to every 28 days
  • Increasing the use of training app’s, and making computer-based tools more readily available to pilots
  • Creating individual pilot matrix’s that refer to the expiring training certificates, as well as flight data records, to evidence that there are no clear or recurring issues
  • Increasing training captains’ availability and flexibility to students around the world

From an insurance perspective, insurers will look for operators to advise them of which individual pilots will not meet the recurrency training warranties in force in their policies, as well as provide an insight into their safety cases to observe the alternative safety and training measures put in place. Incremental extensions to the training warranties may then be considered.

How safety managers adapt their procedures, including the approaches to training, will be vital to the success and safety of operations

A general lack of flying, as well as more bespoke operations taking place, i.e. Adjusting from passenger to cargo operations, flying new routes and seeking new contracts, are just a few of the challenges operators face in todays general aviation environment. How safety managers adapt their procedures, including the approaches to training, will be vital to the success and safety of operations during this period.

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Executive Director, Corporate Aviation

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