Developments in Training

by L3Harris on 10/04/2019

L3Harris’ Training Standards Captain, Peter Tholen, shares his thoughts on the changing need to train pilots for the unexpected:

"I am part of the training standards team working at our new London Training Center. My Previous experience is with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air 2000 and initial flying career in the RAF. At L3Harris my role is that of instructor and examiner on the A320, but I spend most of my working life involved with the evolution of training projects such as Evidence-Based Training, Competency-Based Training and Upset Prevention and Recovery Training. I also explore new innovative ways to help our customers achieve their training goals in a cost-effective manner.

The airline training requirements are changing as the aviation world undergoes a major change in light of the improving reliability of modern aircraft and the need to equip our customers with the knowledge, skills and attitude to counter the infinitely variable array of risks that are present in today’s commercial arena.

Trainees for years have been trained to counter a specific threat such as engine failure on take-off at the critical point. Accident/incident analysis shows the training organizations and regulatory authorities that modern pilots need to be equipped so they can confidently and competently deal with the unpredictable, being able to show resilience in the face of the unexpected. The modern cadet still needs to be able to manually fly an aircraft, but is also expected to be able to manage the operation whilst dealing with stresses, distractions and confusing (possibly contradictory) evidence.

L3Harris is able to offer our customers recurrent training programs that utilizes fleet and airline feedback to ensure that maximum benefit is gained from time spent training. This is done by the use of modern technologies and media to ensure that Key Learning Points are identified and presented in such a manner that the essential Knowledge, Skills and Attitude are retained by the crews."

With the roll out of UPRT, Harvey Bolshaw, Training Standards Captain, shares his insight on the changes taking place within Type Rating Instructor courses:

"I have 24 years flying experience for a major airline on the B737, B777 and finally as a Training Captain on the A318-A321 series. Having joined L3Harris in 2016, I now have responsibility for the standard of instruction by our pool of Type Rating Instructors. This involves delivering standardization training days and conducting annual standards check. I am also Chief TRES tutor, having responsibility for the content and running of our Examiner Standardization courses. Instructor training also falls under my remit, with the future development of the Type Rating Instructor Course currently underway.

Recent history has shown us that loss of control in flight is currently the greatest threat to an aircraft. The changes being implemented are mainly to address the demand for better pilot training in this area, building resilience in our pilots, in order to prevent an Undesired Aircraft State or jet upset.

Part of my role is to ensure our all our training courses are kept up to date as the regulations continue to evolve. Part FCL app. 9 recently changed, with changes coming in to force from 20 December 2019. This effects what needs to be trained and checked during a Type Rating or MPL course. Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) has also been regulated to specify what needs to be trained for these courses and the new regulation also specifies the knowledge and abilities an instructor must have to be able to train UPRT. The TRI Course has been updated to ensure our course covers this training.

If you ask any instructor, they will probably tell you that the TRI course is the most demanding course they have ever undertaken. Our course takes a building block approach, taking you through step-by-step, supported by our highly experienced and dedicated TRI tutors. We recommend all applicants for the course, come and visit us first, where we will discuss the best preparation techniques for each individual, having assessed their knowledge and abilities. We believe our TRI course provides new instructors with the best foundations to develop into the excellent instructors of tomorrow."

We aim to provide training that remains with the pilot after they go on to join an airline. Our MCC and CRM Training Manager, Charlie Bough, explains how we prepare our cadets for the career in an airline:

"I’ve been with L3Harris for 15 years, working in airline training while being qualified to instruct and examine on the A320 and A330. I am a part of the Training Delivery Management Team with responsibility for the delivery of A320 and A330 Type Rating and recurrent training to pilots from multiple major airlines. Often dividing my time between the Southampton and London Training Centers, I liaise with those airlines to ensure that the trainees have the resources they need to achieve their highest potential. Furthermore, ensuring that instructors are delivering training to the high standards that we all expect. Prior to that, I spent 14 years flying the A320 and B777 for British Airways.

One of the major advancements in pilot training in recent times has been the development of the Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL) course. On this type of course, the trainee spends less time training in small, 2 to 4 seater, aircraft and much more time in the simulator of the aircraft they are going to end up on. That is 54 x 4 hour sessions in the A320 simulator vs 12 x 4 hour sessions that would be completed on a more typical Type Rating course. By the end of the MPL course, the airlines find that the trainees are much more comfortable handling the aircraft and have greater confidence and capacity to operate in the airline environment. This tends to allow the trainee to progress through training with the airline much faster.

One point of difference from other training providers is that we communicate closely with the individual airlines and deliver training using their manuals and procedures, rather than just delivering a ‘generic’ aircraft course. This helps the trainees significantly, supporting them to develop a clear understanding of the way their airline works resulting in a smoother transition once they begin Line Training, an incredibly challenging and busy stage of training. For the airlines, they have the benefit of a pilot who is already 95% comfortable with their procedures and therefore has more capacity to progress through training more quickly."

At L3Harris, we work to provide ‘airline ready’ pilots. Training Delivery Manager, Jeremy Hill, discusses the development of the MPL course and the value it can bring in preparing cadets for their careers at the airlines:

"I started my commercial career on a Boeing-737 at London Gatwick and a Boeing-777 at London Gatwick/Heathrow with British Airways. A medical issue caused a change in direction for my career, starting my time with CTC 16 years ago, now L3Harris. I train a variety of courses including CRM, MCC, MPL and Type Ratings as SFI/SFE on B737 and A320. Earlier this year I began managing the MCC (Multi-Crew Cooperation) course, previously managing the CRM courses for nearly four years. The two roles definitely complement each other and it is a privilege to listen to and help our trainees as they progress from their multi-engine IR phase through to their jet orientation on our B737 and A320 simulators.

We are currently finishing our development of the new Enhanced MCC to APS (Airline Pilot Standard) which will incorporate Competencies rather than the Non-technical skills Framework or NOTECHS, these are the ICAO competencies by which pilots are assessed when they reach their airline. The course will also address manual handling issues at a much earlier phase, giving trainees more confidence to tackle the more complex problems in the MCC phase. The airline orientated phase of this course will give the trainees an insight into the life within an airline and provide a taste of what they have worked so hard for up until this point. It will stretch them but it should equally be as enjoyable and fulfilling.

Trainees will benefit from understanding how their non-technical skills affect their technical abilities, giving them, and their prospective airline, a pilot who is better prepared and fully understands the importance of the highest standards of Knowledge/Skill and Attitude (KSA). They will understand why they need to work hard together to achieve the standards set and then why they should maintain those KSAs throughout their career.

I believe our instructors make the difference on the MCC, they are carefully selected, trained and standardized to ensure our trainees receive clear, informative training. Our instructors are encouraged to train on other courses, bringing their skills to our MCC, many are therefore MPLI or SFI/SFE and TRI/TRE. A high percentage of our instructors are current airline pilots, including some of our own graduates who have been through this very course themselves, have gone onto their own careers and now want to give something back. This is a great testament to the time they enjoyed with us and a compliment to the training they received. All our instructors, whether it is on the MCC or any other courses, continue to be regularly assessed and standardized, setting and maintaining our high standards for the trainees and for the airlines to trust."