Employee story - Charlie Bough, Instructor

by Charlie Bough on 10/04/2018

My name is Charlie Bough and have been with L3, for over 15 years, based at Southampton and Gatwick as a Trainer and Examiner on simulators.

Flying began at age 13 with the RAF Air Cadets in Chipmunks at RAF Manston in Kent, RAF Flying Scholarship at TG Aviation also at Manston. I then went on to the BA cadet scheme at British Aerospace Flying College, back in 1990. Like many of my compatriots I found the ATPL (Airline Transport Licence) Ground School hard graft and lived for the days when I could escape the classroom for the skies - albeit probably grey skies above Ayrshire. The course was hard but the scenery was stunning and as a young adult fresh out of school I couldn’t believe my luck, the dream was going to come true.

I eventually joined BA on the B737 and B777 based at London Gatwick and Heathrow. Even though I left BA 16 years ago I still have a strong bond with my fellow trainees from the cadetship, only just recently we had a reunion back at Prestwick in Ayrshire, Scotland. I left BA after losing my medical to Type 1 Diabetes and in 2003 began with what was originally CTC now L3 CTS, training and examining on both B737 and A320.

When I first began with CTC back in 2003, I was the first pilot they employed with no training qualifications. A plan of my future was made on how we would progress me to becoming an SFI (Synthetic Flying Instructor) and thus my career with CTC/L3 began, I have a lot to thank Steve Billet for, one of the founders of CTC, who looked at a young potential with no experience and offered an opportunity of a new career. Many more young pilots who have lost their medicals have since joined, all bringing with them their experience for the cadets to benefit from. Over my training career I, like many others now, have continued to push myself and gain new qualifications as instructors and examiners, to the point where our qualifications are identical to those who still fly, albeit that we only train in simulators.

12 years ago I also qualified as a CRMI (Crew resource management instructor), teaching the Non-Technical skills to the pilots. Non-technical skills over the last 40 years has ensured that along with advancements in aircraft technology and simulator technology, that aviation remains the safest way to travel. In the late 1970’s the NTSB and United Airlines decided to tackle the accident rate by listening to cockpit voice recorders and gained an insight to why Human Factors were causing or exacerbating incidents into accidents. Major elements such as Communication, leadership, Teamwork, Decision Making, Workload management, Situation Awareness, Stress, Fatigue, Shock/Startle effect, Resilience, Human Information Processing, Cultural Awareness, Threat and Error management are all covered.

A practical understanding of these subjects help pilots remain calm and effective when the heat rises in the Flight deck.  In simplicity, any technical error made by a crew will have a non-technical background too, they are inseparable.

Therefore for a crew to be effective, they must not only have the right knowledge and skill, but they must also have the right attitude.

2 ½ years ago I took over the Crew Resource Management (CRM) management role and this year joined the Training Standards team. I am also Chairman of the catchy named; Flight Crew Human Factors Advisory panel, which meets quarterly to monitor changes in Human Factors regulation and when required help advise the UK CAA. We are currently looking at planning our next Human Factors conference to the Aviation Industry.

A highlight as an Instructor is to see your trainees succeed, having helped them in the right direction and see them take control of their own destiny. To watch them go on to do the job I loved, is exactly why I enjoy training.

Outside of work I volunteer for a Children’s charity called Heswall Disabled Children’s Holiday Fund (www.heswallcamp.org.uk) and we take approximately 35 children aged 8 to 16 on a week-long camp each year. We have taken the children flying twice from Liverpool John Lennon Airport with Aerobility, (www.aerobility.com) getting 35 children airborne in one day is a challenge in the normal UK weather, and something which we hope to do again very soon.