April 15th, 2021.
Consuelo Arto –Expert in Pilot Training – Technical Department Sepla
In addition to having a current type rating, a pilot must perform a minimum of three landings and three take-offs every 90 days. This is known as “recent experience” and, without it, pilots cannot operate an aircraft. If they do not have this experience in the air, they must go to a simulator before returning to the controls.
The paralysis of air traffic due to covid19 has complicated, and continues to complicate, the renewal of pilots’ flight licenses. The outbreak of the coronavirus has prevented thousands of pilots from flying on a regular basis and thus exercising their skills, i.e. their operational flying knowledge. The ban on mobility decreed during the first State of Alarm also prevented pilots from being able to travel to the training centres in order to maintain their skills.
Now, with flying reduced to a minimum, pilot training organizations (ATOS) are playing a key role as it is up to them to maintain pilot competence levels so that pilots are available and ready to fly again.
However, the difficult economic situation that pilots are going through – most of them are still in ERTE – and the high prices of simulators and training centres have been an impediment to contracting these essential services to maintain competencies.
To help with this problem, Sepla offers the Ready to fly program, which offers training programs from different ATOS schools at more affordable prices, so that pilots can keep their skills up to date in a more economical manner. All this without forgetting the enormous possibilities offered by online training.
Virtual training and automation will play a key role in an eminently technological future. To reconcile training needs with this future, the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency has authorized online training on an ad hoc basis. In this way, ATOSs have been able to continue to offer training courses during the various confinements. Some ATOS, in collaboration with the aviation authorities, are incorporating in their training offer a greater number of e-learning courses, among which stand out the type rating courses, recurrent and familiarization training, or refresh courses, etc. Face-to-face sessions in simulators cannot be compared to or be replaced by online sessions, and such face-to-face practices will be resumed in accordance with the health measures established by the authorities.
Meanwhile, vaccination allows us to face the immediate future with moderate hope. European airlines have announced their intention to start operating again with a certain degree of normality, fliying again with a small part of their fleet. This will mean a great effort for the whole collective in order to be able to meet the expectations that the market requires.
Restarting air operations after a period of minimal activity requires being aware that, in addition to the regulatory requirements in terms of maintaining type ratings and competencies, pilots must prepare themselves to fly again while maintaining safety standards that require the effort of pilots and operators.
Therefore, Sepla is concerned about the needs not only of pilots, but also of the industry, and we are working on maintaining the skills of our pilots to be ready to face this new situation.
By visiting our website www.sepla.es, you can consult the different ATOS that collaborate with SEPLA’s “Ready to fly” project and choose the plan that best suits your needs.
We will fly together again.