A View from the Flight Deck

When do we start flying again? With British Airways announcing up the 12,000 job cuts Air and Business Travel News (BTN) has been looking at the situation regarding pilots. British Airways employs 4,749 pilots, easyJet UK just less than 2,400, Jet2 about 1,300.

Jeremy Feldman is a captain for a large UK airline flying the Airbus A320 (see above). He is also an editor of the pilot union newspaper BALPA.

In BTN he summed up the position.

“Airline pilots have a difficult job to manage at the best of times. In these unusual circumstances pilots will have to put aside their concerns whilst at work, to be focused and concentrate on the tasks at hand. Unfortunately, getting an airline back to an operating schedule is not as simple as suspending one. In order to bring an airline back up to speed, one of the big factors to consider is crew training, specifically pilots who must be keep ‘current’.

One of the requirements for short-haul airline pilots is they must have carried out six take-offs and landings within the preceding 45 days.

Operating a full motion simulator is expensive and so the airline has to balance when to schedule the training sessions. Too early, and the pilot’s 45-day currency may expire. Too late, and they won’t have air crew to operate the flying schedule as required.

Due to the many complexities of operating a large aircraft, pilots are required to undertake a Licence Skills Test (LST) annually. In addition, the airline operator is required to provide a training programme in which the operator will train and assess the pilot, to the operator’s own company standard. This is also an annual check, and so typically a pilot will undertake training and assessments every six months, usually in a full motion simulator.

Professional pilots are also required to pass a medical examination including, but not limited to, an assessment on the pilot’s hearing, eyesight, cardiovascular and overall mental health. The health check may require an ECG and detailed hearing analysis to be carried out periodically.

Due to the present COVID-19 situation, it has been very difficult to continue to revalidate type ratings and medical certificates. Arguably, sitting in a small simulator less than 2m from colleagues is not considered essential work. It’s still on the banned list”. For the full article see HERE

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