The Russian – Western European Pilot Training Data Analysis launched at European Airline Training Symposium 2011 (EATS 2011) by BAA Training, states that 85% of 150 pilots retrained from Russian to Western European aircraft types in BAA during 2011, needed additional focus on Western approach for the teamwork in the cockpit. This might come as a surprise, given the fact that the majority of pilots trained in the monitoring period operated in flight crew  of 3-4 person in Russian aircraft cockpits, compared to two-person flight crew in Western aircrafts, such as Airbus or Boeing.
More than  half (55%) training instructors reported exposure to defining standard operations, divided between 2 equally responsible cockpit members, “Pilot Flying” (PF) and “Pilot Not Flying” (PNF). The majority of training adaptations arise from the hierarchy leadership procedures in the Eastern aircraft training models, compared to the two roles of Western PF/PNF duties, normally to be shared so that both cockpit members undertake PF and the PNF during a particular flight.

“The most challenging aircraft type for Russian–Western aircraft conversion trainings is Tu-154, as its flight crew ranges from 3 to 5 members in the cockpit, including captain, first officer, navigator and air-mechanic, compared to the two-person Western flight crew carrying out standard equally shared procedures. It would be best if the Western aviation training centres, conducting conversion trainings to pilots from CIS region, would be familiar with the procedures in the Russian aircrafts, best of all, having practise of moving from one to another themselves”, stated Vytautas Stankevicius, Head of Training at BAA Training.

In addition to different approach to teamwork in the cockpit, the analysis pointed out different
cockpit parts and instruments (such as Autopilot, FMS, Artificial horizon) and requirements from the airlines for a pilot to have a higher education degree.  Those are all important issues to take into consideration during the Russian-Western aircraft types conversion training.

45% of training instructors surveyed have stated that Russian pilots have a strong background of technical knowledge, see a broader view and are able to make fast calculations due to their formal higher education, while Western pilots are basically being taught to operate the aircraft according to standard operations in their 2-3 years occupational training.

“Eastern and Western aviation training ideologies have significant differences. However, these should not be stated as disadvantages, but more as the opportunities. Aviation differences in Russian speaking countries should be taken into the account to adopt their best practise as well as slightly adapting their training programs to make the training process faster and more efficient“, said Egle Vaitkeviciute, Chief Executive Officer at BAA Training.

Together with corporate clients and 10 training instructors, BAA Training has emphasized key factors to enhance the conversion training programs for Russian pilots. Main proposals include: Instrument Rating (IR) before the type rating training (80% of instructors surveyed), additional Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC) course (80%), additional slots in the Full Flight Simulator (FFS) (40% of instructors surveyed) to quicker acquire aircraft differences and two-person crew cockpit procedures.

Data revealed by the analysis of 150 conversion pilots, trained by 10 type rating instructors, was presented in European Airline Training Symposium 2011 (EATS) held on 8-9th of November in Prague (Czech Republic). Furthermore, BAA Training’s presentation in European Cabin Crew Safety Conference “Cabin Crew Competence Development. Language Issues“, held on November 1-3rd in Frankfurt (Germany), showed that Aviation English is the main issue to put additional focus for the non-English speaking cabin crew training.

According to Boeing’s Current Market Outlook for 2011-2030, over the upcoming 20 years Russia and CIS will require around 1060 new aircrafts. Rosaviatsiya, The Federal Air Transport Agency in Russia, reveals that the country needs at least 700-800 pilots a year. Currently there are around 10.000 commercial pilots in Russia, but an estimated 1000 retire every year or go overseas to work, stated Federal Air Transport Agency, responsible for air transportation in Russia.

BAA Training is focused on continuous improvement of the flight crew and cabin crew training programs specializing in the Eastern to Western conversion trainings.

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