There are over 300 type rating training organisations (TRTOs) for fixed-wing and rotary business aircraft in Europe and the Middle East, and many of these also offer recurrent training and specialist courses. In a special series of features EBAN examines the issues, the range of training provision and how it meet today's needs, and reports the views of trainers and operators.
EBAN has talked to a variety of providers including FlightSafety, CAE, Global Air Training, the Bristow Academy, AernonautX, Severn Aviation and Veritair Aviation; manufacturers including Bombardier and Grob; and ascertained the requirements and views of charter operators. This issue highlights concerns about EASA's latest proposals, details the approach of one of the region's largest employers of private aviation pilots, NetJets, and looks at the timely expansion of Learjet training in Europe by CAE and Bombardier. Part II in September examines how TRTOs have to plan well in advance, manage complex logistics and keep updating provisions if key staff are to be available when needed.
Flight training organisations have warned that proposed new licensing rules will add to costs for non-EU companies operating in Europe, but believe this is unlikely to influence the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The agency told EBAN: "We have received feedback from stakeholders that our proposals would represent an additional cost for training organisations outside of Europe. Cost is an important factor in the aviation training business, as with all types of activity, and we take it into account when evaluating the impact of our requirements. However our proposals are primarily based on safety evidence, and on the basic regulation and legal principles of European law."
EASA adds: "Our proposed rules do not prevent a training organ-isation based outside of Europe from providing training for European licence holders, as long as they comply with the same requirements that European-based training organisations have to comply with."
There is a reliance on some training in the U.S. because of more predictable weather patterns and the greater availability of advanced or specialised training facilities. However, some trainers and manufacturers are, in any case, increasing provision in Europe where the sales of new aircraft are rising in many cases much faster than in the U.S.
CAE and Bombardier Aerospace are thinking ahead to the autumn of 2009 as they expand their authorised training provider agreement to include Learjet 40 and 40XR and Learjet 45 and 45XR aircraft for European customers. The original agreement announced in June 2007 named CAE as Bombardier's authorised training provider to provide pilot and technical training for the Global Express, 5000 and XRS and the Challenger 300.
"To address growing demand, CAE will build and deploy a new Learjet 40 and 40XR and Learjet 45 and 45XR aircraft full-flight simulator (FFS) to the CAE Burgess Hill Training Centre in the U.K. and a Challenger 300 aircraft FFS in Europe in the autumn of 2009," says Jeff Roberts, CAE's group president, innovation and civil training & services. The exact location of the European facility is to be determined. "This marks the first time that training programs for these aircraft types will be available in Europe," he adds. "The new simulator and training programs will be deployed in Europe at a location designed to bring CAE's training network closer to the customer."
CAE, which employs around 6,000 at more than 75 sites and training locations in 20 countries, says it is increasing its training programs worldwide to address 90 per cent of all business aviation aircraft and cover all major OEMs.
In 2006, NetJets Europe launched a cadet programme in partnership with Oxford Aviation Training (OAT) which also trains pilots for international airlines. The programme is tailored to European cadet pilots and will provide NetJets Europe with some direct entry first officers. The first group of cadets will join NetJets Europe late this year. The company says: "New pilots are trained by OAT to captain standard but join NetJets Europe as cadet first officers. Upon completion of the course, graduates complete the same training as all new entry pilots."
Robert Dranitzke, director NetJets Europe, says there have been no cutbacks in the company's numbers or scale in its training provision. "Some 150 new pilots are coming on stream this year and next year the numbers will be about the same. About 30 new aircraft will join our fleet this year and between 20 and 30 next year and in subsequent years so the emphasis is still very much on expansion. We think training in Europe is very strong but, if there is any lack, perhaps in terms of simulators, then we use facilities in the United States. We carry out training through FlightSafety which is improving facilities as required and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we achieve the very highest standards of flight safety."
NetJets Europe is still growing although economic conditions are making business slower than would be the case in favourable cycles. "We have not scaled back any of our plans but have seen a slight reduction in our flying traffic, particularly on the lifestyle side where people are still flying but perhaps a little bit less than before. The demand is still growing year-on-year but at a lesser rate than we expected."
Meanwhile the company "continues to have dialogue with EASA but like most other companies or parts of the industry, we will not conclude our response until the autumn," Dranitzke says.
Other companies, particularly those offering U.S.-based training in Europe, are also talking to EASA. These include the AirCare Solutions Group and emergency training operating company, FACTS Training. Dale G. Eldredge, director, sales and marketing, says FACTS brings a 25 year history of providing emergency procedures and safety programs to business jet operators throughout the world. "Our professional programs meet all applicable regulations for emergency procedures training as recommended or required under CFR Parts 91, 125, 135, JAR Ops 1, the CARS and IS-BAO standards," he adds.
The future direction of training in Europe will be strongly influenced by how EASA interprets the requirements of European law, implements the new rules, and on any progress which enables a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Europe.