Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Cockpit Career Update Part 2: Changes In Pilot Careers

Last month, we discussed how today may be the best time to prepare for an airline job. In this second part of our three-part series, we’ll show you the technological developments currently happening in the industry.

Cockpit Career Update Part 2: Changes In Pilot CareersUnited Air Lines recently put 100 aircraft on hold. But this isn’t an indication of pilot careers going down the tubes. On the contrary, it’s only indicative of the changes that are currently going on in the industry. While the major airlines are cutting down, the regional airlines are in full bloom. The routes that are run by major airlines with large airplanes and low load factors are being taken over by low-cost regional operators whose airplanes are almost always full." />

Similarly, MAPD recently started a 40-hour training program in a regional jet flight-training device (FTD) with 48 hours of ground instruction on systems, CRM, callouts and checklists. “Our graduates have essentially been there and done that when they go on to Mesa Airlines’ groundschool and advanced level-D simulators,” says Rich Castle, chief flight instructor for MAPD’s Farmington, N.M., location.

And several aeronautical universities are now increasing their focus on training their pilots in FTDs, even at the basic level. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has just implemented a new flight-training curriculum using FTDs for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Piper PA44 Seminole and CRJ. These FTDs have 220-degree wraparound panels simulating several flying environments on actual aircraft.

“One reason is that it’s significantly less expensive,” says Ted Beneigh, professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle. “You can also get better training in an FTD with real-life scenarios.”

Stalls, spins and emergencies such as engine fires and instrument failures—which are hard to simulate in a real aircraft—can be practiced safely in an FTD, and procedures can be reinforced at the earliest stages of flight training. The simulator also can be stopped at any time during the flight for discussion in case the student makes a mistake, which makes the learning process more productive.

Pilots who are dreaming of a successful airline career need to follow the right path during their training to maximize their potential to get hired. And they shouldn’t be discouraged by the major airlines’ decision to cut the use of their airplanes. These changes in the industry may well make room for more pilot hiring in the future, with sufficient pay and benefits. Stay tuned for the last part in our series about the trends in the airline industry.

Part 1: Is Now The Time To Prepare For An Airline Job?


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