The case for simulation

In the world of full-flight simulators, CAE is making a claim for the role of king. With more than 230 full-flight simulators in 50 civil training locations around the globe, serving approximately 3,500 airlines, aircraft operators and manufacturers worldwide, the company maintains the industry’s largest network of civil training locations.

Recently though, simulation has come under increased criticism, with some arguing that pilots are too dependent on automation. Many in the aviation community are even saying that simulators do not properly replicate real in-flight scenarios.

To an extent, CAE Chief Safety Officer Lou Németh agrees, noting that today’s aircraft are indeed more automated. “They’re better designed and extremely reliable marvels of technology,” he says. He also notes that it is not uncommon for pilots to go through an entire career without experiencing any major malfunction. “So preparing pilots for ‘unusual and abnormal procedures’ becomes crucial, and the only safe environment where they can do so is in a simulated environment where they can be exposed to these challenging scenarios.”
A balanced approach

Another reality, according to Németh, is that aircraft automation is becoming more complex, meaning pilots require a more balanced approach in both automated and manual flying proficiency. “We belive that manual handling exposes pilots to more threats, and that they are best trained in simulators,” he says.

Still, he acknowledges that automation has had some unintended consequences that should be mitigated. The Flight Safety Foundation, the UK CAA, the FAA’s Flight Deck Automation Working Group, and the FAA’s Air Carrier Training Aviation Rule Making Committee workstream for Flight Path Management (FAA ACT ARC FMP) are all working on training, operations, policies and procedures to improve and maintain safety in air transportation. Nemeth himself chairs the FAA ACT ARC FMP and says he is committed to incorporating new standards in his company.
Ahead of the curve

Along with these new standards, CAE says it is always working to be ahead. “We strive to develop new techniques, new innovations, better simulators and better instructors so each time pilots come to us for training, they encounter a training experience that continues to help them grow in their profession,” says CAE Group President Civil Simulation and Training Nick Leontides.

This desire to stay ahead of the curve is why CAE announced in April the early adoption of industry standards to help prevent Loss of Control in Flight (LOC-I). “As a training partner of choice offering quality training programs to all level of pilots, from cadet to captain, our priority is to ensure that all CAE-trained pilots are accomplished professionals to whom safety is the first and foremost priority,” says Németh.

Overall, Leontidis says CAE works for the end user: the passenger. “We are proud that our mission is all about making the skies safer for passengers,” he says. “We are also very proud of the fact that the majority of pilots flying today have either trained in a CAE training center or on a CAE simulator.”

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