Pilots: True Aviators or IT Experts?

addestramento pilotiIt’s been a while since I have been thinking of how pilots training has changed.

I’m trying to understand whether it’s adequate enough to face the daily challenges a pilot has to deal with.

The problem is that nowadays the more pilots are required the more we need to find the right way to train them.

In other words we need to prepare pilots as quickly as possible and their training has to be sufficient enough to manage an airplane and the flight.

So, my question (and not only mine) is this:

Today’s pilots are true aviators or IT experts?

Pilot training today

I am not trying to criticize flight schools, but rather trying to prove a point: pilots training in today’s training organizations is not adequate enough for the level of risk pilots have to face on a daily bases.

To prove it I am not even going to start with the number of incidents caused by pilot’s lack of experience (you can check out the Air France 447 disaster of 2009).

I am not the only one thinking this. There is an interesting article on ECA – European Cockpit Association and on IFALPA, pointing out that there is something wrong in pilot’s training.

My theory is quite simple, maybe not everyone completely agrees with it, but everyday I can see that there is more proof to it. The lack of pilots brings to 4 important consequences:

  1. Train a large number of pilots
  2. Do it in a short amount of time
  3. Train them adequately
  4. Give them enough training to manage a flight?

My whole idea is based on the last point.

Whether are not pilot’s level of preparation is good enough just to manage an airplane or is there something else they need to know?

Think out of the box

The skills a pilots is required to have is not related entirely to flight management, nor understanding and being able to use the FMS or cooperating with all members of the crew, their preparation is also related to the level of thinking they have in NON standard operations.

It is not that hard to manage flight operations, it is just a question of studying and practicing. What is much more difficult is knowing how to adapt to different situations and thinking out of the box.

A co-pilot that gets out of flight school at 20/21 with about 200 hours of flight experience, will be able to understand how to use the airplane and manage a flight in standard operations, what he will be lacking is that level of experience that makes him a true aviator.

I will end this post with a question for you.

Years ago I studied a research done by a pilot who was also studying aviation psychology. He was trying to prove how young pilots took in consideration superficial elements that were not key to make a decision.

Experienced pilots instead, knew what elements were important in order to make a quick decision.

In an emergency situation all pilots should be able to decide quickly and correctly. In order to do this, the problem is not the number of hours, but the quality of training pilots receive!

This is my question for you:

What kind of training do you think a pilot should receive during his career?

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