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FlightSafety Dash 8 training page 7

report by neil macdougall

Practically all Canadian carriers pay for their pilots’ type ratings. An exception was a discount airline that required new hires to take out a bank loan for the cost of their type rating. The airline agreed to make the loan payments if the pilot stayed two years. Unfortunately for the pilots, the company failed.

Many carriers send their crews for recurrent training twice a year. Instructors challenge pilots who find the exercises routine by introducing microbursts, wake turbulence and simultaneous roll and pitch failures (which require the left-seat pilot to control pitch and power while the right-seat pilot controls roll and rudder). Also challenging is a double flame-out eight miles out at 8,000 feet. An on-field landing can be made from a 360-degree overhead approach if bank and airspeed are pegged at 30 degrees and 120 knots, respectively. Allow a tiny variation in either, and you won’t make the runway. Limited rudder control requires anticipating turns and landing before reduced speed eliminates yaw control.

Department of National Defence and Air Nova crews, among others, have approval for Category 2 (100-foot ceiling and quarter-mile visibility) landings. Other pilots find practising to these limits challenging.

When an airline buys a Dash 8, it usually contracts for the training of eight pilots and four maintenance technicians. The strong demand for simulator time has encouraged Flight-Safety Canada to more than double the size of its Toronto Learning Centre. The staff of 60 under Centre Manager Jon Pollack provides initial pilot, recurrent, maintenance, avionics and electrical training for the Dash 8, Dash 7 and Twin Otter.

FlightSafety builds its own simulators in Oklahoma. The Toronto school has two FAA Level C Dash 8 simulators and a new Level D, the highest Transport Canada and FAA certification. A pilot who has won a type rating in these simulators may fly revenue flights without experience in the real aircraft, although most carriers require a few circuits. The visuals, especially when flying near thunderstorms, are very realistic, even to the constant wandering of the ADF needle.

A simulator for the new, 350-knot, 70- to 78-passenger de Havilland Dash 8-400 will be added in late 1998, about a year after the roll-out of the first aircraft. Indeed, FlightSafety Canada is a partner with Bombardier and de Havilland in the development of the Dash 8-400. FlightSafety is already preparing training for both pilots and maintenance staff.

Pilots and maintenance staff trek to Toronto from all over the world. Crews from Abu Dhabi, China, Ethiopia, Greenland, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal and South Africa were at the Learning Centre during my course, as were crews from Air Canada regionals, Air Tindi, the British Columbia Telephone Company and Canadian Regional.

Maintenance instructors regularly lug their projector, computer and hundreds of pounds of manuals to exotic locales. On-site training has been given in Brazil, Colombia, the Maldives and Saudi Arabia in the last year.

The Montréal Learning Centre specializes in Canadair’s Challenger series. Centre Manager Doug Ware has a staff of 45, who may add the Global Express to the aircraft they train for.

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