Article Review: Aviation – Crew Resource Management
The reviewed article by David Kaminski-Morrow was published on 16 October 2012 via Flightglobalpro.com, a paid for online aviation news and information service, part of the Reed Business Information group. The article revealed that on delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft scheduled for July 2013, BA will initially use it on short-haul routes, to maximize pilot training.
Because flying the A380 on selected European short-haul routes will maximize the numbers of take-offs and landings (those times in the flights when pilots have to do much of their actual controlling of the aircraft) pilot training will be accelerated as a consequence. The article indicated that by flying those shorter routes, the aircraft will accomplish about four sectors each day, whereas flights on longer routes (e.g. transatlantic) would mean considerably less pilots being trained over the same period. That approach to pilot training will also facilitate BA building up a group of instructors for that aircraft type.
In the meantime, as reported in the article, from January 2013 BA will have an L-3 link Simulator for the A380, based at Heathrow, to provide BA and its pilots with the opportunity of a six-month period of training before delivery of the first aircraft code MSN95. That brand-new, two-deck aircraft has been involved in fuel testing in Toulouse, France, while the second aircraft destined for BA (MSN121) joined the final assembly line there on 13 October 2012. In total, BA has ordered 12 of these aircraft, and – according to the article – anticipates training around 20 pilots for each one. Although that seems a surprising large number of pilots per aircraft, it perhaps indicates the thoroughness of BA’s training programme, ensuring that they are unlikely ever to be short of A380-trained aircrew. The article also related that all pilots selected for training on the A380 will be experienced on Airbus aircraft, albeit the smaller A320 type.
BA related that because the airline currently does not operate Airbus types on the long-haul routes, A380 crews will be supplemented by A320 crews. They also stated that BA are – on advice from Qantas – another A380 operator – ensuring that all A380 pilots will have previously logged flying hours on other fly-by-wire aircraft types. According to the article, A380 pilots who have previously flown on their Boeing aircraft will need additional ground school training time – about six to seven weeks – compared with only a month or so for others. All will need simulator training as well as actual in flight training. At the beginning of the A380 training programme, four BA pilots that have already been trained will fly with Airbus crews for circa three months, to bolster the core group of instructors. (That again seems to reinforce BA’s objective of total thoroughness in their A380 training planning).
Confirming the validity of the BA plan to initially fly shorter routes with their newA380, the article noted that Air France did exactly that when they first took delivery of their first A380, partly in the interests of accelerated crew training, but also to avoid the aircraft remaining idle on the ground between their scheduled long-haul flights.
The article was found to be informative, and fascinating in some respects, particularly in the fact that BA intend to train circa 20 pilots per ordered A380, which seems a little excessive. Bearing in mind that each aircraft will have two pilots on board, this reviewer would have imagined that eight to ten pilots (four to five crews) per aircraft would have been sufficient to cover all requirements, even allowing for holidays and sickness, etc. However, one must assume they know what they are doing, and probably would not spend unnecessarily on high training costs. Overall, the article provided quite a lot of useful and enlightening detail about BA’s pilot training plans for their new A380’s, as part of their crew resource management.
Kaminski-Morrow, D. “BA’s first A380s to ply short-haul routes to train crews.” (16 Oct 2012). Flight globalpro. Retrieved from .