Saturday, June 01, 2013

How to become a Cebu Pacific pilot

By Alena Mae S. Flores, Manila Standard Today 

Posted on Jun. 02, 2013 at 12:02am

Airline companies are aggressively recruiting new pilots to support their expansion amid the growth of the air transport sector.  One company makes sure these airlines have a pool of skilled pilots to choose from.

The Philippine Academy of Aviation Training built a $50-million facility at Clark Freeport in Pampanga to provide world-class training to pilots, focusing on Airbus aircraft.

PAAT, a joint venture between budget carrier Cebu Pacific and CAE of Canada, the world’s largest manufacturer of flight simulators, established the state-of-the art training center in Clark to help fill the demand for pilots especially trained to fly Airbus commercial planes.

“Competition for new pilots is fierce because air travel is booming especially in Asia. Our mandate is to improve training standards in the Philippines and being part of the CAE network, we are able to leverage its strengths,” says PAAT general manager Raoul Perez.

As global economies expand, air travel is expected to reach unprecedented levels.  Both aircraft manufacturing giants Airbus and Boeing forecast a strong demand for new aircraft orders, highly-competent pilots and technicians.

Airbus forecasts demand for new aircraft to reach 10,000 in the next 20 years, fueled by increased orders from Asia-Pacific airlines.

Meanwhile, the 2012 Boeing Pilot and Technical Outlook predicts that some 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 maintenance technicians will be needed by 2031 as global economies, most especially countries in the Asia Pacific region grow.

The Boeing Outlook further states that training programs will have to focus on enabling airline operators to gain advantage of the latest generation of airplanes.

This is where PAAT comes in.  The flight training center offers type-rating, a qualification needed to fly a specific aircraft type as well as recurrency training for the Airbus A320 family.

The PAAT training center, located at C.M. Recto Highway corner P. Kalaw Street, focuses on bringing Airbus standards to training.

It has adopted the standard Airbus training footprint for Early Line Training Jet Familiarization & Multi-Crew Coordination course and A320 initial-type rating. The ELT Jet Fam/MCC is a requirement for the Airbus A320 initial type-rating.

“All our curriculum, training plans are all using the Airbus standards. All our entry requirements follow the Airbus standard including our training materials,” Perez says.

“Our instructors have been standardized by Airbus and have extensive experience in airlines and Airbus training centers abrpad,” he says.

PAAT has two A320 Level-D full flight simulators and an Airbus Procedures Transition Trainer. It has one computer-based training room, six classrooms, 10 briefing rooms, 2 APTT rooms, a pilot lounge and a cafeteria.

The two A320 simulators give pilots a realistic Airbus 320 experience, allowing them to obtain critical knowledge in flying the aircraft used by most commercial airlines.

Perez says unlike other A320 type rating schools, PAAT requires its applicants to have 25 hours of multi-engine flight time for a higher safety standards and competency level among its graduates.

“Our basic minimum requirements for those who want to study in our facility is that first, they should be pilots already. They should have minimum of 200 hours flight time, a commercial pilot license and instrument rating and have multi-engine flight time of 25 hours,” he says.

Perez says PAAT included this requirement so that pilots will be able to easily transition from flying solo in a single engine propeller-driven aircraft (which has a weight of one ton) to flying a twin engine jet-propelled  aircraft (77 tons) with two crews.

“We feel that our graduates would be more prepared because they already experienced multi-engine flying,” he says.

Perez says PAAT graduates also have an advantage of being hired by Cebu Pacific, one of the country’s fastest-growing airlines.  He says Cebu Pacific will be getting its pilots exclusively from PAAT.

“Both local and international airlines know the quality of our graduates because they trained under the CAE brand which is well regarded globally as part of the Airbus CAE cooperation,” he says.

Perez says the investment for the 40-day A320 type-rating training at PAAT would be a wise investment for the future partly because of the strong demand for Airbus pilots.

PAAT graduates gain more experience while training at CAE and are thus prepared for opportunities both here and overseas.


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