Lifting Boeing 737 MAX aircraft off the ground, following the rigorous flight tests and re-certification stages, could be eventually spotted. However, prior to planes getting back in the air, what about training for pilots?
Before the grounding of these aircraft took place, no separate simulator training for already 737 type-rated pilots was required. After doing type rating on the 737 NG simulator, it was enough to complete a computer-based course and pilots were ready to take a seat in the cockpit of MAX aircraft.
In the beginning of 2020, therefore, Boeing has released a recommendation for all the pilots flying 737 MAX aircraft, before getting back to the cockpit, to undergo simulator training combined with computer-based training.
Although the authorities have not confirmed whether training would be mandatory yet, nevertheless, Boeing 737 MAX full flight simulator (FFS) capacity will be in great demand. And this is where the problem might occur, as globally there are only 34 FFS of the type currently active and available.
EASA-Certified Boeing 737 MAX Full Flight Simulators
As for now, there up to ten EASA-certified Boeing 737 MAX FFSs scattered around the globe, in the United Kingdom, Turkey, Czech Republic, Singapore, Iceland as well as Fiji.
As the geography suggests, operators of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Europe have their capacity limited. According to Boeing delivery data as of 31 July, 2020, there are 64 aircraft delivered to European airlines and aircraft leasing companies.
Typically, airlines will crew one MAX with six flight crews, which is twelve pilots per aircraft. This, therefore, leads to over 750 pilots in Europe alone requiring simulator training before they occupy the cockpit of the soon-to-return MAX planes.
At first glance, 750 is not that much. However, after the aircraft program is released back into the air, the rush would be massive enough for operators to get stuck in a queue for a spare 737 MAX FSS slot. Considering the fact that geographically there are only several convenient locations in the region.
New Hub for Boeing 737 MAX FFS Services
Most of the Boeing 737 MAX FFSs are assembled at the dedicated training centres of airlines’ which already have 737 MAX in their fleets. In Europe, these are, for example, Turkish Airlines or Icelandair.
Depending on Boeing orders’ sheet, European carriers and leasing companies currently have 821 booking for this aircraft type. Correspondingly, the need for FFS capacity will grow.
The airlines that do not have their training facilities will look for independent training centres to partner with on the 737 MAX FFS lease services or training delivery. In terms of independent providers, there not many centres operating this type of FFS yet.
To join the line of very first independent aviation training providers with the 737 MAX FFS would be BAA Training Spain, located near Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Convenient location and connecting network makes this training spot easy to reach and attractive to choose.
The FFS at the brand new pilot training facility is due to be installed in April, 2021.
Additionally, the training provider will offer solutions on fixed-base flight training devices FTD -2 of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft type. These will enable the company to do training that requires FNPT II, deliver Multi-Crew Cooperation training, etc. The FTDs are about to be ready for training during the H1 of 2021.