Business jet option offered to 700 trainee pilots in new CAE cadet pilot training plan

Mike Stones
By Mike Stones August 2, 2019 17:16

Business jet option offered to 700 trainee pilots in new CAE cadet pilot training plan

Cadet pilots can choose to train on Challenger 300s and Citation Xs.

More than 700 new professional pilots are to be offered the option of training on business jets, as part of CAE’s new cadet training plan for Southwest Airlines’s Destination 225° programme.

Over the next 10 years, student pilots at CAE’s aviation academy in Phoenix, Arizona can choose between gaining experience on business jets or working as flight instructors. Both pathways will lead to FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) qualifications.

Would-be business jet pilots will be invited to apply for first-officer positions with Destination 225°’s launch partners’ on-demand private jet charter firms XOJET Aviation and Jet Linx.

XOJET claims to have access to more than 1,500 private jets worldwide; including Citation Xs and Challenger 300s. Jet Linx operates light jets, mid-size jets, super mid-size and heavy jets.

CAE said in a statement: “The business-jet pathway allows pilots to build their flying experience operating state-of-the-art business jets, while enjoying the quality of life, compensation and benefits of being an XOJET Aviation or Jet Linx pilot, including the opportunity to upgrade to captain.”

Starting next January, CAE will screen and assess potential pilots, selected by Southwest Airlines, before sending successful candidates to begin its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot licensing ground school followed by flight training.

Cadets opting for the instructing route will accumulate 1,500 hours as flight instructors at CAE Phoenix.

Commercial transport operations

Both pathways will lead to a transition transport training programme that bridges experience from flight instruction to commercial transport operations, according to CAE. “Once completed, pilots with the required experience can apply to Southwest Airlines as first officer candidates and undergo Southwest’s rigorous new-hire pilot training and Boeing 737NG type-rating training at the airline’s state-of-the-art training facility in Dallas.”

CAE’s group president, Civil Aviation Training Solutions’s Nick Leontidis, said the initiative would help to secure the supply of commercial pilots. “There is a growing need for airline pilots, and this programme will set a new standard in initial pilot training and in the transition to a professional pilot career in the United States,” said Leontidis. “We are committed to ensuring that our industry has the qualified pilots it requires, and this collaboration with Southwest, the largest U.S domestic carrier, is another great example of this commitment.”

The training provider has supplied training equipment to Southwest Airlines in Dallas since 2002. At its Dallas base, Southwest operates more than 15 CAE Boeing 737NG full-flight simulators (FFS) including CAE’s 7000XR Series and more than 20 CAE flight training devices including, the latest XR Series suite. All devices are equipped with CAE Tropos 6000XR visual system and the latest Boeing 737 MAX FFS is scheduled to be delivered to the facility by the end of this year.

790,000 new commercial pilots

It is hoped the plan will help to satisfy the demand for 790,000 new commercial pilots needed over the next 20 years, according to Boeing. Analysts attribute the US shortfall in pilots to the large number reaching the compulsory retirement age of 65, costly commercial pilot training, and complex FAA qualification requirements.

The new training plan contrasts sharply with European carrier Ryanair’s revelation this week that it plans to axe up to 900 aircrew jobs because the budget airline has ‘too many pilots and cabin crew’. Staff were warned to prepare for significant job losses in a video message from CEO Michael O’Leary.

Meanwhile, Textron Aviation and Wichita State University are extending their partnership to train the manufacturer’s staff at Kansas university.

“Around 40 Textron Aviation employees will share the 5,000 sq ft space [465 sq metres] with Wichita State students to advance product innovation and help students better understand career opportunities within general aviation,” said the university in a statement.

Mike Stones
By Mike Stones August 2, 2019 17:16

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