Flight Training Units
Air Taxi operations are among the most demanding, requiring high levels of specialized knowledge and skill yet this sector of the aviation industry is populated with large numbers of inexperienced and low-time entry level pilots. These pilots normally require close supervision and a large financial investment by the operator to provide on-the-job training, especially for specialized operations. Often, an operator will not recoup this investment before the pilot departs for the greener pastures of Commuter or Airline operations. High turnover rates result in lower experience levels and a continual drain on an operator's resources. Increased financial pressures on the company and inexperienced pilots can increase the likelihood of incidents or accidents. Some operators demand a performance contract that requires the pilot to stay in the job for a specified period of time or pay for part of the training received. Operators would realize a decrease in initial training costs if the pilot turnover was reduced. Individuals recruited from surrounding communities would be more likely to view Air Taxi operations as a career instead of a stepping stone. If local people were encouraged to pursue an Air Taxi flying career, the pilot turnover should decrease since people who grew up in the area would be more likely to stay. Students could pursue summer jobs with air operators to acquire aviation related experience before they start to fly commercially.
SR 24 - Recommend industry associations and flight training units promote VFR Air Taxi flying as a career at the high school level, specifically targeting northern or remote communities.
IA 24 - Recommend air operators hire high school students to work in the summer to gain experience in Air Taxi operations.
Newly licenced commercial pilots coming out of flight schools are not considered to be as proficient at navigation, especially at low altitudes, as commercial pilots used to be. The tendency to train students for IFR flying rather than VFR flying and the reliance on global positioning system (GPS) navigation equipment may be contributing to the diminished skill.
SR 25 - Recommend flight training units emphasize to commercial students the importance of learning and maintaining VFR navigation skills without the use of electronic navigation aids.
Human Factors and PDM training should be introduced as early as possible into the training curricula of pilots and AMEs. Practicing decision making skills throughout the training program will provide the new generation of pilots and AMEs who will be working in the Air Taxi industry with skills and habits that will enhance safety.
SR 26 - Recommend Transport Canada develop a standard for human factors and decision making training. This training should start as early as possible and continue throughout the curricula of flight training units, aviation colleges and AME programs.
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