The aviation cluster's pilot programme puts wind in sails of education exports

5/29/2015
Cooperation in the aviation sector has resulted in a new way of training pilots, based on a new Multicrew Pilot Licence (MPL) concept. The new training programme includes flying on a real aircraft and coupled with versatile simulation training, resulting in flying practices that are not only more economical but which also take better account of possible hazards and errors. The project is funded by Tekes.

Training cooperation between Finnair Flight Academy and Patria Pilot Training has given birth to the Multifly™ MPL training programme, a comprehensive training service offered to customer airlines, whereby pilot candidates are recruited and trained as co-pilots and then directly employed by the customer airline. The training programme is based on the needs of aviation organisations and, naturally, those of aviation regulations, as well as close cooperation with the authorities.

"Until now, pilot training has been based on the pilot's licences earned at various stages of training. However, starting out by learning to fly as a solo pilot does not give you the practical skills needed to work as part of a crew. Our core focus has been on training crew members directly for the airline providing the sponsorship," says Mikko Salminen, Managing Director of the Finnair Flight Academy.

The new training programme meets the growing need for pilots

Airlines have estimated that their need for new aeroplanes will double over the next 15 years, accompanied by a need for 50,000 new pilots. A lack of pilots is already limiting the growth of Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. According to Salminen, the cluster developed the programme to meet this growing need.

"It was clear from the beginning that we wanted to create a modern training programme with an internationally competitive edge. Our key concept is to train pilots who work efficiently and reduce costs," Salminen says.

According to Chief Flying Instructor at the Finnair Flight Academy and training programme designer Arto Helovuo, the cluster has developed a pilot training solution of the future.

"We are using the customer airline's own plane types, making it easier for the student to learn their special characteristics. Our other asset is our cutting-edge flight simulation technology, which we use more than a traditional training programme would. The simulator enables better control of the exercise process and the student is given a more systematic grounding than before in controlling hazardous situations and malfunctions," Helovuo says.

Developed with Tekes funding, the programme is ready for the market

Tekes has been supporting the Multifly™ MPL programme since the latter took off. Salminen acknowledges that the programme could not have been developed without funding from Tekes. The core product was developed under the wing of the Tekes Learning Solutions programme, alongside a new online learning environment that enables the learning curve of each pilot candidate to be monitored individually.

Following the product development stage, the time has arrived to head for the international market.

"Our next step will be to launch commercial production and engage customer airlines. Together with Patria, we have been working hard to line up customers: negotiations are under way with several major airlines. When this process bears fruit, we will be able to enter the market quickly," says Salminen.

Further information

Managing Director Mikko Salminen
mikko.k.salminen (at) finnair.com
Tel. +358 50 393 4460

Text: SST Viestintä

Pia Mörk
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