With a demand for 70,000 new pilots a year for the next 12 years and a supply capacity of only 44,000, the wold is facing the first, real pilot shortage. Airlines, flight schools and aviation colleges are looking at ways to accelerate pilot training, and simulators are seeing their prime time. This trend extends vertically from Full Flight Simulators (FFS), with market leader CAE, to a wide range of Flight Training Devices and Advance Aviation Training Devices (FTD and AATD, respectively). The shortage is energizing the entire industry and allows for a healthy R&D sector featuring Virtual Reality, visual, and motion systems, as more attention is devoted toward knowledge transfer acceleration. Regulations are also changing, making simulators more and more accepted as a substitute for aircraft in training and proficiency. Today, a pilot can receive a type rating without actually setting foot on a real aircraft.
Across the pond, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is getting ready to regulate a modernization of flight training methods, which have been unchanged for more than half century. Crew Coordination Training and the Multi-crew Pilot Licence (MPL) syllabus rely heavily on simulation for practicing crew-related tasks appropriate to each specific aircraft.
In simulation, this has encouraged companies such as MPS to specialize in simulator-based Multi-Pilot training. MPS reduces the cost of training by using their own non-motion ground based devices. MPS claims that such training is as effective as motion FFSs training which costs significantly more.
Creating a new generation of pilots trained to new, high standards of competence in the numbers required and in a timely fashion is critical. Flight simulation has therefore become an indispensable training component from ab-initio to the flight line.