Finnair pilots are getting ready to get back up in the sky
Finnair is increasing traffic volumes in July after flying the minimum network for three months. Pilots are preparing to return to the upper air through training and flight simulator training.
Finnair trains pilots during the recruitment and entry phase and during their careers. Pilots undergo transition training, for example, when training from co-pilot to captain or changing aircraft type. Most of the trainings organized are refresher trainings, which are attended by every 1,000 Finnair pilots every six months for two days. According to authorities’ requirements, each pilot must have completed at least three take-offs and landings, either in an airplane or in a flight simulator, within 90 days in order to fly the aircraft.
The training center near Helsinki Airport has simulators for each Finnair aircraft type: one simulator for the A330 and Embraer aircraft, and two simulators for the A320 and two for the A350 aircraft, one of which was introduced in June this year. The cockpits of the simulators are identical to the cockpit of a real aircraft, and thus the simulators make it possible to model the flight and practice, for example, exceptional and fault situations.
“Our training concept today is based on competence thinking. These competencies are strengthened through training. We practice for example decision-making, communication in the cockpit and the technical side of flying such as manual flying. Flying requires a lot of knowledge, technical skill, as well as good communication and decision-making skills. In the simulator, for example, instrument flying is practiced, in which case the control of the aircraft is based on information obtained from the instruments in a situation where there is no visibility outside” says Juho Sinkkonen, Finnair's Training Manager.
In addition to simulator flying, e-learning platforms are utilized when studying theory. The competence of pilots is assessed both in the simulator and in the aircraft. Finnair has 160 trainers, each of whom is also actively involved in operational flight work.
Aki Vihavainen (left) and Tuomas Laiho were in the A350 simulator with the trainer Ilkka Pesonen.
“Although I have experienced ash clouds and other exceptional situations, I haven’t had such a long break from flying during my 32-year career as now. Next, I'm going to a cargo flight to China. During the spring I have practiced my saxophone and guitar playing skills, "says Aki who also plays in Finnair Big Band.
Tuomas also flew cargo flights to Bangkok in May: “The next cargo flight is to Singapore. During this spring, I have been maintaining my physics on a golf course and learned a new kind of everyday life with my kids who had attended school remotely" Tuomas says.
“Cargo flights have usually been flown by two flight crews, so we have also got to know the work tasks of cabin crew while learning, for example, how to use an oven in an aircraft,” the pilots say.