As Airbus-built military airplanes take on additional vital airlift and transport duties with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, new procedures have been implemented by the company to ensure its International Training Centre continues producing top-notch pilots.

Located in Seville, Spain, this modern facility provides training for the customer nations that fly such aircraft as the A400M airlifter, the A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) and the C295/CN235 tactical transporters.

Strict social distancing rules were put in place to maximise safety for trainees, as well as for the International Training Centre’s instructors and staff – with requirements that individuals stand at least two metres apart from one another. Protective masks also became mandatory, along with body temperature checks at the facility’s entrance.

Maximising safety while training

“At the beginning of the outbreak, we understood the important role that the different air forces had to play supporting government needs,” said Julián Castaño, the Head of Flight Training at Airbus Defence and Space. “And also, the importance for them in keeping the qualification and the training of their pilots.”

Additional measures were adopted for use of the International Training Centre’s full-flight simulators – which are now disinfected and completely cleaned following each session, as are the facility’s briefing rooms.

Facilitating e-learning

While these safety protocols are effective for people on-site at the facility, Castaño explained that the International Training Centre’s other main priority was facilitating “e-learning” for those that could not physically come to Seville due to travel restrictions or precautions.

A distance learning platform was installed, allowing for a trainee to study topics on their own or with an instructor’s guidance – depending on the situation and availability.

Both approaches have been used for theoretical instruction associated primarily with aircraft systems, along courses for with performance-based navigation and upset recovery training.

A full range of training

Courses provided by Airbus from the Seville centre cover the scope from qualifying pilots on specific Airbus aircraft types to recurrent training that keeps flight crews at their best performance levels. Such training takes longer than typical classes for commercial airline pilots due to complexity of the military aircraft and the missions they perform.