By Anthony Foxcroft
I arrived at the company HQ for my first day as a new recruit, and after the welcoming session with the boss, we were ushered into a classroom to begin our type rating training. Each of us had a desk with a neatly stacked pile of books a foot high: FCOM, AFM, OM, QRH, Jepp plates, DG and CRM amongst a host of courses we would all need to complete. Job number 1 was to take the hefty update package and go through each of the books, manually updating pages.
By contrast, my most recent conversion was an entirely paperless affair. Day 1 was spent handing out iPads, getting everyone up and running with company emails and logins and familiarising ourselves with where to find all the important documents.
The goal of the paperless cockpit is here. We recently converted the operational flight plan to a digital version on our electronic flight bag, and now the last manually written document has been eliminated from day to day operations.
Recurrent training is all online. Complete all your courses on your own and the simulator instructor verifies you’ve passed before heading straight into a briefing for the day's exercises. The savings to operators are huge in manpower, time and materials. Courses are high quality, standardised and engaging. General aviation training can benefit from these same advantages from your first flight as a student pilot.
Studying from digital materials can be a little different to what you’re used to; for example, you will need to become familiar with using the navigation panel, index and bookmarks in order to be able to find information easily. As the world becomes increasingly digital these are important skills to learn, and if your goal is to enter a career as a professional pilot, then you’ll already be comfortable with these methods.