About 10 minutes from Madrid Barajas Airport, the CAE Training Center facilities in the Spanish capital train more than 5,000 pilots and more than 15,000 cabin crew each year.
In the fully equipped Center where more than 50,000 hours of simulator training are provided annually, representatives of the Greek media had the opportunity to see up close how pilots and crew are trained and also to learn how the future Center for AEGEAN CAE training in Athens. will work.
We sit in the pilot’s seat in one of the center’s 11 full-fledged flight simulators. The entire interior was set up as if we were in a normal cabin and it worked exactly as it does on a flight. Although it was a virtual flight, the feeling was that you have “in your hands” a plane full of passengers and you have to drive it safely to its destination. After all, this is also the goal of training on a simulator, that is, to create for the student the conditions corresponding to normal flight.
On the virtual flight we did to Santorini, choosing to fly in windy conditions, we “took off” from Spata and then “landed” on the island’s virtual airstrip with the movements and manner a pilot would do in a similar case, so that it can be done safely. Of course, following the instructions of the instructors.
Next stop on our visit, the virtual cabin where the crew is trained in case of emergency conditions during the flight, such as fire or smoke inside the aircraft and how to evacuate it. When, in our flight simulation, the cabin filled with smoke, the crew with perfectly coordinated movements followed the very specific procedure by which its members are trained, so that even if they have never been on a flight together before and do not speak the same language, to do what is prescribed. They opened the emergency exit door, activated the emergency slide, and ensured that all passengers exited the aircraft. Similarly, in the event of a fire in a part of the aircraft, a crew member puts on special special equipment and puts out the fire with a fire extinguisher.
The CAE Training Center facilities in Madrid, in addition to 11 complete flight simulators for various types of aircraft (A320, A330, A340, A350, DASH8 Q-300, CRJ200/900/1000, ATR72-600 and B787) have an IPT for the CRJ200 and CRJ900 aircraft, one for DASH8 and one for B787. For the training of cabin crew, it has infrastructure for both A340 and A320 type aircraft, as well as two firefighting areas and a smoke room.
The 20 classrooms, in some of which the course was taking place, are fully equipped with digital whiteboards and projectors, while there are also 22 information rooms for the simulators. The facility also houses a restaurant, there are locker and baggage areas, free parking, and a multi-denominational prayer room available upon request.
Image of the… future
The experience at the CAE Training Center in Madrid was essentially a look into the future and the first Flight Simulator and Crew Training Center in Greece that the company will create in a joint venture with Aegean, at its technical base at the International Airport. from Athens. A project that is a vision of years, as the managing director of Aegean, Dimitris Gerogiannis, points out.
With a capacity of up to 7 full flight simulators, the training center will be part of the new AEGEAN Technical Base with a total area of 85,000 m2 that will be created at the Athens International Airport as part of the investment of 140 million euros. of the company which, upon maturity, is expected to create up to 500 new direct jobs and a total of more than 1,100 new direct and indirect highly-skilled jobs over 5-7 years.
Upgrade work on the building facilities has already begun with the first simulator expected in Athens in September for the training center to be operational before the end of 2023. The already existing Olympic Engineering Training School will also join the same ecosystem. . the AEGEAN Pilot Training Organization, which is already up and running.
In a first stage of development, the Training Center will have four flight simulators, including two Airbus A320 neo, a Boeing 737NG and an ATR 72-600, as well as cabin crew training equipment, while the installation of three additional simulators. In full development, the center will be able to train up to 3,500 pilots a year, providing 42,000 hours of training and several times that number of cabin crew. Likewise, the educational capacity of the Center allows to expand the support services that the company can offer to third companies. It is typical that 60% of the Center’s capacity can be used for third party flight crew training and 40% for AEGEAN.