To offer more light on this important angle of the training of commercial pilots, we spoke to Juan Velarde and Anselmo Gámez, both are Commanders of Iberia. Gámez, in addition, has been especially involved in the initial program and development of UPRT for in this airline, the first Spanish company to have such a training program for pilots and instructors.
In their sports profile, Velarde and Gámez are the pilot and technical director, respectively, for Team Velarde 26, which has been sponsored by Simloc for the last two seasons of the Red Bull Air Race air racing championship.
Juan Velarde and Anselmo Gámez in the Red Bull Aire Race
1. Can you give us some example of flight abnormalities that require this type of training?
The need for requiring UPRT training to airlines has come as a result of several commercial aviation accidents related to the loss of control of the aircraft by the pilots. Almost all (starting with the Air France A330 that fell from the Atlantic cruise level) had as an initial cause failures related to flight instruments or flight control computers. As a result the airplanes entered unusual attitudes outside the normal flight envelope and the consequence was the loss of control.
2. EASA is interested in that all commercial pilots acquire UPRT training, and that instructors, use simulators and flight training, are trained to provide that training. What is the current situation in this area in Spain?
It is exactly like that, the new TRI's have to do a specific course on theoretical and practical training in UPRT. All pilots, likewise, must have theoretical and practical training in UPRT.
3. Therefore, it is a mandatory training
It is mandatory and recurring. Each company can design its own training program, "in seat training", "standard crew training", etc. Every 3 years there are certain maneuvers and subjects that must be treated. There are companies that in each refresher course include a minimum of training UPRT training, others every 2 years a specific module, etc. It is also mandatory when there is a change of position, for example, from Copilot to Commander.
4. As active Iberia pilots, have you already received UPRT courses?
Yes. All Iberia pilots have already undergone at least an initial UPRT simulator training and, as we said before, it is a recurring training.
5. Have you had to apply it on any flight?
Fortunately not. The situations in which it could be applied are very scarce and it would be normal for a pilot to retire after a long career without having to apply this emergency procedure.
6. At the moment this type of training is being offered in FFS with a very high cost, but it is already talking about its integration in lower level simulators. How would you see that it could also be given in FTD simulators such as those manufactured by Simloc?
Yes, you could give a perfectly valid and complete training in an FTD simulator like those of Simloc. In fact, when reproducing the UPRT training situations, the FFS motion is usually disconnected to avoid possible damage, since they are very extreme aircraft positions.
Current simulators are not designed to work with these flight envelopes. There have been numerous failures and the AIB itself recommends disconnecting the movement in the simulators.
To our knowledge, the main simulator manufacturers are developing special movement packages in their simulators for this training.
7. Do you see the simulator movement essential for the UPRT?
Not necessarily. The visual and the instruments references are much more important. We could say that motion is accessory. At present, in addition to the possible damage to the simulator movement systems, it is not well simulated.
In Iberia it was decided that it did not contribute much for the student to make maneuvers with a movement that did not simulate reality.
However, there are simulators with 3-axis movement that have good performance, although their cost is very high.
On the other hand, there is the uncertainty of the flight envelope.
That is, no simulator manufacturer ventures to predict how a commercial aircraft would behave outside the flight envelope that was certified and tested by the test pilots of the construction facility.
Training certain unverified or contrasted aircraft reactions could be counterproductive. This is why in “certified” simulators, any UPRT training must always be very well designed so as not to leave the envelope of the plane. With special emphasis on the "P" (Prevention), to try to avoid a situation where you need the "R" (Recovery) outside the flight envelope.
Simloc FTDs could be a very valid tool to provide this training at a much lower cost than an FFS.
A good simulator for specific UPRT training could be of great help. It is fundamental that it has a good visual system, good management software, maneuver programming and good post-analysis software with session recording, flight reproduction, input analysis, etc.
If you also have a movement system (without wanting to be realistic) with some key points, much better.