- Says NCAT set to install B737NG simulator in 2020 Q1
PROFFERING solutions to the high unemployment rate of Nigerian pilots, Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Captain Abdulsallami Mohammed has said pilots no matter where in the world they train, need to build hours to garner experience for employment.
The Rector made this known while speaking to reporters at the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Gateway Forum debunked notions that the unemployment challenge was an issue of type rating stating that the pilots need General Aviation to enable them build those hours as most airlines have required number of hours for insurance purposes before they employ pilots.
Captain Abdulsalami said,” I am very concerned about employment for graduates and not only pilots and the issue is not about type-rating, but the experience. Even when some of them come back from America, they still don’t get jobs because they have not gathered the necessary hours. Different airlines have different requirements.
“Most of the airlines require a certain minimum of hours for insurance purposes before you can fly their aircraft. So, these pilots before they are employable need to build up these hours. This is where the General Aviation comes in because they don’t have these requirements. So, we encourage the young pilots to go into General Aviation. That is the practice worldwide. If they are able to build more hours, that will make them marketable and employable.
He went on to explain some of the dynamics in getting employment stating:
“As you know, when a pilot graduates from school, he comes out with a Basic Commercial Pilot License and then with the type on the aircraft that he used for training. So, when he comes out and gets a job anywhere, if they are operating that kind of an aircraft he trained on, he doesn’t need additional training, but if it is in any other aircraft that is different, he must undergo type-rating training regardless on the size of the aircraft.
“So, you can imagine the number of training facility that you will need. For the bigger commercial aircraft, most of the training is done in simulator for cost effectiveness. We call them complex aircraft. When you fly complex aircraft, some of the maneuvers and the emergencies that you have to be trained on cannot be carried out on actual aircraft. You can only do them on simulators. That is why you have to go to where they have simulators. For each aircraft type, there is a simulator that is providing this training.
The NCAT boss has also said the school has reached 60% in the design of its simulator base to house its newly acquired B737NG simulator with futuristic plans to install more simulators to cater the need of the country’s training especially with talks of a national carrier in the making.
He said, “That is the type that Arik Air operates. We envisaged that the B737 Classics are on their way out. That is why we decided to go for the NG. This project would have been completed a long time ago. The initial process was to site the simulator in Lagos, but when this administration came into power in 2015, the decision was changed to site it in Zaria and there was no provision for the building that will accommodate this simulator. We looked at the possibility of using existing structures, but they are not suitable.
“So, we now had to start afresh by getting consultants that will design the building, we had to go through full procurement process, selecting contractors. We awarded that contract last year and the building as we speak is about 60 per cent completed. The structure is completed. We are only doing internal wiring, painting and stuff like that. That simulator we hope would be delivered to the college within the first quarter of 2020.
“When we have that simulator installed, we will be able to offer type-rating courses on that B737NG. Now, as part of our plans for the future, we also made provision for a second simulator. So, if you go to the building, you will see that we have two simulator bases. We intend to install a second simulator. We are watching the industry to see if the national carrier comes; the type of equipment they are going to use will now guide us on the type of simulator to install. Once we have the national carrier, NCAT will play a big role in training a lot of the personnel.”