Behind the Scenes: Ansett Aviation Training
With thousands of new commercial pilots needed throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the coming decades, Australia’s Ansett Aviation Training is working tirelessly to develop the next generation of aviators.
World-class instructors, a huge variety of courses and an incredible line-up of highly advanced simulators, mean that this Melbourne-based institution is going a long way to ensure the future of the industry is in safe hands.
Ansett Aviation Training (AAT) is located close to Tullamarine Airport and their huge selection of 13 simulators run 24 hours a day, seven days a week allows the school to cover plenty of courses and cater to a large amount of students. From lengthy programs for new pilots to conversion courses or recurrent training for industry veterans, it really is an all-in-one centre of excellence for current and future aces.
Commercial aviation is a lifelong commitment that requires years of practice, and it’s important to learn from the most experienced tutors and with the best equipment possible. Whilst it’s an incredibly rewarding career path, it’s also a challenging one. If you’re starting this exciting journey, AAT offers everything you need to get your career underway.
AAT has built a reputation for excellence in the training arena, with a huge number of former students going on to find success with airlines around the world. Their courses for new pilots revolve around a carefully-designed mix of technical ground school work, cockpit procedures, extensive fixed simulator experience and full flight simulator training. This ensures that students are given a rounded education that will fully prepare them for entering the workforce upon graduation.
For current pilots, the range of courses offered by AAT is massive, and designed to build upon existing skills. Their CASA-approved instructors are ready to provide recurrent training to pilots, and can also be nominated to approve pilots for a number of airlines across the globe. This allows pilots to keep their skills up-to-date with a minimum of fuss.
For experienced pilots looking to get to grips with a new set of wings, AAT offers a full set of conversion courses. Combining extensive classroom training with in-depth cockpit work in the simulators, it’s the best way to transition into a new sector of the aviation industry.
Another important step for pilots to take is the Instrument Proficiency Check, ensuring they’re ready and able to meet all of CASA’s requirements when handling their aircraft, with renewals handled by expert instructors in the flight simulators.
For pilots planning to migrate from piston engines to jet airliners, there’s a highly regarded bridging course on offer that will fully prepare them for their first jet rating course, whilst also providing experience with potential airline selection assessments. This greatly improves the chances of finding work after graduation.
The new Airline Transport Pilot Licence, which is the highest level of certification possible, can also be achieved through AAT, and can be completed in one of the simulators. As part of this licence, pilots must also complete a Multi Crew Co-Operation Course, which can be included as an all-in-one package.
Threat and management training is included in all of the courses, to ensure that pilots are graduating with the best set of skills possible, so that they can have long, successful and safe careers in the sky.
There’s a lot of flexibility in all of the available programs, so no matter what you’re coming from and where you want to go, there are classes designed to make it as easy as possible. The lessons can be altered on the fly in order to focus on areas that the pilot needs more work on, or to move more quickly over ground they’re well-acquainted with.
Of course, the simulators allow for emergency situations or extreme weather to be introduced into all of the courses, which is something not available in a real-life aircraft. When it’s all put together, AAT provide the best way of converting your aviation rating to a different type of aircraft, or simply upgrading your skills.
Once a pilot has completed his or her course, the daunting task of seeking employment begins, but fortunately AAT are dedicated to making the transition as smooth as possible. Not only do they have contacts with many of the world’s biggest airlines, but they’re fully prepared to run through the interview and screening processes that pilots will be required to undertake when being assessed for a job.
This assessment of skills is a major part of the employment process, and being able to practice the test in the same flight simulators that will be used is the perfect way to prepare. It’s no wonder that AAT graduates have great success in finding careers.
A PROUD HISTORY
Ansett Aviation Training carries a very famous name, and is upholding the long-standing Ansett tradition for excellence. Founded in 1936 by the legendary Sir Reginald Ansett, Melbourne-based Ansett Airways went on to become the second-largest domestic airline in Australia, with a reputation for safety and high levels of training. The major reason for this was their excellent pilot training centre in Victoria, the Ansett Simulator Pilot Training Centre, which boasted world-class facilities and programs.
After transitioning into an international airline in the 1990s, the company was closed in 2001. The training centre was sold to businessmen David Bos and Wayne Gilmour, who improved and expanded it under the current moniker, and it’s now the largest independent simulator training centre in the southern hemisphere. Over 80 airlines and aircraft operators make use of the Melbourne facilities to teach their pilots.
“We have people turning up to our site saying, ‘It’s good to see the Ansett brand again,’ David Garside, CEO of Ansett Aviation Training, said. “We like that, by the way. A lot of the pilots that did go off and find other jobs after Ansett went down went into other markets and people realised just how well trained they were and how good the Australian pilots are, and recognised that.”
The growing demand for pilots in Asia, coupled with AAT’s burgeoning reputation for producing excellent pilots, led the company to partner with Apex Flight Academy to open a facility in Taiwan in 2016. The academy boasts a top-of-the-range A320 simulator, as well as a full set of training courses tailored to the Asian market.
Since 2015, Tigerair Taiwan has conducted all of its simulator training requirements at the Taoyuan International Airport facility, proving that Ansett’s reputation in the region is skyrocketing.
The popularity of the ATR-600 aircraft in the region means that a dedicated simulator will start operating in the near future, greatly increasing the scope of the facility.
Modern classrooms, a well-set-up briefing room, a highly accurate weather station, a comfortable dormitory and a well-stocked cafeteria ensure that it’s the best facility of its kind, and it’s set to grow as AAT seeks to further improve the quality of aviation education in Asia.
“Our planning and engagement with the aviation sector in Taiwan has been deliberate and thoughtful,” CEO of Apex Flight Academy, Wilson Kao, said. “We are fortunate and excited to have found a world class partner in Ansett, who brings highly reputable Australian training standards to the Taiwanese market.”
The success of the Taiwanese centre led to the opening of a similar centre at Milan’s Malpensa Airport last year. The shiny new school is home to four simulators – the Airbus A320, the BAe 146, the Boeing 737, and the Bombardier CL-145 – which have been selected to appeal to European tastes. In a few short months, the Milan centre has proven to be a major success.
“As one of the largest airports in the region with connections to a significant number of European and worldwide destinations, we are looking forward to welcoming pilots from across the globe to our new state of the art facility once operational,” Garside said at the time.
“We are particularly proud of Ansett’s decision to open its first flight simulation centre in Europe at Milan Malpensa airport,” added Pietro Modiano, President of Società Esercizi Aeroportuali. “Not all major airports house flight simulators and Ansett’s decision demonstrates once again that major international players see Malpensa’s development potential as an attractive prospect.”
Expansion isn’t only taking place overseas, with AAT recently partnering with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to place a simulator on the Sunshine Coast. They’re also set to open a new three-bay aviation training centre adjacent to Brisbane Airport this month.
“Ansett has been rapidly expanding overseas recently but we have also continued to significantly invest to support training in the Australian market during this time,” Garside said. “Our customers have long asked us to operate additional simulators in other Australian cities outside of Melbourne and we are delighted to announce our new Brisbane Centre, which will achieve this aim.”
The facility will host simulators for the ATR-600, Dash-8 and a Fokker F-100, and provide easier access for many Aussie pilots, as well as for pilots from Asia. With more pilots receiving expert teaching and training on these shores, it’s certainly an exciting time for the local aviation industry.
“We are getting approached constantly at the moment about potentially building other sites everywhere around the world,” Garside said. “So we’ve obviously managed to tap into a specific skill, and I think it’s partly the Australian aviation space, which is very well regarded around the world.”
SIM-PLY THE BEST
Ansett Aviation Training is home to a world-class fleet of high-tech flight simulators, meaning prospective pilots can spend a huge amount of hours dealing with real-life situations across a large number of aircraft. The 13 sims on offer are incredibly accurate recreations of the machines they represent, and allow trainees to become comfortable with the day-to-day operation of aircraft before they ever leave the ground.
Modern sims have been designed and built to provide experiences almost indiscernible from the real thing, with every detail faithfully recreated. The handling of the sims is identical to the full-sized aircraft, meaning students can easily transition from one to the other without hassle. Having the machines housed so close to the other learning facilities allows students to work through some serious hours and ensure that their flying skills are razor sharp and highly refined by graduation time.
The sims are equipped to replicate a huge array of abnormal situations, such as engine failures, fires, and mechanical malfunctions that will affect a range of operations. There’s no doubting that these are scary situations, and the ability to keep a level head and deal with them from experience, can be the difference between a safe journey home and tragedy.
The range of simulators owned and operated by AAT is truly impressive, and sure to prepare new pilots for everything a career in aviation can throw at them. The list of models is massive, and is even larger when you consider that all possible variations are able to be accommodated;
The avionics suites used in these machines are completely up-to-date and identical to those used in commercial airliners. They’re powered by a wide range of high-tech flight management systems created by companies such as Honeywell and Lear-Siegler, which are tailored to the needs of the individual aircraft. These are matched to the real-world planes, to ensure that the training experience is as authentic as possible.
Learning in one of AAT’s incredible simulators is the best way to prepare for a career in aviation. Every possible scenario can be experienced, every emergency can be prepared for, and new pilots can become veterans through hours behind the controls. When combined with AAT’s thorough courses, and the expert knowledge of their instructors, there’s never been a better time to learn how to fly.
MEET THE SIMS
Ansett Aviation Training offer a complete suite of 13 teaching simulators to cater to a wide range of pilots from across the world. From popular airliners that ferry millions of passengers between major airports, to niche aircraft more accustomed to regional routes, this facility is equipped to handle anything.
Every simulator has been built and designed by world-class manufacturers such as Flight Safety International, Rediffusion, TRU Simulation and Reflectone. These razor-sharp reproductions of the real things provide the perfect learning environment for trainee pilots, and go a long way to preparing them for a long and successful career in the aviation industry.
Airbus A320: There are three separate sims for the A320, with three different configurations, allowing for the ultimate training experience on the second-most-popular commercial aircraft in the world.
A320 Cabin Emergency Evacuation Trainer: This all-in-one emergency trainer features a complete cabin section and exterior fuselage, and can be set up to replicate a number of difficult situations. Engine failures, smoke filling the cabin… it’s a good idea to learn on the ground in case it happens in the sky!
British Aerospace 146: Whilst no Australian airlines are home to the 146, it remains popular in Asia, Europe and the Americas – so having a full sim set-up is perfect for foreign pilots, or for those who want to broaden their horizons.
Boeing 737 Classic: As the most popular airliner on the planet, the 737 is one of AAT’s most heavily-used sims. With a Lear-Siegler flight management system and Sperry SP300 autopilot, it’s got everything a budding pilot could need.
De Havilland Canada Dash 8: This twin-engin tubo-prop is flown all over the world, with Qantas operating a number for their regional routes, providing a great opportunity for pilots looking to cruise through the outback. The sim perfectly replicates the conditions experienced in this very unique aircraft.
Embraer 120: Time for something a bit more exotic. With a complete Collins autopilot system and twin Pratt and Whitney PW-118 engines, this sim is the perfect way to get a handle on this amazing Brazilian aircraft.
Fokker 100: Popular with Virgin Australia and QantasLink, many Aussie pilots’ first experience with this regional airliner has been with this simulator.
King Air 200: Smaller aircraft are also represented at AAT, including this glorious 13-seater. The turbo-prop has outsold all of its competitors combined, and is currently used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Fairchild Metro Merlin III: With seven aircraft, Toll Priority are one of the biggest operators of this twin-turboprop in the world. Fortunately, AAT’s sim comes complete with everything present in the real thing.
Saab 340: Regional Express’s entire fleet consists of 52 of these Swedish-built turboprops, and as such there’s much demand for the 340 sim and its accurate recreation of the cockpit.