Let’s face it, aviation training is expensive and often too complicated.
If we could measure the lack of efficiency and costs associated with training requirements for pilots and staff, it would be the hot topic in management meetings.
Aviation organizations might recognize these issues but don’t know where to begin. In this article, let’s look at some ideas that will reshape the way we look at training and give you some options to think about.
This is certainly not a new topic but a very important and valuable one to discuss. In my opinion, there is simply not a better tool to make an immediate impact on your training environment Here are some reasons why:
Having an e-learning site allows you to train employees at any time from any place.
A typical model of training is to have employees (often pilots) travel to the headquarters to complete their initial and recurrent training. The expense and time related to this is often a major hidden cost. Imagine if your crewmembers could complete a significant amount of their training prior to arriving for their checking event or your newest pilot getting a jump on initial training prior to the classroom. The simple fact is that the sooner they get back to line flying, the less you are spending on training and the quicker they are making money flying. Creating a shorter footprint for training without relaxing standards is the key!
Disseminating regulatory or internal changes
Another great feature of e-learning is the ability to disseminate information quickly with the ability to record what was accomplished. This might include new FAA requirements or policy and procedure changes within your organization
Consider the FAA requirement several years ago that all pilots had to complete Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) training within a specific time frame. For most organizations, the only way to accomplish this was to bring instructors to the crews or get the crews back to the classroom. Again, lots of travel and not cost effective.
With an e-learning system it’s simple –
- design your training in PowerPoint (or similar),
- upload it to your site,
- send notifications to your employees to login and complete
- record the results
This solution is perfect for any company changes as well. Perhaps you have an important flight crew bulletin or change to a standard operating procedure that you want viewed and acknowledged. Find an e-learning system that allows you to load you own content and you are all set.
Paper is Out
Another critical item in managing training processes is record keeping. Under Part 91 and 135, the regulations are strict in what records must be kept but flexible in how to record them.
I continue to be amazed by the amount of recordkeeping that is done on paper, often with no backup and no organization. No one wants a letter of investigation from the FAA nor the fines that can come from non-compliance, yet many companies do not have a method to manage due dates, flight time/duty time, etc.
It’s a little like playing Russian roulette. Just one unannounced inspection and things can unravel quickly.
The important thing here is to ensure that your records are being stored electronically and backed up.
Paper is survivable but only if an electronic method is used in addition. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet but I recommend investigating online training management options. Two important things to consider:
- Is the tool I’m using easy to use and understand?
Missing a due date because the software is too difficult to read and understand is counterproductive.
- Can I view and get reports about current status as well as future status?
Make sure the solution can show you immediately who is current, non-current, in their due month, etc. Training needs to be planned well to be efficient and a good managing tool can help.
- Can I store electronic copies of forms?
Having copies of forms such as licenses, medicals and training records stored electronically within the same system is a big plus. Not only are you protected because these records are stored in a database but everyone will know where to produce them if needed. Good organization leads to efficiency and a smoother operation.
How to investigate options
As you begin to look at options, focus on the following:
- Using Software as a Service (SaaS)
Your solution should be a “plug and play” type system that is accessible online and does not involve your IT department.
Employees and Administrators should be able to access the system using different browsers and different methods including laptops, iPads and mobile devices
- Value to Price
Am I using the functionality I am paying for? Too often I have seen operators paying for a training system and only using 40% to 50% of its functionality. Search for a solution where you are only paying for what you are using.
- Scalability & Flexibility
The solutions you look at should be able to grow with you as your company changes. You should also have the flexibility of maintaining your database and records for employees that move on to other opportunities. This is not only a regulatory requirement but turnover can be common in the industry.
The Single Most Important Factor
Go with a company that understands your business and can help you in terms of using the products to your advantage. There are a million training management and LMS companies out there. Very few understand aviation and are willing to invest the time to teach you how to use it.
Good luck in your quest to modernize your training processes!