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Since the 1970s, Airbus has become one of the major aircraft manufacturers in the world. The company is a trusted name when it comes to narrowbody and widebody commercial aircraft. It also delivers more airplanes in a year than other companies. This explains why you’ll notice Airbus aircraft in service for many airline companies around the world. That said, type rating for Airbus planes is also a popular course in every top pilot school here in the Philippines and abroad.

While you may be familiar with Airbus as an aerospace manufacturing company, there are many interesting pieces of information you may not know about the successful company and its aircraft. With that, here are six fun facts that you may not know about Airbus

Airbus Began as a Consortium of the European Aerospace Industry

Airbus was founded to enter the competitive aerospace industry, which was then dominated by American manufacturers like the Boeing Company, Lockheed Corporation, and McDonnell Douglas. The company was formed with several European aerospace corporations in 1970. It developed its first aircraft, the A300 to compete with popular jets of that time.

The A300 was truly a collaborative effort and brought out the best in European aerospace corporations. France led the construction of the cockpit and central fuselage, while West Germany was responsible for other fuselage sections. The aircraft’s wings were manufactured in the UK, the flaps and spoilers were sourced in Holland, and the tailplane came from Spain. This sense of cooperation among different European companies continues to this day.

Airbus Uses a Proprietary Numbering System

When it comes to identifying its aircraft, Airbus uses a proprietary numbering system different from other aerospace manufacturers. The company also developed the system to make it easier to distinguish aircraft models from each other, their parts, and their engines.

Each airplane is given an alphanumeric string to determine the family of the Airbus it belongs to. It’s then followed by a dash and a three-number code, with the fifth digit representing improvements made to the preceding series. For example, the A310-300 has 20% extra range compared to its A310-100 predecessor. The sixth digit in the aircraft code determines its engine manufacturer, while the seventh digit signifies the engine variant used on the aircraft. This kind of unique numbering system also makes Airbus planes easy to recognize by different organizations.

Every Airbus Cockpit Layout Is Similar to Each Other

Many manufacturers have different strategies when marketing their aircraft. Airbus, for example, uses the commonality among its aircraft as a unique selling point. Since Airbus introduced the A320, the company has used almost identical cockpit layouts across their narrowbody and widebody aircraft cockpits. The design certainly became advantageous for the company’s customers and pilots.

It allows pilots to easily operate aircraft within the same family. They won’t have to acquire new training for it too. Also, the commonality among Airbus cockpits makes cross-training crews simpler. Pilots can quickly fly new aircraft types and switch between them, which provides airline companies with greater fleet flexibility.

Airbus First Introduced the Fly-By-Wire Commercial Airplane

Through the decades, many aerospace manufacturers have made improvements in commercial jets such as their efficiency, technology, and passenger comfort. But one of the most significant advances was the transition to fly-by-wire technology, which Airbus first introduced. It replaced the manual hydraulic controls and gave way to electronic controls.

Essentially, fly-by-wire lets pilots use computer-controlled actions to send corresponding electrical signals to the flight control surface movements. Using such a system helps the aircraft become more fuel efficient because the technology is lighter than the bulkier mechanical controls. It also reduced the workload for pilots due to the less complex system. Since the launch of the fly-by-wire technology on the A320 in 1987, Airbus has used it on all its aircraft.

Airbus Built the Largest Commercial Plane

Most notably, Airbus manufactured the largest commercial aircraft known as the A380. It’s 72.7 meters long, weighs 560 tons, and has a maximum take-off weight of 1,235 kilopounds. The aircraft also has two decks and can offer a three-class capacity of 544. In an all-economy layout, the massive plane can seat 868 passengers.

While its size made the A380 an impressive engineering marvel, the aircraft didn’t get the commercial success Airbus was hoping for. Many airlines shifted to using smaller and more efficient aircraft, even for long-haul journeys. Nevertheless, the launch of the A380 is an important milestone for aviation.

The Company Also Develops Military Aircraft and Helicopters

While you may know Airbus for its fleet of commercial aircraft, the company also manufactures military jets and helicopters. The company has products for civilian and military use in 150 countries, making Airbus the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world. When it comes to its military contributions, Airbus has global contracts with militaries—including the US—to supply jets and helicopters. The company is also a partner in the Eurofighter military jet development.

Indeed, the Airbus company is one of the major aircraft manufacturers in the world today. You may not know it, but it also had its fair share of challenges as a company and notable contributions to the aerospace industry. However, its reputation as one of the most reliable and innovative aircraft manufacturers today has cemented its name in aviation history. Hopefully, these fun facts can help you gain fresh insights into Airbus’s success and its aircraft.

Pilot Training

There are many reasons why a lot of people dream of becoming commercial airline pilots. Not only does the aviation industry pay their pilots well, but the job also lets you fly a state-of-the-art aircraft and travel around the world. From an outsider’s perspective, working in the aviation sector is an illustrious career. However, what many don’t know is that being a co-pilot or a pilot captain of a commercial airline is a demanding job.

When aspiring pilots enroll in their chosen pilot school, the school will prepare them for the responsibilities commercial airline pilots have to oversee. Some of these obligations include conducting complete pre-flight checkups, ensuring the usability of aircraft instruments, analyzing flight plans, and determining which route is the safest to take for their flights. The students are also trained to navigate through the skies under various weather conditions, from bright sunny days to powerful storms. What’s more, aviation schools make sure that their students are ready to bear the responsibility of transporting their future passengers to their destinations as safely as possible.

Learning about the many roles a pilot has to perform can be overwhelming. And as someone who’s preparing for their pilot training, you can get stressed just thinking about what to expect during your sessions. Nevertheless, if your passion to becoming a commercial airline pilot is stronger than your doubts, then you’ll be able to pass your training with flying colors. To help strengthen your resolve, here are five things you can do to mentally and physically prepare yourself for pilot training.

Exercise Regularly

Pilots need to stay alert when taking to the skies, so to help keep their memories and reflexes sharp, they need to make it a point to exercise regularly. Adding more physical activity to your lifestyle will strengthen your body and improve your brain function. It can also give you more energy and boost your mood significantly, so you’ll feel less sluggish and irritable after sitting in the cockpit for hours. You don’t have to do strenuous exercise to stay in shape for your pilot training. A light workout, a quick run or walk around the park, as well as a short bike ride are enough to keep you physically and mentally fit.

Eat Healthier Meals

To ensure that you have the energy to get through all your pilot training sessions, you have to start eating healthier foods. Avoiding unhealthy meals and incorporating more healthy foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables) into your diet is an excellent way to keep your mind and body strong. Eating the right foods can also lower your risk of developing health problems like coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and diabetes. Medical conditions such as these can disqualify you from being a pilot.

Quit Your Vices

There’s a reason why doctors say that smoking and drinking are bad for your health. Not only can nicotine and alcohol leave irreparable damage to your body, but they can also be a detriment to your mental health. Even if a lot of people say that smoking and drinking help lower their stress levels, the relief they receive is temporary. This is because studies show that smoking and drinking increase stress and psychological distress after consumption.

If you’re the type of person who turns to smoking and drinking to help you stay calm, it’s the perfect time to quit your vices. Smoking and drinking regularly may impair your judgment and affect your performance during pilot training. If you’re having trouble coping with stress, there are healthier ways to manage it. Some of these examples include meditation, taking enough breaks, and making time for your hobbies.

Get Enough Rest

Getting enough sleep is invaluable whether you’re a student pilot or a full-fledged pilot. When your mind and body are fully rested, you’ll be able to process information better and make fewer mistakes during your training. Lack of sleep can make you lose focus, so you’ll have difficulty paying attention during your training. Being sleep-deprived also makes you less aware of your actions, putting your life, as well as your instructor’s life, in danger.

Talk about Your Concerns with Your Instructor

It’s normal to feel nervous when you’re preparing for your flight training exercises, especially if it’s your first time. However, if you let your nerves get to you, you’ll worry more about your performance and lose focus on your training. Anxiety can increase your breathing and heart rate, which can place a lot of stress on your body. It can also give you feelings of dread, causing you to start questioning your capabilities as a student pilot.

When you feel anxious and worried about your training, it’s good to share your concerns with your flight instructor, who can sympathize and understand your situation. Your instructor has been in your shoes once before, so they know what it’s like to feel nervous before going into flight training. Being open about your worries can make your instructor aware of your current physical, mental, and emotional state. This way, your instructor can give you words of support and tips on how to do well in your training to help shake your anxieties away.

Doing well in your flight exercises is a crucial part of earning your pilot license. However, there are a lot of factors that can affect your physical and mental well-being when preparing for your pilot training. Fortunately, these five tips can help keep you calm and healthy, so you can be ready to crush your pilot training sessions.

New APP and FOP cadets post with the AAGP and AICAT management and training teams during the induction ceremony at the AAG Simulator Training Center in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines – Another batch of eight (8) cadets were inducted to the AAG Airline Pilot Program (APP), while another cadet was also inducted to the AAG First Officer Preparation (FOP) Program on 22 November 2022. This is the 6th intake for the two flagship training programs since January 2022. Two (2) more intakes are scheduled for January 2023 and March 2023.

In his remarks, Cristopher Magdangal (AAG Regional Director, Asia Pacific) reaffirmed the Group’s commitment to develop the most competent first officers for the airline industry. “This is why we employ a cadet assessment tool to measure applicant attributes prior to admission. Your profiles serve as guide for our instructors in coaching and mentoring as you go though your training. This is also why we have adopted ICAO’s CBTA (Competency Based Training and Assessment) philosophy across all training modules and phases to better prepare you for a life and career in the airlines,” Magdangal underscored.

“The key to a successful pilot training is partnership and communication between cadets and instructors. You need to be very open with your instructors, not letting any lesson pass without understanding the principles behind every exercise,” Magdangal added.

Justin Kenneth Sazon (Safety Officer) provides safety briefing for the new APP and FOP cadets at the AICAT Ground School in San Fernando Airport, La Union, Philippines

The APP dubbed as the “Zero to Hero” program covers CPL-IR-ATPL Theory-A320 Type Rating while the FOP covers CPL-IR. The CPL-IR phase is delivered by the AAG International Center for Aviation Training (AICAT) stationed in San Fernando Airport, La Union while the A320 Type Rating phase is conducted at the AAG Philippines (AAGP) Simulator Training Center in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. AICAT operates the largest fleet of basic flight trainer aircraft in the country (32 Cessna C172 and one Tecnam P2006T multi-engine) while AAGP also operates the largest and most-advanced fleet of simulator training devices in the country (three FFS, four FBS, one IPT). (AAG Corporate Affairs)

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines – Five veteran airline pilots were inducted to the AAGP Synthetic Flight Instructor Course (SFIC) on 09 November 2022 at the AAG Simulator Training Center, bringing to more than 70 the number of SFIs trained since the course was rolled out in 2016.

The latest version of AAG’s SFIC introduced a couple of years ago can be considered revolutionary – one among the numerous training programs and courses which went through careful study and enhancement by the AAG Training Solutions Development and Review Committees (TSDRC).

Experienced pilots wanting to level-up their game as aviation professionals will find AAGP’s SFIC as a most suitable training solution.

On top of the hard skills necessary to develop trainees’ competencies as instructors, the current SFIC provides additional focus on the learning process, teaching and feedback techniques in classroom (including distance/blended learning modality), simulator and real aircraft environments.

The SFIC does not only include review lessons on Airbus operational philosophy and aircraft systems. More importantly, the course covers lessons on teaching and learning, Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBTA), Human Factors for Instructors, and CRM for Instructors.

Perhaps the most game-changing component of the course are the Role Playing Workshop and the 16 hours of Role Playing Sessions during which the competency of trainee-instructors in developing or applying appropriate instructional techniques are tested using a simulated A320 Type Rating Transition Course session scenario. (AAG Corporate Affairs)

Flight simulators or flight training devices are vital tools for individuals who are training to become pilots. They mimic different flight sensations and conditions that pilots will most likely encounter. They then use these augmented simulations to practice instrument skills and challenging maneuvers.

A lot of flight schools use simulator training as part of their training programs. They typically have training facilities where simulators are housed. These flight simulators look like full-size cockpits, which are mounted on hydraulic actuators. During the training, flight instructors observe their students’ application of flight controls as well as the effects on the aircraft system.

To further understand the value of flight simulators, here are some other important points on how these tools contribute to training competent pilots.

They Are Safe

One of the main advantages of flight simulators is that they provide the safest way for pilots to train. Even if students practice flying with a certified flight instructor, they’ll be safer when on the ground than they are thousands of feet in the air. With this in mind, simulators allow students to learn and experiment with different aircraft controls and flight methods safely. They don’t need to worry about damaging the aircraft or making detrimental mistakes, which may risk their lives.

Cadets aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using a flight simulator. Even more seasoned pilots can use the simulator to improve their flying skills safely and become more proficient in unique flying situations before experiencing them in real life.

They Provide Real-Life Training Experience

AAG Flight Simulators

Simulators can provide students with a realistic learning environment. Many flight simulators are mounted on hydraulics that mimics startling and unexpected movement inside the cockpit. This provides students the opportunity to practice the diagnostic and troubleshooting process in life-like situations. So even if a student has few training hours on an actual aircraft, they are familiar with the common process they’ll likely encounter once they’re flying.

Pilots Experience Various Weather Conditions

Simulator training gives pilots a way to experience flying in different weather conditions at any time. The pilots won’t just get exposed to flying in local weather, they can also get familiarized with flying methods in other conditions like blizzards.

Also, the simulator can recreate any weather conditions over different terrains. So, students can practice the appropriate flying and landing techniques whether there’s rain, wind, or snow. Additionally, flight simulators can be a learning alternative in case an aerial lesson is grounded. Students can continue with their lessons and can stay on track with their learning progress.

They Prepare Pilots for In-Flight Emergencies

Pilots need to be prepared for anything, including emergencies. Since flight simulators can recreate various scenarios, they can provide a learning environment with similar in-air failures and risky circumstances without the real danger. These scenarios can include engine problems, electrical malfunctions, and maneuver mistakes.

While the proper procedures for these situations are already outlined in their flight manuals, students are given a first-person point of view of how to handle these emergencies in flight simulators. During the simulation, students can practice identifying, assessing, and responding to urgent situations. They also learn how to avoid dangerous scenarios.

They Offer a Stress-Free Learning Environment

Simulator

Being responsible for an aircraft, no matter the size can be nerve-wracking—especially for new students. Often, people make more mistakes because they are anxious and nervous. Since flight simulators recreate different flight scenarios, students can practice and hone their skills in a safe and controlled environment. By knowing that they are on the ground, students are also calmer and can focus more on their training. They also won’t be too worried about making mistakes and can have more time learning from them.

Using flight simulators is an effective way to train pilots. They augment real-life flying scenarios without the actual dangers. This helpful training tool allows pilots to practice flight skills and instrument controls in a safe and controlled environment. Students are able to calmly execute maneuvers and standard protocol in a flight simulator, and they have better chances of learning and becoming more confident in their skills.