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Many aspiring pilots’ primary objective is to graduate from flight school and receive their license from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). While this itself is a significant milestone, the journey to becoming a competent pilot doesn’t end with being issued a professional pilot license. Pilots must also undergo recurrent (periodic) training, or the process of continuous learning and skill development, throughout their career.

While recurrent training for pilots has been an industry standard for decades, some student pilots miss this valuable step. At times, they may feel like it isn’t as important as other types of training, such as ground school, flight training, or type rating. Some pilots in training might not be aware of recurrent training’s existence or its importance.

Regardless, it’s best to understand what recurrent training is and how it can contribute to your profession as a future aviator.

Recurrent Training Explained

Recurrent training is different from the initial pilot training you’ve completed. It focuses on maintaining and enhancing the skills and knowledge acquired during the licensing process. While initial training prepares you for your first solo flights and obtaining a license, recurrent training is an ongoing process aimed at keeping pilots up-to-date and proficient in their flying abilities. It may include type rating renewal to ensure pilots maintain their qualifications for certain aircraft types.

Additionally, recurrent training is important to mitigate risks and maintain a high standard of safety in aviation. The ongoing training offers pilots a safe, structured platform to refresh and train on potentially lifesaving skills that are not typically applied in everyday routine flights. That said, pilots who undergo recurrent training are equipped with the skills and knowledge to handle different scenarios that they may encounter.

In the Philippines, the CAAP mandates recurrent training for all licensed pilots to maintain their license and continue flying legally. Depending on the type of flying you do and the aircraft you operate, the industry standard for pilots is to undergo recurrent training every six to twelve months. Each training session can include ground and flight training, which means specific hours in a classroom and another in an aircraft.

The Role of Flight Simulators in Recurrent Training

Depending on the flight school where you will have your recurrent training, it may include the use of flight simulators. These sophisticated devices replicate real-life flying scenarios, allowing pilots to practice various maneuvers and emergency procedures without jeopardizing the safety of passengers or aircraft. Also, simulator-based recurrent training is a cost-effective and efficient way to refresh and enhance your skills and decision-making abilities.

The Benefits of Recurrent Training

Aside from being required by the CAAP, recurrent training has plenty of benefits. It won’t just enhance your aviation techniques, but it will also improve your abilities to handle emergency scenarios and ensure a safe flight each time. Here are some other benefits you can get from recurrent training:

Maintain Pilot Skill Proficiency

One of the primary benefits of recurrent training is that it allows pilots to maintain their flying skills at a high level. As mentioned previously, recurrent training provides a way for pilots to safely practice through simulation sessions or actual flying. As a result, pilots stay sharp and competent, enabling them to handle various flight maneuvers and operations with confidence and precision.

Enhance Aviation Knowledge and Understanding

Aviation is a constantly evolving industry, with new regulations, procedures, and technological advancements emerging regularly. When you undergo recurrent training, you can stay current with these changes, enhancing your understanding of best practices and the latest safety protocols.

Improve Decision-Making and Situational Awareness

During recurrent training, pilots engage in scenario-based exercises, including emergency simulations. These exercises sharpen a pilot’s ability to make quick and informed decisions in critical situations. Moreover, simulator-based training enhances situational awareness, allowing pilots to assess and respond effectively to changing flight conditions.

The Risk of Skipping Recurrent Training

When it comes to their recurrent training, many pilots are less than enthusiastic. Indeed, they will face challenging days of studying and training. While it may seem like recurrent training is a mundane, mandatory item a pilot has to check off their list, neglecting it can have negative consequences. Failing to undergo recurrent training won’t just take away your legal right to fly an aircraft, but it can also endanger the lives of the pilot and all the people onboard.

Lack of Emergency Preparedness

Many aviation techniques aren’t utilized in regular flight routines, particularly in emergencies and abnormal situations. As such, recurrent training keeps pilots proficient to ensure they can get their passengers out of trouble. Without recurrent training, pilots are ill-equipped to handle challenging scenarios effectively, potentially endangering the safety of passengers and crew.

Impact on Aviation Safety

Skipping recurrent training goes beyond individual pilot performance since it can have broader implications for aviation safety. Without regular training, pilots fail to contribute to a safer flying environment, increasing the likelihood of accidents and incidents.

Recurrent training is an integral part of a pilot’s professional journey. It ensures that pilots remain proficient, informed, and prepared to handle any situation that may arise during flight. By meeting regulatory requirements and embracing recurrent training, pilots create a safer flying environment for everyone.