I have been a member of Air Canada’s Airbus A320 (formerly Canadian Airlines) Training Department for 5 years. I was fortunate to be selected for the position on the basis of interest, past experience as a Company Check Pilot with Canadian Regional Airlines and recommendation.
My duties are varied and are scheduled on a monthly basis by a co. training scheduler who is fairly flexible with respect to granting us our days off requests, etc. As an Instructor, I am scheduled for a maximum of 11 days per month in the simulator doing either Transition Training (initial training on pilots’ transitioning to the Airbus from other aircraft types) or Recurrent Training and Loft Sessions for Airbus qualified pilots. All simulator sessions regardless of the type of training are scheduled for a 1.5 hr. classroom briefing followed by a 3.5 hr. simulator session. The A320 Simulator is very modern and realistic to the aircraft itself. In order for the company to maintain a department that is consistent in its approach to training, we are required to do periodic Instructor Training Workshops and be monitored at least once annually in both the classroom and simulator by a supervisor.
Generally, our instructors are required to work 15 “productive” days per month. We often fly by displacement – sending scheduled line pilots home when we want to complete our monthly line flying. 4 days or so of actual line flying completes our minimum 15 day work-month. The benefit here is that we are allowed to choose the trips and the destinations for these competency line trips.
Instructors within the organization are paid a premium as are Company Check Pilots to a maximum of $2000.00 per month in addition to contractual salary and also enjoy a daily meal and travel expense on those days that you are required to work in the simulator (11 days/month). In addition, holidays for instructors are scheduled within the training department and as such we enjoy summer vacations and time-off during Christmas, etc where this may not be possible from a seniority position as a line-pilot.
For individuals who are genuinely interested in this type of work, who like to meet new people regularly and get along well with people, this can be a very rewarding position. It also is good for family life as you still work and fly for an airline but do not have to overnight away from home as much, and as mentioned above, you can expect to be home for Christmas and summer holiday periods.
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