A division of Boeing is adopting a new system for training pilots that embodies some lean principles.
Boeing, of course, has a long history of pursuing a lean strategy. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Alteon Training, is launching something called the Multi-Crew Pilot Licensing (MPL) program.
The intent is to train pilots in less time and at less cost than has traditionally been the case.
According to Marsha Bell, vice president of First Officer Program at Alteon, traditional pilot training has included a requirement that a pilot acquire a certain number of hours of training and flight time.
Instead, “we encouraged an examination of what needed to be trained, rather than an arbitrary hour figure,”
In another example, training traditionally has focused on a student first becoming proficient as a single pilot in a plane, then as part of a crew. But “that’s not how airlines crew their airplanes,”
High demand for pilots is what prompted creation of the MPL program. Boeing projects 35,000 total commercial aircraft worldwide by 2024, meaning airlines will need to employ more than 17,000 jet-ready pilots each year. In
Initially, six students are being trained under an MPL beta program at facilities in
While lean is apparently not part of the MPL vocabulary, the streamlining of the process certainly sounds a lot like a lean approach, as does the willingness to go beyond traditional methods – which
By the way, technology is also a key part of the new approach. Simulators have become so realistic, according to