At the end of October Airbus announced that they have obtained a common type rating for their A330’s and A350 XWB’s; but in concrete terms what does this mean ?
Simply put, the US and European civil aviation authorities recently decided that the piloting and handling qualities of the A330 and A350 XWB were similar enough to allow pilots of these aircraft to transfer from one to the other without having to take a full conversion course.
From now on, instead of the 23 days’ training normally required for a pilot with no knowledge of the fly-by-wire controls of the Airbus family, an A330 pilot now only needs eight days to take the controls of an A350 XWB by undergoing “differences training” only.
Launched by Boeing in the mid 80’s and followed up by Airbus in the early 90’s, the pilot differences training, a sort of of 'bridge' between different aircraft from the same manufacturer is not new, the great novelty lies in the absence of training on a ground-based full-flight-simulator.
With this common type rating gained by Airbus, A330 pilots will only need four sessions on an instruments only Flight Training Device to be become operational on an A350 XWB. In terms of crew training, this represents significant time and money savings for airlines.
Primary beneficiaries of this accelerated flight training on A350 XWB’s, will be Qatar Airways pilots, due to receive their first unit in less than a month. Those of Vietnam Airlines are next on the list.