Mesa, Arizona-based Aviation Performance Solutions (APS) says it will offer upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) for commercial aviation pilots using a Douglas A-4 Skyhawk strike aircraft. The small, single-engined jet was formerly operated by the US Navy and Marine Corps over Vietnam.
"The APS addition of the A-4 Skyhawk to our highly-acclaimed integrated UPRT training solutions launches a new era in the industry's crusade against LOC-I [loss of control in-flight], the number one threat to the air safety of the travelling public," says Paul Ransbury, the company's president, who is a highly experienced instructor pilot who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
APS also offers a number of UPRT courses flying the Extra 300. To enrol in the Skyhawk-based course, a student must complete training in the Extra 300, Ransbury says.
"It's not really about differences as the Extra 300 programme is a mandatory pre-requisite to the A-4 programme," he says. "The A-4 programme is much like the reason we integrate the Level D simulator into our services. The goal is to give the client first-hand experience in upsets in conditions as similar as possible to both the airplane they fly and the conditions they fly in."
The driving force behind the jet-based training is to make students understand high-altitude stalls.
"The A-4 offers pilots an opportunity to witness not only the transfer of skill into a real jet airplane, giving them further transfer of skill confidence, but to also perform upset and stall training in the regimes where they spend most of their career - above FL300 [30,000ft/9,150m]," Ransbury says.
"It is important to keep in mind that the A-4 is not a core programme, it is an opportunity for pilots to take the next step into a regime of flight operations they have never experienced."