Captain Willem Marais, general manager of Rabigh Wings Aviation Academy (RWAA), said: “Like all aviation, we were brought to halt on March 20. No training was possible whatsoever.
“We have used the time to prepare lots of improvements in our virtual flight-training capabilities and will present them to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) for approval soon.
“Our operational staff also kept themselves busy with online courses, including International Air Transport Association (IATA) training in safety management systems (SMS), quality management systems (QMS) and auditing.
“Our aircraft were preserved as per manufacturer specifications and requirements and will now be brought back to full operational service.
“We are busy implementing full Covid-19 protocols and have taken all the required steps to adhere to the very strict guidelines as issued.”
RWAA will be setting strict measures to ensure safety for flight-training. These include certified flying instructors (CFIs) being allocated one aircraft (tail number) that only he/she will fly for a 14-day period.
Cadets will be allocated to CFIs in groups of four and training will be controlled in these cadet groups.
Classroom training will be limited to the minimum and virtual training will be investigated continuously.
Normal sanitation protocols have been implemented for all facilities, aircraft and simulator.
RWAA was Saudi Arabia’s first aviation academy, set up to train new pilots from private to professional. Last year it started on a major upgrade to its fleet, accepting delivery of a second Tecnam P2006T twin-engine trainer.
“We firmly believe that with a Tecnam fleet we can reduce training costs dramatically and our aim is to complete a 240-hour multi-engine commercial pilot’s licence (ME-CPL) in 14-16 months, which is in line with the worldwide market,” said Marais.
“Currently, we teach private pilot licence (PPL), instrument rating (IR), multi-engine (ME) and commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) as well as flight instructor rating.
“Facilities include three classrooms, a fully operational flight dispatch room (ops room), seven instructor cubicles, a crew resting facility, as well as adequate office space.
“In Jeddah, we have a fully operational fixed-base operation (FBO), which includes two classrooms, a marketing office, as well as administration and financial offices. As most our clients are from Jeddah, the first 6-8 weeks of PPL ground-school are presented there.”
Stay up to date
Subscribe to the free Times Aerospace newsletter and receive the latest content every week. We'll never share your email address.