Captain Alison Faddis

Director, Flight Standards, Horizon Air

Captain Alison Faddis is the Director, Flight Standards for Horizon Air. She has flown for Horizon since 2000, and has held varied leadership roles in training, regulatory compliance, and as the Director of Operations and System Chief Pilot. In her current role, she oversees both the Q400 and E175 fleet operating procedures and programs, as well as all check pilot activity for the airline. She holds an ATP certificate with type ratings in the DHC-8, ERJ-170 and ERJ-190.

She has served on numerous committees, including appointment as the Regional Airline Association’s Regional Operations Council Chairperson, Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) Accreditation Team Member, and Angel Flight West Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Horizon Air, Ali was a CFI and then a Part 135 pilot in the Idaho Backcountry. She holds a B.A. from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and an MBA from University of Washington’s Foster School of Business in Seattle, WA.


Applying the Theory of Constraints to a Regional Airline Training Pipeline

Approaching the summer of 2017, Horizon Air found itself not only impacted by the pilot shortage, but also facing a bottlenecked training pipeline. Our new hire pilot training classes had not been filled to capacity since the spring of 2016. But even more impactful to our operation were the constraints that made our training footprint impossible to achieve as planned. Those pilots that were hired and assigned new hire class dates were not getting qualified in the planned timeframe, in many cases with no scheduled duty for weeks between the three stages of our training pipeline: ground school, simulator training, and operating experience (OE). In June 2017 we canceled numerous daily flights due to lack of flightdeck crewmembers, and by the end of August 2017 had canceled 886 flights for that reason year-to-date. An analytics team was assembled to identify the constraints, put corrective actions in place to manage them, and create an efficient training process.

First the team gathered data on trainees, instructors, check airmen and equipment to determine the key throughput constraints in those stages, and now acute they were. From there, they could determine the maximum expected throughput. Dashboards were created to determine trainee throughput predictions given key inputs, and to model the impact of instructor allocation among key stages. The impact of data analysis brought some immediate relief. For example, the Training department reallocated instructors from the simulator to the procedure trainer, resulting in an increase in pilots per month being released from required operating experience. 

This presentation will present how the Theory of Constraints was applied to Horizon Air’s training pipeline to improve efficiency.