Colin Rydon

Developing the Airline Ready Pilot

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Colin Rydon, MBA FRAeS, Vice President Training, Standards & Development | Head of Training, L3 Commercial Aviation

Over my 18 year management career and 30 years flying experience, I have been lucky enough to have touched most functions of an airline and training organization. I started my flying career with British Airways (BA) where I flew the B737, B757, B767, B747-100/200 and B747-400. I became involved in all forms of pilot training and examining and was a TRI/TRE/SE on a number of aircraft. Being passionate about training and the desire to drive standards higher I became involved in management at BA. I held a number of different management positions at BA before leaving after 20 years’ service. Following BA I enjoyed a number of years at easyJet where I held a number of management roles whilst flying and training on the A320 as a TRI/TRE/SE. In 2013 I moved to Jetstar as Head of Flight Operations/Chief Pilot and I completed my Hong Kong and Singapore ATPLs along with my Hong Kong TRI/TRE. I returned to the UK as Director of Flight Operations at Flybe flying the Dash 8 turboprop, but managing a fleet of ATR, Bombardier and Embraer aircraft.I joined L3 in 2017. My current role is Vice President Training, Standards & Development | Head of Training at L3 Commercial Aviation. I am responsible for all airline training across the globe with training centers in the UK, US and Thailand. I am delighted to be able to focus my energy now on the next generation of commercial pilots and to look to help drive standards of commercial pilot training to the highest possible level. During my career I have amassed over 10,000 flying hours and am still training and examining on the A320.

Developing the Airline Ready Pilot

What defines a new pilot as ready for their first job at a commercial airline? They obviously require the technical competence in order to fly the aircraft but much more is needed. How important is the multi-crew behaviour they exhibit, what understanding of safety do they require and how much of an airline culture is needed?Authorities in different regions of the globe have differing opinions on the matter, as do the airlines who will ultimately employ these pilots. However, consistently delivering cadet pilots who are ‘airline ready’ from day one will be critical to addressing the pilot shortage. This will not only ensure they’re effective at the start of their profession, it will enable them to develop faster within the airline with the skills to take command more quickly.