Most jobs require some type of specialised coaching, and changing into a flight attendant is definitely one in every of them.
Principally, flight attendants should be taught all in regards to the detailed security procedures and mechanisms on board an plane. From fireplace security and working an exit door to deploying a life raft and different procedures, budding flight attendants have heaps to be taught.
That’s earlier than even contemplating mastering the inflight service procedures, which will be fairly intensive on a number of the world’s prime airways.
I not too long ago had an opportunity to go to Etihad’s headquarters, only a stone’s throw away from the airline’s mega-hub on the Abu Dhabi Worldwide Airport (AUH) within the United Arab Emirates.
The workplace itself is kind of fascinating for any aviation fanatic, with loads of mannequin planes, plane components and aviation-themed memorabilia on show.
Along with conferences with airline administration, I additionally toured the on-site aviation coaching heart.
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ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Turning into a flight attendant begins within the classroom. That’s the place you be taught lots of the fundamentals earlier than getting some hands-on expertise on the aviation coaching heart.
There are various lecture rooms all through the campus at Etihad’s headquarters, they usually look similar to one thing you’d discover at a college. Classes right here cowl lots of the fundamentals of plane security, first help and repair procedures, they usually’re often led by senior pursers and specifically skilled facilitators.
After finishing the “core curriculum,” if you’ll, it’s time to get hands-on expertise within the numerous coaching simulators.
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In fact, an airline may theoretically conduct such a coaching utilizing actual planes on the airport, however that’d be prohibitively costly. Not solely would the airplane must be on the bottom (and never flying with paying passengers), however it could additionally require a considerable sum of money to observe with its exit slides.
That is as a result of when you deploy a raft on an actual airplane, folding it up and placing it again on the airplane isn’t as straightforward as packing up an inflatable sleeping bag or air mattress.
As an alternative, most main airways have simulations of all these required security and repair procedures at a flight coaching heart. Smaller airways might not have as intensive of an aviation coaching heart as Etihad, so the Abu Dhabi-based service additionally rents time at its facility to different carriers.
Mocking up a complete airplane at a coaching heart would price tens of millions, so these coaching simulations are carried out on modules meant to duplicate smaller subsections of an airplane.
Take exit door coaching as an example. Etihad has a couple of several types of doorways at its aviation coaching heart, every resembling an plane and door sort that it operates in its fleet. The Airbus A320 door coach options three rows of seats with an over-wing exit door, in addition to a typical exit door on the entrance.
Right here, instructors can simulate any sort of emergency scenario and educate new hires learn how to function the door safely in all circumstances.
Behind this coaching module is a fireplace security demonstration. That’s the place flight attendants obtain hands-on expertise with fireplace extinguishers and discover ways to correctly don a life vest, which is demonstrated on a model.
Some emergencies require evacuating a completely loaded plane in as little as 90 seconds. This requires environment friendly use of the slides and exit doorways and is simulated in what appears to be like like a gymnastics heart.
As an alternative of beams and vaults, there are two exit slides that land on padded mats. Right here, flight attendants discover ways to evacuate an plane effectively.
There’s even a particular model of this coach designed for the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane. Though Etihad’s A380s are nonetheless in long-term storage (with no replace but on whether or not these planes may return to service), the airline nonetheless has coaching modules for this whale of a jet.
Some emergency evacuations happen on land whereas others are on the water. Flight attendants study water landings within the classroom, then flip their studying into observe on the swimming pool.
To simulate a water touchdown, Etihad’s coaching facility has a large pool with slide rafts which have already been deployed.
Whereas that covers a lot of the safety-related coaching, Etihad’s flight attendants even have heaps to study service supply. The Abu Dhabi-based service is thought to be one of many world’s finest, partially because of a well-above-average onboard service delivered by flight attendants.
To be taught extra about learn how to ship service, flight attendants observe in cabin mockups on the aviation coaching heart. Etihad has a couple of miniature variations of first-, business- and economy-class cabins for this objective.
Whereas the seats themselves aren’t absolutely useful (as they’re not related to energy), these cabin mockups are an effective way to observe learn how to ship meals, ask for drink orders and function galley carts.
The galleys and kitchen are precise replicas of what you’d discover on the airplane itself. The airline has coaching cabins for the Airbus A320, in addition to the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner, which comprise a lot of the service’s fleet.
After studying all the protection and repair supply procedures, flight attendants then full a number of ground-based examinations to make sure competence with every of the important thing obligations.
Assuming that they go, they get their wings and begin flying as a trainee on a couple of income flights.
Inside weeks, they formally be part of the ranks of Etihad flight attendants and proceed to return again to the aviation coaching heart for recurring coaching and to study up to date procedures and tips.
So, the following time you hear that “flight attendants are primarily right here to your security,” now you’ve an inside take a look at what which means — and what how they be taught to make sure it.