Turbine Engine Training
Taking advantage of manufacturer provided courses
By Joe Escobar
Training — it’s part of our everyday work environment. Our initial training to get our A&P certificate was extensive and provided us with the basic knowledge to perform our jobs. Once we entered the workforce, we were provided with training specific to the systems we would be working on. This may have been in the form of formal classroom or hands-on training to having a seasoned mechanic show us the ropes. We were now ready to start turning wrenches.
But alas, the training didn’t stop there. The nature of the career we have chosen is that training will always be an issue. If we are to perform our duties safely, it is imperative that we stay current on all the latest technologies as they develop. In most cases, those who excel in their aviation careers are the ones who make an extra effort to educate themselves through regular training. It is a trait that led many of us enter the aviation field in the first place — we love working on aircraft and we want to learn how stuff works.
There are many ways to receive training. Many companies have their own training department. Although in-house training is a valuable tool for maintenance personnel, there are other options available to help enhance your knowledge. There are various training choices — from online courses to aircraft systems and troubleshooting training from companies like FlightSafety or SimuFlite. This article will concentrate on one aspect of available training — training courses offered by some turbine engine manufacturers.
Honeywell's computer simulation
ECB computer simulation
Computers have become invaluable tools for training. An example of how computers are enhancing the training process is Honeywell's computer simulation programs. The TPE 3321 simulation pictured has active controls like switches and power levers, and corresponding responses from indication lights and gauges, allowing the technician to go through all the steps of normal operation and fault isolation on computer. The ECB simulation illustrated helps technicians learn how to interrogate the ECB unit while at the same time showing the corresponding spot in the maintenance manual matrix he is in. Once familiar with the interrogation process, the matrix part can be turned off, allowing the technician to use only the maintenance manual as he would actually do in the field.
Honeywell Aerospace Academy
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Honeywell Aerospace Academy offers various training courses on Propulsion, APU, Avionics, ECS, Components, in addition to numerous related courses throughout the year. Don Ross, a Propulsion Instructor for the Academy, says that the training is beneficial to all levels of mechanics. "We offer three levels of courses. There are introductory level courses that are basically familiarization classes, intermediate level or line level, and the third level which is basically for our Service Center and overhaul type customers."
John Casey, an APU Instructor at the Academy, explains that most technicians who attend their training start off at the line level courses. "These are the guys that have been working in the field as a line mechanic for the last 15 years," says Casey. "They don’t need to go to school to be told ’This is a turbine.’ We can skip that and go right in to line level courses. They can go out there and learn to recognize faulty components and change them such as fuel controls or pumps, sensors, and other line replaceable items."
Ross adds, "With an understanding on the troubleshooting process, they are able to identify what components in a given system might be replacement items or adjustable." The Academy is able to offer many different learning environments. They offer traditional instruction in the classroom and hands-on training on engines. In addition, they have developed computer-based training software. It is this new, computer-based training that they are excited about expanding. With tight schedules to meet and manpower concerns, some companies can’t afford to send groups of employees off for extended training. Computer-based training like interactive CD’s or even Internet-based training are viable choices. We’re trying to expand that even further to where we’ll have real-time, online learning where you sign in to a given course and it will actually be instructor led over the Internet. We hope to have these type training courses by the end of the year."
Honeywell is also in the final stages of a unique teaming venture with another aviation training company and a Part 147 school to form what is to be called a Workforce Readiness Program. In addition to the recruiting, screening, and evaluating process, the program will include 20 weeks of intense training in Airframe. Avionics, Propulsion, APUs, ECS and other related, non-technical courses to produce a highly-polished product that meets the various requirements of different operators as well as complying with and exceeding the mandatory Federal requirements.
Pratt & Whitney
Another program tailored to meet customer’s training requirements is Pratt & Whitney’s Customer Training Center. They have trained over 100,000 students since their first class in 1935, and offer a variety of courses from 20-day courses to interactive distance learning. Located in East Hartford, Connecticut, the center offers classroom instruction along with hands-on training on actual commercial and military engines. They also offer computer-based training as well as distance learning options.
Pratt & Whitney offers training courses geared for all levels of maintenance experience; from basic familiarization of on-wing maintenance, shop maintenance and sophisticated engine fleet management. Their courses are designed to strengthen the ability of the maintenance technicians as they work with rapidly evolving maintenance technologies — especially in the area of system diagnostics and troubleshooting.
Whereas the Customer Training Center in Connecticut offers instruction on Pratt & Whitney’s larger engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada also offers courses at its Saint Hubert, Canada facility.
You can sign up for classes at either Customer Training Center if you own a Pratt & Whitney engine or if your organization supports, maintains, or overhauls Pratt engines.
There are many options
No matter what type of turbine engine you work on, there are probably several training courses being offered by the manufacturer. Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney are only two examples of this training. Many other companies from Rolls-Royce to GE also offer similar programs. With so many options available, it may seem hard to choose what course would be the most beneficial to attend.
How to enroll
If you are interested in enrolling for courses, the first step would be to talk to a representative from the company’s training department. Based on your experience and prior training, they would be able to help you choose what course would be most beneficial. They would also discuss what tuition, if any, is required for the classes.
Even if you have already received training on the engines you are working on, you may still want to contact the manufacturer about the training courses they offer. With the rapid advances that are taking place in all areas of aircraft maintenance, there are more and more courses being offered. If it has been a few years since you’ve talked to the manufacturer, you may want to check with them to see if any new courses are available.
The bottom line
With so many training courses available out there, the choice of which to attend can seem overwhelming. Whether you choose to attend a manufacturer training course as discussed here, or another type of training, be sure to do your homework. By researching all the available training, you should be able to find one that best fits your training requirements.
Benefits of OEM Training
There are several advantages of receiving training from the manufacturers themselves. They include:
1. System Knowledge: The instructors for the courses have a thorough knowledge of the engine and systems they are teaching.
2. Access to service information: The manufacturers have timely access to service difficulty concerns as they come in from the field. They are able to tailor their training courses based on this information.
3. Technical Support: With technical data and engineering available, OEM,s are able to offer comprehensive technical support for their instructors.
4. Hands-on training: In most instances, hands-on training is able to be offered in the classroom. Even when that is not practical (such as with large commercial engines), they are still able to offer hands-on training in nearby facilities.
5. Small class size: Class size is normally limited to a handful of students for line-maintenance and higher level courses. This low student to instructor ratio gives students the opportunity to receive plenty of one-on-one instruction during their training.
GE Aircraft Engines Customer Support Center
(877) GEAE-CSC (432-3272)
Honeywell Aerospace Academy
Customer Training Services
Pratt & Whitney Canada
Pratt & Whitney Customer Training Center Registrar
Rolls-Royce Customer Training Centre
(317) 230 2586
(800) 662-6322 ext. 7607 (USA)
(800) 553-5322 ext 7607 (Canada)