Deficiencies in the current pilot training system have led to a shortage of professionals in both the military and civilian aviation. In order for aces to be born, serious selection is needed, which is based on mass enthusiasm for the sky. About what we have and how it should be, the Military-Industrial Courier was told by Andrei Sinitsyn, a first-class test pilot, international sports master of the USSR, Hero of Russia.
- For several years at specialized aviation forums, the discussion of which aircraft is needed for the initial training of pilots has not subsided. Some say - the easiest. Opinion of others: now is not the time, and the first flights should be made not on archaic "cloths", but on machines, after which the Boeing or Erbas booth does not look like a curiosity. Your half a century of experience and ability to fly at all what they say about this?
- You can, of course, cite as an example the method of driving schools: there are no simplified cars - what you learn, then you go. But the stages of training seafarers seem more sensible to me, and they are more applicable to aviation, since air and water are an unfamiliar environment for a person who has grown up on the surface of the earth. Future sea wolves are first put into a boat, then they sail under sail, and only after that does the development of modern technology begin. This is not to feed the romance, although it is not the last thing: the oars and sails allow you to understand the unusual element in your gut and just decide whether you are created for the seas-oceans or you are sick of them.
Modern airplanes are not at all those cars that were half a century ago or even less. Now between the pilot and the plane there is another link - the computer, not to mention the other systems present in the chain. These are hydraulic boosters, systems for improving stability, limiters of limit modes, and so on. Many feedbacks from the plane to the pilot are simply cut off. That is, everything that happens in the control circuit, the pilot can represent, but in fact, he actually steers only a computer. And in case of refusal - and it is impossible to foresee all of them - the development of events can be fatal. Therefore, the pilot must be ready to fly the plane and, if the computer fails, be able to use any chance left by the automatics that had stopped. This is an ideal, but how in practice is a big question.
- And the pilots need to start with an air analogue of the rowing boat?
- What is remarkable about the training aircraft, the simplest ones - from the handle or the steering wheel; from the pedals there is a direct link to the controls. And every movement of the pilot is transmitted directly, as is the response of the car to all the manipulations. Such a hard link allows you to feel how the plane lives in the air. And the “flown”, as they say, the pilot already foresees what his or other movement will lead to. No wonder there was an expression "to feel the plane backwards." I don’t know how much to believe, but, they say, the Germans carried out experiments before the war, chopping off the fifth point to the pilots with novocaine or something similar. And as soon as this organ was “turned off”, pilots immediately had difficulty piloting. I am inclined to believe that this is true. The pilot is able to feel changes in the acceleration in hundredths, and he feels them just this very place. Therefore, the basis of the formation of the pilot should be exactly this direct interaction: the pilot - the controls - the "live" reaction of the aircraft. And back - any indignation acting on the plane is parried by the corresponding movement of the controls. This development comes with increasing plaque. When I started back in DOSAAF, they did not let me fly on my own until you worked with an instructor on actions in major emergencies - stalling, spin, landing without an engine. And if the verifier was not sure that the cadet was ready for these negative moments, they were not allowed to fly independently.
- So what, in your opinion, is the most logical and justified chain of training for a man with his mouth open looking at planes, but never flying?
- Let's start with the fact that releasing a professional pilot is a very expensive business, it is more costly than training an astronaut, and even then, I think, not everyone. Therefore, expenses should be minimized as far as possible, at least in the first stage. By entering the school, the future pilot passes the selection - medical, educational, physical training. The commission also analyzes its psychological status: can a person become a pilot at all? But even a suitable status does not at all determine future pilot talents, and it so happens that, in principle, a person is able to fly, but with the start of training he suddenly understands that this is not his business, he did not go there. Including therefore I am sure that the first stage of selection should be carried out on the simplest plane - three instruments and a piston engine. Such a selection is cheap enough, and immediately shows whether a person will fly or not. From the point of view of tactical and technical data, an aircraft of Po-2 type would be perfect. Unfortunately, today I do not know the serial analogs of this legendary car.
During the first year of study, having completed the theoretical minimum necessary lessons and ground training, cadets should get on the simplest machine, which allows them to receive only basic piloting skills. After a month or two of flight, it becomes clear who will be worth something and from whom it will grow. Whose training is really worth investing, and for whom all costs will be empty. And you’ll think whether the main economy will be eliminated, say, 20 percent of those who are not allowed to fly at all, or that they have identified a dozen talents who are destined to become aces and whose further specialization is worth spending on money.
Having accumulated forty hours in the air, the cadet will master the take-off and climb, simple and complex aerobatics, will feel that such a stall and a corkscrew will begin to perform flights along the route. If we are talking about a military flight school, then at this stage the cadet can already be safely sentenced: this one is a potential fighter, the other is a bomber, and the third is a transport worker. I heard conversations that it would be good to organize a Suvorov school with an aviation bias, which means that the guys will be able to fly with an instructor from 14 years. And aviation as a whole is important for the most talented people to go to it, and it is interesting for boys to try themselves in this business. The romance of the sky is great, of course, but when faced with it in real life, many change their point of view. And there will be inexpensive airplanes in the production and operation - it will be possible to check with the sky an order of magnitude more people than now, including in the DOSAAF system.
- The program “Russian - on a plane!” ...
- Why not? For adults and people held in other professions, flights are perceived as a kind of extreme sports, akin to alpine skiing. But who can afford to just learn to fly a pilot and spend free time at the airport? Now - units, very expensive. There will be a budget alternative - I assure you that thousands will be able to realize their dream. This means that the training fleet of the simplest aircraft will be in demand, and in large quantities. Cheap and angry - what else is needed? The main thing - he will give the person the ability to feel the most necessary pilot feel the plane ass. And how successful the commercial production and operation of such an aircraft will be is not a question for me, since the task of the state is to concern itself with its solution to the authorities.
- What is the cadets teaching now?
- Civilian flight schools are buying Austrian "Diamonds", single-engine Diamond DA40 for training and twin-engine Diamond DA42T - already as a final aircraft. Graduation - the one on which the pilot receives a commercial aviation license. These are machines that are full-fledged in terms of avionics and have, instead of a heap of traditional instruments, large information displays - what is called a "glass cabin". Yes, for training an on-board computer operator of an airliner, this is probably more convenient, but not for the education of a real pilot.
- And what, from a small "Diamond" immediately into the cabin of a huge Airbus?
- The further professional growth of the pilot is already the concern of the airlines, with a commercial certificate you are entitled to take the right seat, and then how it goes.
Here, too, there are certain difficulties. In Soviet times, permanent crews were the norm, for which flying was considered one of the most important characteristics. Everyone knew what to expect from colleagues in a given situation. And the commander was directly interested in the fact that his co-pilot constantly grew in flying skills, including safety depended on it. With this formulation of the question, everything looked logical: I graduated from the An-2, flew a certain number of hours in the right-hand seat - entered by the commander. After the corresponding raid in the left seat, he could already change to the right seat of the plane, a class higher - An-24 or Yak-40. And so on.
Today, most airlines practice mixed crews: the commander, coming to take off, may not know who they put him as a co-pilot today. It is clear that from the point of view of management it is more rational. But who is he, this co-pilot, chosen from the list, come see if you have never flown with him. Do I trust him piloting, especially in crucial moments? I doubt it. I do not know his level of training, nor how he progressed or, as it happens, degraded in flying skills, I don’t know how his family has to react to stressful situations ... Yes, in the West it is so accepted, but My opinion is not the best practice. It is in the sense of security, which directly depends on the skill of the pilot and his psychological state. Recall, at least, a catastrophe in the French Alps, when the co-pilot of the Lufthansa A-320 decided to commit suicide, locked himself in the cockpit and sent the plane to the ground. If I am not mistaken, then one and a half hundred people died, and to the question whether their lives are worth the savings that result from the random formation of crews, have everyone answer for themselves.
- With civilian pilots understandable. But military pilots have a different specificity. How do they become asas?
- If you graduated from college as a fighter, then you came to the regiment with the third class or without a class at all. In the best of times, the cadets still mastered the combat vehicles in the school, which they later began to serve in the combat unit: MiG-21, MiG-23, Su-7. Already by this time, everyone had a total 200 hours, and the regiment continued to improve it - flying, flying in the ranks, reducing meteorological minimum, expanding the capabilities of combat use ... As a result, depending on the zeal and talent, the person has grown to first class, and to pilot sniper. And since a fighter is the highest requirements for health and psychological stability, in the event of a slight decrease in physical condition, it was always possible to go to a bomber or transport aircraft. Such transitions were, if not massive, then quite normal. And on multi-seat machines, the improvement system is in principle similar to that developed in civil aviation, with some nuances determining the specificity of combat use.
- Is it implied that after the simplest training aircraft, the next step should be a little more complicated machine and so on?
- Not at all. After our hypothetical, the simplest mass aircraft of those who have passed the preliminary selection, you can safely be transplanted to the jet Yak-130. Why not? It is very easy to fly. Yes, there is a computer involved in the control system, but for military schools this is a plus - on this plane we can train the future fighter pilot right on the fighter, moreover - to give any “fighter” specialization by the end of the training. The control system is rebuilt under the characteristics of a variety of aircraft. You will fly to the Su-27 - here's a plane that fully coincides with the reaction to control from the Su-27. Need MiG-29 - no problem, just change the settings. A more “strangled”, sluggish version of the settings is already in preparation for piloting the bomber. The cabin interior, of course, will be different, but the main thing - the dynamics of the behavior of a particular type of aircraft on the Yak-130 can be completely mastered. And graduate from college already on it.
- In the Vadim Zadorozhny Technology Museum there are handsome UT-1, UT-2. As I understand it, the fighters were then taught according to the scheme U-2 (By-2) - UT-2 - UT-1, and then the combat vehicle ...
- A little bit wrong. After Y-2, basic training was conducted on UT-2. Its appearance was caused by the fact that aviation was rapidly developing, the speeds of combat vehicles grew and the transfer of pilots from the deliberately slow U-2 to I-16, which had been the main fighter of the Red Army for almost ten years, was very difficult. And in the “Spark” UT-2, engineers at Yakovlev Design Bureau succeeded very well in combining design reliability and ease of piloting. At the same time, he had a small margin of stability, because he was very maneuverable and, as a result, quite famously spud. And in those years, the methods for extracting from the corkscrew were not yet properly worked out, and it was at UT-2 that such experience was accumulated by testers very actively. But then it was exactly what was needed, because the plane’s inclination to stall and a corkscrew was the price for increased maneuverability, which became the main advantage of the I-16 “donkey”. After all, they fought on these machines right up to 1943, and they shot down much more sophisticated and high-speed German fighters. And the UT-1, as demanding as a pilot, is more designed for the training of combatant pilots. It was cheaper to operate than the I-16, but very much reminded of its aerobatic properties.
- That is, the Yak-130 fits in the same way with the classical system of training military pilots, as at one time the UT-2?
- It fits better, replacing both the training aircraft for the cadets and the training aircraft for maintaining the flight form in the line units. And it is good that such a machine exists, which is produced in series. If the issue of the mass production of the simplest aircraft is finally resolved, then Russia will have no problems with a sufficient number of good pilots, both civilian and military.
- How does a good pilot differ from a bad one?
- A good one is one that does its work without tension and derives pleasure from it. If doing the same actions, the pilot feels uncomfortable, then he should probably think about it.
- How do you feel that we are now with the pilots - there are few, many, enough?
- The hardest question. In combat aircraft, I think, the deficit. As for airlines, it's hard to figure out. On the one hand, Aeroflot appeals to the government with a request to allow foreign pilots to be hired, on the other - from it and other airlines experienced pilots are massively fired and go abroad, to China for example. To say that the airline lacks exclusively experienced pilots, it is impossible: the commanders are leaving, no one will entice bad ones. And if the salary in our and our own airlines is more or less comparable, then overseas pilots have the same income with less pressure. And this is a very important point. Crews often work wear and tear, their norm comes to 90 hours per month. And in the USSR was 70, do you feel the difference?
In general, there are plenty of pilots now. But if our civil aviation still revives on the scale that we remember from the times of the USSR, the issue of mass education will arise very sharply.