Ask the pilot: Do the crew train for every new aircraft model?

How long does it take the flight crew to get used to a new aircraft? And do they need specialized training? SAS pilots give you the answers straight from the horse’s mouth.

I have read that pilots must have specific training to fly particular aircraft. If, for example, a person has been trained to fly Boeing 737s and later flies an Airbus A319, can he or she then go back to the 737 or does the pilot need to do the training again? And do the cabin crew undergo different training for different types of aircraft? If so, how long does this take?


Hi Stina!

Niclas Almqvist

Age: 48
Career: Joined SAS in 1997. Flew the Fokker F-28 for two years, then the Boeing 737. Captain on the Canadair CRJ-200 at Cimber Air from 2007 to 2011. Has a background in business aviation from Hästens Sängar AB. Captain on the Boeing 737 since 2016.
Home base: ARN
Flies: Boeing 737
Flight hours: 13,700

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You are correct. If you’ve never flown a specific aircraft type before, you have to do a full type rating course. The technical course and simulator training can take about four to six months. This has to be done for every new aircraft type pilots fly.

If later on a pilot goes back to flying an aircraft type that he or she has previously flown, they need to take a refresher course. Depending on how long he or she has been away from that particular type, there are different lengths of courses. If the pilot hasn’t flown the aircraft type for one year, the refresher course is shorter than if they’ve been away for five years. And if the pilot has been away from the aircraft type for a long time,  he or she will need to take a new full course.

Our colleagues in the ­cabin crew also need to take courses for every aircraft type they work on. The courses last about one or two weeks. And cabin crew members are able to work on three aircraft types in one given period of time.

Flight Captain Niclas Almqvist


 If you also have a question about aviation, send it to askthepilot@scandinaviantraveler.com and watch for the answer in an upcoming issue.

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