Patria’s Pilot Training has trained well over 1,000 professional pilots for civilian aviation since its establishment in 1998. Patria is one of the most important pilot trainers in Northern Europe. Main customers are both military and civil aviation; the Finnish Air Force and international airlines.

“The best metrics for training quality are good employment prospects and positive feedback from airlines. Practically all the pilots we’ve trained have found work in the industry,” says Ville Kettula, Head of Operations from Patria’s Aviation business unit.

Patria’s Pilot Training operates in Pirkkala, Finland and Córdoba, Spain. Primary pilot training is organised in Spain using single-engine DA40 aircraft. Pirkkala provides theoretical and simulator training, as well as multi-engine and instrument flight rules training using twin-engine DA42 aircraft.

The training programme for the Multi-Crew Pilot License combines basic training with type-specific aircraft training and the airline client’s cockpit requirements. This programme uses an Airbus A320 simulator and two DA42-VI simulators.

New training methods

The accelerating pace of global change has been taken into consideration in military pilot training: the knowledge and skills required, and the learning culture of new generations are all changing. An individual approach to training, in which the pilot’s skills and needs can be identified better and sooner, will serve as the basis for future pilot training.

Patria’s pilot training places a significant focus on identifying and developing a pilot’s psychophysiological characteristics. Competency-based training will also be possible in the future.

“Pilot training is now focusing on overall understanding, and particularly on the significance, use and prioritisation of information. Flying modern planes

Main customers are both military and civil aviation; the Finnish Air Force and international airlines.

is easy, but the amount of information has vastly increased. You have to be able to process, prioritise and use this information at the right time,” says Jussi Virtanen, Development Director.

“This new era requires students to have a broader range of skills that are coached using new teaching methods and devices. For example, gamification works very well in training new pilots,” says Jari-Matti Taskinen, Development Manager.

Simulator use growing rapidly

Military pilot training is divided into theoretical training, simulator training, and training using real aircraft. Modern pilot training utilises the latest tools: simulator technology tailored to various different needs and rapidly developing VR/XR training technology. The benefits are considerable cost savings and more versatile training.

Aviation training in the LVC (Live, Virtual, Constructive) environment is a new concept on the international scene. Patria is a pioneer in the sector.

Patria is a world-leading provider in Live, Virtual, Constructive training. The LVC environment combines three elements in the same training situation: Live: training in real aircraft, Virtual: simulator training in the same environment, and Constructive: computer-generated models that are programmed to behave in a certain way or have variable factors controlled by artificial intelligence. An LVC training system can be used to create a realistic training environment in a very cost-effective way.

The LVC environment has been used in the Finnish Air Force pilot training for just over two years now and its benefits are apparent. The Hawk LVC training environment developed by Patria has enabled the creation of complex and extensive training scenarios to meet the future requirements of airborne operations. In order to improve performance, Patria’s artificial intelligence and Big Data expertise will soon be utilised in the collection and analysis of the data generated by the practice situations imported into the digital environment.

A strategic partner to the Finnish Air Force

Patria’s strength in military pilot training lies in its long-term strategic partnership with the Finnish Defence Forces. Aviation provides Defence Force pilots with elementary training as a service that covers both flight instructors and the maintenance and upkeep of training aircraft.

“The instructors are former Defence Force pilots who are extremely familiar with the objectives and special characteristics of military aviation,” says Virtanen.

Patria is responsible for a significant proportion of lifecycle support services for the Defence Forces’ aircraft – including FA-18 Hornets and Hawks – and its NH-90 helicopters. These services include maintenance, repairs and modernisations.

Aviation business unit's Areas of expertise

  • Life cycle support services for aircraft and helicopters, including the maintenance, repair and modification of aircraft, helicopters and engines
  • Military and state authorities in Northern Europe are the main customers for Patria’s life cycle support services.
  • Civilian and military pilot training
  • A strategic partner of the Finnish Defence Forces

Text: Samppa Haapio