What’s the process for pilots returning to flight after COVID? What’s involved in retraining?

How did pilots sharp during the pandemic? What do they have to do before they can fly again?

– Diversity Man, United Kingdom

With the recent surge in air travel, more pilots who were grounded during the height of the pandemic are returning to service. But they are requalified and retested before being cleared to fly passengers again. 

Pilots who have been out for more than 90 days return to the simulator for training. If they have gone than 90 days but less than 180 days without flying, they undergo extensive ground school followed by a multi-day transition course of simulator flights and a checkride and in-flight training. (If they haven’t flown for more than 180 days or if they are moving to a different airplane, they go through initial training.) 

Finally, they undergo a checkride in an actual plane, known as a line check. Testing is to the initial qualification standards for competency. 

Although some pilots have reported feeling rusty in the cockpit, it is important to remember that these are professional pilots who have years of experience flying. They recover their skills quickly. 

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