“STAY DOWN … GET OUT NOW!”
I can hear aircrew trainees being put through their paces inside a mock-up aircraft cabin at the Singapore Airlines training academy near Changi Airport.
I’m on a behind the scenes tour of the facility and although we weren’t allowed to see what was going on inside the aircraft cabin, I have a newfound admiration and appreciation of what aircrew has to be able to do and cope with.
The academy is a massive place where all new SIA staff start their careers.
Pilots are put through regular sessions in aircraft simulators to test and assess their skills in a variety of scenarios as well as classroom sessions to keep up to date with all the administrative and regulative requirements.
Cabin crew are tested in all sorts of evacuation procedures in real life situations ranging from mock-up scenarios where smoke fills the cabin, to opening doors and sliding down evacuation slides on land and water.
And that is after undergoing a rigorous basic training that involves strict grooming and deportment sessions and practising the correct way to serve guests on board various aircraft and in various cabin classes.
No stone is left unturned when it comes to training the cabin crew — there’s even a wine room for training sommeliers.
There are several large mock-up rooms filled with replicas of the different aircraft cabins SIA has in its fleet. They are designed so the cabin crew can practise serving customers in the correct way depending on which class or cabin they will work in.
In another area is a massive hall where evacuation slides can be deployed from the full height of an aircraft. In the same room there’s a working example of all the different doors and escape hatches the crew need to know how to operate in an emergency. Again, all the different aircraft models in SIA’s fleet are represented here.
Next door in another large hall is the water evacuation training pool where crew train in emergency procedures if an aircraft lands on water. The pool can generate waves and the crew are required to not only jump down the slides but also swim in their uniforms, which in the case of the female crew wearing the sarong kebayas, is particularly challenging.
Disclaimer: Mogens Johansen was a guest of Singapore Airlines. They have not seen or approved this story.