Captain Pierre Wannaz

A330/A340 Captain & Senior Advisor, CEFA Aviation

Even before having a driver’s license, Pierre could fly … Fascinated by aviation, the 16-year old Pierre was cycling to the airport for his flight lessons. 10 year later, he was an instructor himself. 

After one year at the Swiss Air Force Academy in 1980, Pierre got his starter pilot wings and for 30 years flew combat jets and high performance trainers in the Swiss Air Force until his 50th birthday, in parallel to his civil job. In 1983, Pierre started at the Swiss Aviation School and got hired thereafter by Swissair (now Swiss International Airlines), where he is still Captain on A330/A340. 

Pierre likes to share his experience and know-how. In 1991, he became a co-pilot instructor, firstly on the A310, then as part of the core team responsible for the introduction of the A320 for Swissair. He is a Type Rating Instructor/Synthetic Flight Examiner (TRI/SFE) and also a co-designer and trainer of the four Modules Crew Resource Management Course dedicated to the introduction of the A320.

Pierre is also keen on new challenges and chooses to continuously improve his knowledge, being an acceptance pilot for flight simulators, delivery flights, tests after HMV, initial acceptance and phase out flights.

Pierre Wannaz definitely wears several hats as he also collaborated with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) as an external auditor and examiner for MétéoSuisse Swiss weather forecasters and meteorological advisers but also to teach about the risks of automation of the aircraft. He has held several conferences on various subjects. Pierre is also a reckoned legal expert in incident and accident investigations: among others, he was named aeronautical expert for the accident of Air France 447 (Rio-Paris). He is also the co-writer of “Escadrille 2”, a book about squadron 2.

How Could We Turn Each Flight Into a Training Opportunity?

Simulator training has improved a lot in the last decades, and tools exist to debrief in a professional and objective manner. But a large part of training is done during line training, so why should we not try to learn from each line flight?

It is sometimes difficult to recall exactly what happened since we are in a very dynamic mode during line flying. So the solution is to ask for the FOQA data.

But when the pilots ask the FOQA team to review their own flights when they have a doubt:

a) They get a report with figures, statistics and tables that non-experts have difficulties to interpret;
b) They receive it days/weeks after the flight, when the crew is already split;
c) They worry that such a request may raise questions and doubts within the FOQA department: why do they ask for their flight data, did they have trouble? Did they make mistakes?

What if they could get immediate access to their own flights – in an easy and objective way? What would be the impact on training?

Today the technology exists to visualize, immediately after engine shutdown, the last flight. The data can be made available as a flight animation on tablets.

To what extent can this technology change flight safety and pilot training?

Pierre Wannaz, SWISS Captain, will explain the numerous benefits for pilots and airlines: easy self-training, know-how sharing enhancement, improvement of pilots’ competences day by day. Being able to replay all flights as wished will help pilots to better understand complicated and uncertain situations, even when safety was not at stake, bringing objectivity and fact-based elements for crew debriefings. In the end, it enhances safety at lower costs. It does not replace flight simulator sessions but is a welcome complement to them. Pilots can reflect and assess, on personal demand, their own operational performances without having to ask safety departments, especially for events that would not have triggered their intervention.