CAE readied MAX simulators, prepared to boost production

Feb. 9, 2020, © Leeham News: The principal provider of airliner simulators sold six for the Boeing 737 MAX since the first of the year.

CAE Inc. now sold 56.

In the third quarters earnings call Friday, Marc Parent, president and CEO, said that a “high majority” of airlines that ordered the MAX have ordered a simulator from CAE.

CAE has about 80% of the simulator market.

There are 36 MAX simulators across the globe now from all providers. CAE, as of the end of the year, provided 23 of them.

CAE’s geographic diversity

CAE declined on the earnings call to detail where its simulators are. However, two of the new orders are for the Emirates-CAE Flight Training center, a joint venture of Emirates Airline and CAE.

“We have deployed 737 Max full-flight simulators in our own training network: one in Dallas and one in Toronto. A third one was deployed in our joint venture training center in Singapore as well,” a spokesman told LNA.

There are also simulators in Toronto and Dallas.

Parent said on the earnings call that if simulator training is required by regulators, this “would indeed drive a higher rate of demand.”

Parent declined to reveal CAE’s production rate. He said that the rate remains below what it was before a strike last year.

“We have increased it and we have the capacity to do more. We have lots of capacity,” Parent said.

CAE has a number of white tail sims that are ready to go.

“We are positioning to be ready when the MAX return to service by adding capacity in our network and in augmented training solutions,” a spokesman told ILNA. “Hence, we announced in mid-November when we announced our quarterly results that we are making a strategic investment on building WIP inventory including white-tail 737 Max full-flight simulators.


“Back in November, we anticipated pent-up demand for MAX as it re-enters service (strategic inventory investment).”

17 Comments on “CAE readied MAX simulators, prepared to boost production

  1. Surprisingly so few simulators are ready across a globe compared with MAX orders and pilot’s number. Boeing long running mantra about no sim training made a substantial harm. I hope that before MAX’s recertificacion the amount of simulator will change exponentially.

  2. Can an existing 737NG Full Fight Simulator be converted to a certified 737MAX simulator?
    Maybe CAE and others FFS manufacturers have stocked up on the parts, hydralic system and visions systems and are ready to ship the containers&boxes when its customers have made free space and ordered a new one.

    • Relevant for a simulator are the parts visible in the cockpit.
      The rest is software.

    • @Claes: There is a split answer on this. Some say no. CAE, on its earnings call Feb. 7, said (in general) sims can be upgraded but companies usually buy new ones rather than going to the expense of upgrading old ones.

      • Thanks, your articles with discussions starting as technical are often very good at LNC.

    • Whether or not simulators can be converted, it may be that some pilot skills can be reinforced in the existing NG simulators, since they share a common type rating. The regulators will have to decide how much of that would be acceptable, if any.

      • The Full flight simulators are certified individually as to comply with defined standards, without this particular certification they can maybe certified to a lower simulator class standard?
        Are the 737MAX FAA test flights done including the one with FAA head Dickson at the controls with report sent to Boeing yet and has Boeing sent the final recommended 737MAX pilot simulator training programs to the FAA for Review and approval?

        • No, Dickson has said they are waiting on some proposals from Boeing. Those will need to be reviewed before certification flights begin. Training may be among them.

          The point was that some of the pilot training will be reinforcement of general skills. Since pilots will be certified for the 737 family, some of that could be done in an NG simulator, if the regulators allow it.

          But from the analysis below, lack of MAX simulators may not be a major issue. New units should come online at the rate of 2 or possibly more per month.

  3. Back of the envelope computing:
    400 MAX (delivered, stored) + 400 MAX (un-delivered, stored) + 200 MAX (produced in 2020) = 1000 MAX
    7 crews per aircraft = 7000 crews = 14,000 pilots
    2 hours session per pilot to obtain the MAX graduation = 28,000 hours needed
    36 MAX simulators = 777 hours per simulator
    Each simulator can be used 18 hours per day, 7 days a week => 43 days
    Bottom line: simulator training is not a bottleneck

    • The big variable is the number of hours per pilot — is two hours reasonable?

      Logistics will be a challenge for some airlines that do not have their own simulators.

    • 43 days is not a bottle neck if pilots are trained as Maxes are deployed. But for crew scheduling reasons Southwest and possibly other pure 737 operators want to have ALL pilots Max certified the moment they begin operating the first Max.

      Also some simulators are owned by airlines. For example AirCanada has two Max simulators (I think AC always intended to use simulators when transitioning pilots). Those airlines may be unwilling to share reducing the number of available simulators.

      • I don’t think airlines will be willing to share own simulators with competitors. Maybe if they cooperate together closely only with other airline, but as exception.

        Surely an airline will have to train far more crews then it needs in case of eg. flue epidemy to have deep reserve.

        We still don’t know the scope of required training, but few months probably will be needed.

  4. With the main US carriers now delaying till Fall, for the most part, this all might be a moot point.

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