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Flight Safety Foundation calls for renewed focus on quality for pilot training and proficiency
3 March 2018

Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) is urging the global commercial aviation industry to embrace a data-driven approach to pilot training, and says that national civil aviation authorities need to have the flexibility to adopt competency- or evidence-based training methods.

In a position paper, the Foundation says, “It cannot be assumed that critical skills and knowledge will be obtained only through hours in the air.”

Pilot experience, which is an important safety factor, historically has been associated with the number of flight hours accumulated over a pilot’s career. What often is overlooked, however, is the quality of flight time and how it is accumulated, FSF says. Was it in single- or multi-engine aircraft? In visual or instrument conditions? In a structured, professional environment, or in an often less intense, general aviation environment?

In the position paper, the Foundation says the industry has reached a crossroads in determining how pilots need to be selected, hired, trained and mentored for career growth, and that changes need to be made if the industry is to continue its high level of safety in an era of expected rapid growth in many regions of the world.

The Foundation issued several recommendations, including:
• An improved screening process and training for basic non-technical competencies that are usually obtained through experience, such as communication, analysis, problem solving, leadership and decision making;
• A renewed focus on the competency and quality of training providers to ensure training programs are developed and delivered to meet the safety standards of the industry, and so they can produce qualified, competent pilots;
• Training programs that are competency- or evidence-based and not solely hours-based;
• Data-driven training programs that are continually updated, based on pilot task–level performance;
• Ab initio programs with operator sponsorship/support;
• Development and sponsorship of worldwide quality/performance criteria that are universally recognized;
• A partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organization and industry to define rules, recommendations, guidelines and the expected quality and performance required of flight academies; and,
• Programs that place a high value on the knowledge and experience of instructors.

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