Education: Management of Flight Training Evolves

 - February 25, 2013, 10:22 AM

Methods for ensuring pilot competence are high on the list of necessary requirements to improve global pilot training, which has been an industry hot-button issue since the crashes of Continental 3407 and Air France 447. “Graduation from a flight training program does not end a pilot’s learning nor does [earning] a license or rating necessarily demonstrate a pilot’s true level of competence,” said Robert Barnes, president of the International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP).

In a paper titled “Managing the Pilot Training Process To Help Ensure Pilot Competence,” delivered at the ASEAN Aviation Training & Education Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, last month, Barnes explained how a training management system created by Talon Systems and the IAFTP is being used to ensure basic pilot competence at the Saudi Aviation Flight Academy (SAFA). The academy is using a training management system to ensure both the quality and effectiveness of its training program. SAFA is also issuing the IAFTP eCV–essentially an electronic resumé–that securely tracks and verifies each graduate’s personal flying career.

Barnes explained that while management of flight training is not new, “the effective daily management of a pilot training program requires constant monitoring and decision-making based on accurate and current information. It requires an in-depth knowledge of students, instructors, aircraft, availabilities, regulations, course syllabus and many other factors and elements comprising the flight training domain. The challenge of ensuring the efficient graduation of competent pilots is far beyond the capability of any paper-based system.”



As an Aviation Safety Inspector, I concur that the quality of the finished product (pilot) has remained at an extremely low level for the past 20 years. In industry, I was fortunate enough to have trained more than 5000 hours in many types of airplanes and helicopters. When I would get a new student that was seeking a higher rating on his certificate, it seemed like most needed to learn the basics of airmanship all over again. There are many misconceptions that are taught in the most important time of a pilots training. Correcting these misconceptions are paramount to the development of higher task loads and aeronautical decision making. I put emphasis on this with every instructor applicant that I test. The CFI has the responsibility to ensure quality in the product they sell. Let's all work together to provide the best instruction to pilots and continue to maintain the safest aeronautical system on the planet. MDH