Peter Barrett, chairman of the International Pilot Training Consortium, describes the background to this game-changing partnership, its organisation, its goals and recent developments.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) , the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) , the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) agreed in September 2011 to establish a new body - the International Pilot Training Consortium (IPTC) - through which they would work together in partnership using their membership networks and facilities on certain issues relating to pilot, instructor and evaluator training and qualification in the commercial air transport sector. At its meeting in Paris in June 2013, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA) agreed that it should also become a partner in the IPTC under the same terms as the four original partners.
Background Commercial aviation is the safest mode of public transport today. Advances in the design, manufacturing, maintenance and reliability of modern aircraft, together with investment in pilot training initiatives, have contributed to this impressive achievement. However, while the overall trend in the accident rate continues to improve, the volume of traffic continues to grow, especially in certain parts of the world, putting this impressive safety record under considerable pressure.
Since the late 1940s, commercial aviation organisations worldwide have made significant investments in pilot training initiatives, with the aim of improving safety, largely independently. These initiatives, while generally successful, have stretched the resources of individual organisations and have often led to divergent solutions to shared challenges; moreover, they have not benefited from the synergies of a combined and coordinated effort. A paradigm shift was needed through a sustained collaborative effort.
Recent Work A considerable body of work has been undertaken in recent years by IATA, ICAO, IFALPA, the RAeS and other organisations on standards, processes, systems and devices used in training and qualifying commercial pilots. This work includes the IATA Training & Qualification Initiative (ITQI), launched in 2007, which aims to provide civil aviation with the tools to develop more effective recruitment, selection and training processes for pilots and maintenance staff; the ITQI outcomes are being reflected in ICAO provisions. In addition, ICAO, recognising the need to extend the scope of the development of harmonised training and to address outreach and industry attractiveness, undertook the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) program in light of the forecast increased demand for pilots, and other aviation professionals, and the evidence of a reduction in the attractiveness of such careers to young people. At a workshop in Paris in November 2010, IFALPA developed a set of best practices, including instructor standards, to provide for the most effective pilot training programmes. The RAeS has led work internationally since 1989 on the qualification of flight simulation training devices (FSTDs) which culminated in the publication of ICAO Document 9625 ‘Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices’. The RAeS has also undertaken work since 2005 specifically targeted on flight crew training, instruction and evaluation which has been progressed under the auspices of the International Flight Crew Training Committee. Much of the work of these four organisations and other bodies is undertaken with a view to the outcomes being implemented by Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs), but it is also recognised that rulemaking alone is not sufficient.
Partnership To continue to build on the industry’s impressive safety record, modernised and harmonised training standards and processes are necessary. To be successful, these improvements need to be coordinated and implemented on a global scale. During the RAeS International Flight Crew Training Conference in September 2011, a meeting took place between the
• President of the RAeS • Director of the Air Navigation Bureau, ICAO • Vice-President Safety, Operations & Infrastructure, IATA • Administrator of the FAA • Rulemaking Director of EASA • Chief Executive of the CAA
when it was agreed that the necessary collaborative effort should be provided under the auspices of the International Pilot Training Consortium (IPTC). While not duplicating any existing or projected work, the Consortium aims to introduce measures to further reduce the accident rate, and at the same time, seek to ensure that there are sufficient competent pilots to meet the needs of the forecast growth in commercial aviation. IPTC has the potential to be a game changer. Its mission statement reads:
The objective of the International Pilot Training Consortium is to improve safety, quality and efficiency of commercial aviation by developing international agreement on a common set of pilot training, instruction and evaluation standards and processes for the benefit of the industry worldwide and that will result in ICAO provisions.
At a meeting in Paris in June 2013, the ICCAIA agreed in principle that it should become a partner organisation in IPTC under the same terms as the four original partner organisations. The original Consortium partners have agreed to this significant development and it is anticipated that a Letter of Agreement between all five partners will be signed shortly to implement that decision.
Organisation The IPTC executive is a Partners’ Board comprising a senior member of each of the partner organisations. In view of its charter, and its complete independence and impartiality from any other body or grouping in the industry, the RAeS provides the executive chairman. The day-to-day activities of the Consortium are coordinated by a Steering Committee which provides guidance and direction to a number of workstreams specialising in key components of the IPTC work. The chairman of each workstream is an appropriate subject matter expert. The Steering Committee comprises the members of the Partners’ Board together with the workstream chairmen. The workstreams are:
• Licensing & Regulation • Outreach & Recruitment • Pilot, Instructor & Evaluator Competencies • Prevention of Loss of Control in Flight • Training Devices • Training Practices
A number of national and international Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs), key safety organisations and other major industry stakeholders are granted ‘Associate member’ status, working with the IPTC without compromising their sovereignty or independence.
Process IPTC deliverables, priorities and timelines are set by the Steering Committee. The Consortium is conscious that some promising initiatives have failed through inadequate engagement or a lack of transparency, or both. The combined, coordinated effort resulting from leveraging the capabilities, membership and global reach of the IPTC partner organisations can only go so far. It is essential that all stakeholders, including everyone in the worldwide pilot training community, have the opportunity to become engaged to the fullest possible extent. The IPTC aims to be open and transparent, and business is conducted using shared workspace on its website. All the deliverables are published on the website, and are freely available to anyone in the industry who has registered as having a legitimate interest. In addition to the subject matter experts within the workstreams and stakeholder bodies that become Associate members, other subject matter experts are encouraged to contribute, using the shared IPTC workspace and, more directly, through the regional seminars that are planned.
Goals There are few silver bullets, and the IPTC makes no claim to be one. However, the partnership aims to make the necessary advances by leveraging the capabilities, membership and global reach of the partner organisations. The principal areas of IPTC work are:
• Assisting with the proof of concept, validation and implementation of the Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) - the first new pilot licence since ICAO was formed. • Subsequent to the ICAO MPL Proof of Concept Symposium in Montréal on 10-12 December 2013, and using all available data, recommending to ICAO appropriate changes to ICAO provisions on the MPL. • Recommending how best to ensure that the number of pilot applicants worldwide and pilot training capacity matches the demand for pilots through to 2030. • Reviewing the extant models for financing ab initio pilot training and making appropriate recommendations. • Recommending mechanisms to improve further the input standards of ab initio pilots • Developing a working definition of ‘core competency’ and validating the assumption that one set of core competencies applies to all pilots. • Validating and recommending appropriate amendments to the existing ICAO competency frameworks for pilots and instructors, and developing a competency framework for examiners to update the provisions of ICAO Doc 9868, ‘Procedures for Air Navigation Services: Training’ (PANS-TRG). • Taking forward work to improve further the initiatives to reduce accidents caused by Loss of Control in Flight. • Assisting CAAs worldwide with the implementation of ICAO Doc 9625 ‘Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices’. • Working with CAAs worldwide to expand the mutual recognition of flight simulation training devices (FSTD) qualifications. • Assisting CAAs worldwide with the implementation of ICAO Doc 9868 PANS-TRG. • Assisting CAAs worldwide with the implementation of ICAO Doc 9995 (Manual of Evidence Based Training). • Developing harmonised guidance material for pilot training practices in Air Traffic Control voice communications in FSTDs. • Developing guidance material on mission specific helicopter pilot role training. • Developing guidance material on best practice in the application of core competencies in pilot training. • Increasing the adoption of best practice, innovation and excellence throughout the pilot training, instructing and qualification sector.
Resources There are resource implications for the IPTC. While the partner organisations are giving the Consortium their full support, including making staff and facilities freely available, they are unable to provide direct financial support. Much of the cost of the work is being offset by companies agreeing to support at no cost to IPTC the subject matter experts assisting with the development of IPTC outputs, for which the Consortium is most grateful. Also, no consultancy fees are being paid. Moreover, although much of the work is being conducted electronically, the facilities for face to face meetings and regional seminars are being provided free of charge under the auspices of one of the partner organisations.
Notwithstanding all these cost-reduction measures, certain costs remain for administration, travel and subsistence for Steering Committee members, a number of whom are no longer in paid employment and who are giving their time and expertise free of charge. Companies in the commercial aviation, aircraft and FSTD manufacturing, and pilot training provision sectors - the main potential beneficiaries of the IPTC deliverables - have been approached for a modest level of financial support to defray these costs. This small amount of direct financial support is crucial to IPTC and will be recognised appropriately. However, as yet, no financial support has been forthcoming. This is impacting adversely on the Consortium’s progress by limiting essential travel and face-to-face meetings and workshops.
Progress Despite the lack of funds, all workstreams are making progress, albeit rather more slowly than originally planned. A program has been developed to analyse the data provided by States with a view to presenting the outcome of the analysis to the ICAO MPL Proof of Concept Symposium in December 2013.
A table setting out the current ICAO provisions on pilot competencies was drawn up and published in December 2012, and good progress is being made on the pilot competencies framework. The initial work in outreach and recruitment has, amongst other things, taken note of the UK’s Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice that was launched in London on 20 April 2013.
A conference held recently in London on ‘Aircraft Upset Prevention, Recognition and Recovery Training’ introduced some important material, and some significant feedback from delegates is being analysed to determine the next steps. An update to ICAO Doc 9625 ‘Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices’ to take account of a number of developments is about to be submitted to ICAO.
Finally, a key strand of work has been the initial investigation of the potential to develop for ICAO’s consideration some draft high-level guidance material on helicopter pilot role training to improve the safety of operations, and a first draft is anticipated in the autumn of 2013.
Communications The Consortium has produced a flyer to alert the industry to its activities and to invite the involvement in IPTC of everyone in the worldwide pilot training community. The flyer has been printed in hard copy and made available online in the six ICAO languages. Members of IPTC continue to make presentations at appropriate industry events, and articles have appeared in industry periodicals and online. The IPTC website facilitates the publication of IPTC outputs and provides a convenient means for all members of the industry to comment on areas of IPTC work. Many members of the industry have registered on the IPTC website and more contributions would be most welcome. The IPTC website and appropriate international events will continue to be used to report further developments.
Conclusion IPTC is unique. Never before has such a significant partnership been developed, and the addition of the ICCAIA will serve to further strengthen the Consortium. The IPTC has the potential to become a real game-changer in improving safety, quality and efficiency in commercial aviation worldwide. It deserves the full support of everyone in the industry and it is hoped that funds can be made available to the Consortium very soon so that the rate of progress on this important work can return to that originally planned.