Peter Moxham, FRAeS, reports on the successful Heads of Training meeting and its outcomes, at the recent EATS 2014 in Berlin.

EATS 2014 has marked a turning point in relationships between the professional pilot training industry and EASA with a recognised change in emphasis from EASA in its dealings with the industry. It has been well known for some time that change was coming to the Cologne-based facility that is responsible for aviation regulation in Europe, and it has never become more obvious than at EATS in Berlin this last October.

This year EATS incorporated a new part of the event on the evening preceding the main conference when over 150 delegates, mainly heads of Training from airlines, training organisations and some regulators gathered for discussions on the difficulties and problems found with EASA regulations and actions. EASA agreed to attend the meeting and gave very full and frank responses to the issues raised, staying at the meeting for over an hour, and then continuing in one on one discussions with individual delegates for nearly a further hour.

In the course of the discussions EASA became very aware that their interaction with the industry had obviously not been as fruitful for them as it should have been, and they announced the following day that as a direct result of the Heads of Training meeting, they were establishing a new small Group to establish a bridge between themselves and the industry to ensure that issues were dealt with in a more efficient manner and further, dealt with in the order that those that were more urgent were dealt with first, with others to follow.

The new Industry Advisory Group was confirmed on the opening day of EATS and has subsequently moved further ahead, with a very tight group of industry representatives from all aspects of the professional pilot training sector being represented - fixed wing, rotary, airline, large and small training organisations, corporate and business operator training organisations, manufactures and includes a representative of the professional pilot unions, in all totalling just 10 individuals. It is anticipated that the first meeting will take place at EASA in early January 2015. The two major trade training organisations, IPPTG and IAAPS will be co-ordinating the agendas.

Trevor Woods, the EASA director responsible made the announcement, and it is thought that meetings will take place at about three monthly intervals. The small Group should enable a much quicker reaction both by EASA and stakeholders with the full effects, commercially as well as technically, being apparent to all parties being understood within the EASA structure.

This is a major step forward and should solve and avoid many of the disagreements and difficulties that have plagued the introduction of EASA FCL and it was a very pleasant surprise to find that the new EASA Board and Management were moving forward in such a positive manner.

For EATS this was very significant as it came about as a direct result of the issues raised at the Heads of Training meeting which EASA are very keen to support over the coming years. It will give those attending from whichever sector of the professional pilot training industry a chance to raise and discuss issues on a face to face basis with those both making and interpreting the EASA FCL and associated flight operations training issues.

EASA have confirmed their support for EATS in 2015, and we ask those experiencing any problems with EASA requirements to be sure to voice their problems. Indeed if you are currently having significant difficulties in any area then please contact the author to get them on to the agenda for future discussion.