Ostensibly, vAAETS was a conference about aviation training in Korea, and certainly that was the primary emphasis of the presentations. However, the Virtual Asian Aviation Education and Training Symposium attracted significant interest from throughout Asia and indeed every corner of the world.

More than 800 people registered from 27 Asian countries and territories, including 600 from the Republic of Korea, from among the total of more than 1,400. Eight of the top 10 countries represented were Asian, the others being the United States and France. Altogether, more than 120 nations dialed in from Oceania, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, South America and North America, including many smaller countries.

Participants represented airlines (186), the aviation industry, universities, training centers, regulators, and airports.

And the presentations were clearly compelling: the average person spent more than three hours viewing the live event.

The videos of the vAAETS presentations are available for viewing in English or Korean. 

That the vAAETS became a global virtual event is no surprise given the reputation of the Koreans as technology and training innovators.

An official event of the Korean Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MoLIT) and hosted by the Korea Airports Corporation (KAC), the 2022 version of the annual conference again addressed leading issues in aviation training, such as:

  • Evidence-Based Training (EBT) methods and implementation, including instructor training
  • A/M/V/XR in pilot training
  • Refresher and Recurrent Training
  • New Technology including UAM/AAM/eVTOL

The vAAETS was moderated by Capt. Chris Long and Capt. Jacques Drappier. Event sponsors included CAE, CPAT.com, and L3Harris.

Yong-Seog Kim, Deputy Minister, Civil Aviation Office, MoLIT, told participants, “We are on the brink of an air transport revolution in pilot training and education to ensure aviation safety. Fostering talent to adapt to the new technology is crucial.”

Hyeong Jung Yoon, President and CEO, KAC, described how Korean airlines have been able to actively respond to the increased demand for pilots as operations resumed, using a convergence course and retraining for pilots who have been out of the cockpit for a long time.

Diego Martinez, Chief, Global Aviation Training, ICAO, warned, “The pilot shortage is jeopardizing the economic viability of many operators.” He said ICAO’s aviation personnel forecast, Doc 9956, shows a 41% increase in pilots in the Asia-Pacific region through 2037, or nearly 300,000 pilots.

The ICAO GAC chief stated: “As new technologies continue to be developed at a tremendous and historically unprecedented rate, and new entrants to aircraft design and operation are driving Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) use, this will required adaptations to many key areas of regulatory approval. The need for Standards to keep up with the pace of innovation is a key and urgent priority for us.”

CaptMichael Varney, CEO, Salient, the man considered “the father of EBT,” said EBT is an “experiential” approach to training in which instructors should encourage pilots to reflect on their experience and draw conclusions to put theory into practice. He advised airlines with multi-aircraft fleet to work together on development of their EBT programs – “it makes it a much more fertile environment.” He added, “It should never be a solitary task; it’s too important for that.” Varney also noted that “not every task in EBT is assessed in the same way it would be in an AQP program. The tasks are used to bring out competencies.”

Capt. Ping Lee, Chief Pilot HF CRM, said EVA Air has been developing EBT for several years. The next logical step is IBT (Individual-Based Training), which focuses on root-cause analysis in CRM situations: for example, how were threats mis-managed (failed to identify, failed to decide, failed to share …) and what risk mitigation steps did the crew take, if any. “I would hope that one day all of our instructors could have these enhanced competencies. Only a tailored training can help individuals into the highest effect.”

Stéphan Labucherie, Head of Flight Training Worldwide, Airbus, described the evolution of pilot training at the aircraft OEM – now the Airbus Total System Approach, which features end-to-end competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) for both ab initio and type rating training. He noted, “We have now fully implemented EBT in our ATO network.” 

Labucherie said the training is built on three anchors:

  1. Training feeds Safety, and Safety feeds Training.
  2. Keep in mind what Training should deliver: robust and resilient pilots.
  3. The best course without the right instructor is worth nothing.

Capt. David Swarbrick, Training Manager Boeing, Emirates Airline, said, “The competency approach is a much more mature way to train a pilot. It focuses on manual control, automation, all the traditional things… it also develops the human - leadership skills, situational awareness, workload management.” The Emirates training cycle follows SOAR: Study, Orientation, Application and Reflection.

Capt. JC Tan, Deputy Chief Pilot (Training), A380 Fleet, Singapore Airlines, addressed maintaining pilot competency during the pandemic and recovery. One method was seconding many of SIA's A380 pilots to other airlines so they could continue to fly. "But just keeping the regulatory minimums was not enough to maintain the competency." To further engage the pilots, they initiated a refresher program using peer-to-peer learning, plus a "restart" program three months before return to service. They also rolled out an instructor refresher course.

Hyejin Cho, Airmen Licensing Office, in charge of EPTA, KOTSA (Korea Transportation Safety Authority), explained that non-standard phraseology and lack of English proficiency are closely related to aviation accidents. She explained the progress of the Korean English Proficiency Test for Aviation, an online exam, now in its fourth year, which uses real-life scenarios to assess practical communication skills.

HyungKyu Woo, Manager, UAM and Innocity Department, Korea Airports Corporation, described how automobile traffic can require hours to move a few kilometers in megacities such as Seoul. Enter Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in a few short years. Woo outlined that expectations of UAM pilot licensing are different for EASA (new eVTOL certification system) and FAA (initially existing system with add-on, now a new certification). “This has caused a great ripple effect in the developers of Korea,” he said.

Jeongwoo Lyo, Global Business Manager, VIRNECT, and SooChul Shim, Flight Instructor, KAC Aviation Training Center, described XR content creation and training for a jet transition course, which uses Microsoft Hololens 2 and Galaxy tablets for cockpit familiarization in an immersive environment. Development time was reduced by 40x and cost by $300K.

Dewar Donnithorne-Tait, FRAeS, UAS Specialist Group, Royal Aeronautical Society, explained that approval of new eVTOL aircraft, of which there are hundreds in development, is a time-consuming process, so some National Aviation Authorities are seeking standardized scenarios. He also cautioned that “even uncrewed air vehicles,” an eventual goal of the eVTOL community, “will have to consider human life aboard” – passengers – and will need to be “at least as safe as commercial aviation.” 

Tony Duthie, FRAeS, Chair, Unmanned Air Systems Specialist Group Committee, Royal Aeronautical Society, said the addition of tens of thousands of pilots for eVTOL aircraft in the coming decade, coupled with retirements of commercial airline pilots, will create “competition for the right people.” He said young people today “have separate work/life expectations” than older generations and are more mobile.

Jo Watkinson, RAeS, Human Performance Specialist, CAE, cautioned, “Do not allow technology to determine the student grades” when applying CBTA. Deciding which box is not the name of the game.” She said the focus of instruction should be “on what went right and what could be better.”

Rick Parker, Co-Founder and CTO, Visionary Training Resources, described how virtual reality coupled with eye-tracking technology could be used in early stages of pilot training. He said, “To accelerate the adoption of new technology, airlines will need to play a more active role in the regulatory process than they did in the past.”