EATS 2011

EATS 2011

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European Airline Training Symposium

8-9 November 2011
Clarion Congress Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic 

With 48 countries and 74 airlines represented, the 10th iteration of EATS focused on today's pressing aviation training issues. With critical support from Czech Airlines, Gold Sponsor CAE, and many others, EATS 2011 explored the theme of "Integrating Simulation and Operational Evidence to Deliver Aviation Safety". Throughout the event there was emphasis on feeding back our operational experience and data to the current training system, and doing so quickly and efficiently. This ranged from recognizing the learning characteristics of the current generation and then optimizing instructional techniques, through to using accident data in flight path reconstructions for training.

EATS has striven since the first event in 2002 to be a truly pan-European training conference, and this year increased attendance fromEastern Europestimulated a decision to provide real time English-Russian translation. A considerable number of speakers - and delegates - hailed from the Baltic, Russian, and CIS states.


Josef Rada, General Director of the Czech CAA delivered the first of two keynotes, and picked up on the conference theme by exploring the relationship between theoretical knowledge and practical experience, suggesting that the challenge is to get this balance right, and that we need to ensure that pilots have ready access to the experiences and mentoring of senior pilots and current data. Roei Ganzarski, Chief Customer Officer, Boeing Flight Services continued with the conference theme by addressing the unique role of the instructor, suggesting that the time has come to create a new breed of instructors who are measured and rewarded for their ability to teach, inspire and motivate, not just on how long they have flown. Given the massive number of pilots, mechanics and instructors needed to support the more than 33,000 commercial airplanes that will be delivered over the next 20 years, the idea demands our attention.

EASA provided a sincere and much-appreciated overview of FCL status in the midst of the continuing transition from the JAA, but it was apparent from the delegate questions that there remains a need for clarity and haste, particularly for training organisations whose commercial decisions are dependent on the regulatory details. The importance of instructor qualifications and standardisation emerged again via a presentation from the International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP), an organisation which is collecting training “Best Practises” in an on-line database – something that could be very valuable as the industry deals with both industry growth and an aging demographic. Together with standardization, harmonisation is another critical need, and delegates learned from the Professional Aviation Board of Certification (PABC) about efforts to establish a global standard for professional pilot assessment, which would complement ICAO and IATA initiatives.


The importance of training regimes that focus on proficiency, rather than accumulated hours was a central theme of the conference and delegates heard from major training providers on the status of the innovative Multi-Crew Pilots License (MPL). Issues of Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I) and Upset Recovery Training were dominant in much of the conference, as they are in the industry itself, and the increasing use of FOQA/FODA data in flight simulators to enhance training was well-received. Further, and critically, it was apparent that the community has begun to challenge the paradigm of “pilots are system operators,” and that automation always enhances safety. Degradation of manual flying skills is a world-wide concern and there was a sense that there is a need to move the pendulum somewhat back from “know-what” to “know-how.”

Delegates also heard about very specific Eastern European issues such as transitioning from Soviet-era aircraft to western machines. And there was discussion about the training challenges specific to Europe, as compared to other jurisdictions, such as restricted airspace, high user fees and taxes, and excessive environmental and political opposition. However, European acceptance of MPL, a more established tradition of proficiency-based training, and generally high training standards were seen as offsets to some of the aforementioned disadvantages.

The final session of the conference was led by the Aviation Industries Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC). A distinguished panel of industry experts led by Captain Herbert Schwarz of Austrian Airlines explored the merits of mobile learning, demonstrating the enormous value of this medium in aviation training.

Join us for EATS 2012, to be held in Berlin, November 6-7, 2012.

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