The interest and demand for training in Asia continues to grow fast, and APATS 2015 echoed that strongly. By any measure this was bigger (numbers), better (additional topics) and booming (great business) than other successful APATS events. Chris Long reports.
A simple headcount reveals that there was a 30% increase in numbers attending (up from 370 in 2014 to 479 in 2015) with a significant build-up of numbers of countries represented (36 in 2014, 41 in 2015), airlines (47 in 2014 to 51 in 2015), and airline people (93 in 2014 to 121 in 2015), together with more speakers and exhibitors. Additionally there was more presence from academic organisations, and the reach of the conference was also broadened by the inclusion for the first time of a cabin crew contribution which reflected the thirst for knowledge in that discipline.
In his opening keynote address, Captain Yann Lardet, general manager, Airbus Asia Training Center Pte. Ltd. got things off to an excellent start as he summarised the current demand and issues in the region. He was closely followed by some intriguing insights into the Human Factors which determine training focus and methodologies, a theme running through many of the other presentations.
Increasingly the careful selection of trainees at all stages of their careers is making efficiencies within training systems, and this process is now becoming more widely accepted as a critical function. Continuing research and evidence is currently being absorbed and applied systematically throughout aircraft operations; consequently the training is leading to much more effective and user-friendly methods of transferring knowledge. These people-centric techniques not only result in shorter training footprints, but importantly, generate better retention and cost reduction. Safety is also further enhanced.
Aviation English remains an important issue, and this session saw concern expressed as to the efficacy of the testing procedures for the language proficiency. There was an insight into where the challenges still are, and then a presentation on how to train the new generation of entrants.
The cooperation between ICAO and Halldale saw a session run by ICAO, which touched on the mechanisms by which ICAO Global Aviation Training can support and sustain the rapid growth in global civil aviation.
Training for Unexpected Events is a hot topic, and the panel presentations and discussion stimulated the debate on how best to address the issue, including suggesting the methods to provoke credible and realistic “startle” scenarios. These are intended to develop resilience in the face of the kind of unplanned event which suddenly moves crews outside routine operations.
An update on the fascinating onward march of technology closed the symposium, and delegates were led through ideas on how that technology is developed, through the benefits which it can produce, and finally, on to how Airbus intends to apply a completely revised approach to both initial type and recurrent training. This latter recognises how individuals learn and would create a form of training really focused on operational and individual needs, rather than a box-ticking exercise which simply runs through the minimal regulatory requirements.
Included in the sessions were areas which had relevance for both Flight Deck and Cabin Crews. Human factors and the principles of selection are applicable to both. However, for the first time a dedicated session run by Kellie White, Safety and Emergency Procedures Training Manager at Emirates, was available to cabin crews, and this, coupled to a workshop on the second day, provided the forum for intense discussion and exchange of ideas (see the feedback at the end of this piece).
In a similar vein, a survey was distributed to invite the attendees of APATS to participate in a global working group, which started at WATS and was initiated by Captain Christof Kemény and Captain Christian Popp. Their presentation was delivered in a novel form of a dialogue, which suggested that adjustments to the design of SOPs and training methodologies are needed to increase human performance in the cockpit. In this context the concept of the “ONE Team Cockpit” was introduced based on academic research in neurobiology and human cognitive performance. In order to complete the data collection on a global scale, they are looking forward to extending this “Working Group” by offering the same opportunity and experience to the attendees of EATS in November.
The numbers quoted at the beginning of this report are, of course, only part of the story. The quality of the conference and the effectiveness of the presentations also need to be considered. Naturally those who come regularly perceive a degree of repetition, but perhaps they are not aware that many delegates are only recently taking up training responsibilities, so background information is important as they build up their competences.
Most, on the other hand, were enthused. Feedback from the delegates:
“This was the Halldale event I’ve attended with the highest level of innovation to solve “problems” facing the industry vs complaining about them with no ideas on how to fix them.”
“Workshop very beneficial, get more out of it than 30 min presentations.”
“An excellent event. It’s a great learning forum and opportunity to meet the industry.”
“Cabin crew presenters Amanda and Joseph were great. Thank you for including something cabin crew related.”
“Good range of subjects covered. Best bit: cabin crew training. It’s not all about pilots!”
“APATS has exceeded my expectations and has been extremely beneficial.”
“Will definitely come because of superb experience of this APATS.”
All in all a very successful symposium, riding the wave of increased demand. Without doubt this trend will continue next year, as APATS builds on its reputation to grow still further - it is now well established as the must-do regional training event.