Held in Warsaw, Poland, November 3-4, the 2015 European Airline Training Symposium (EATS) saw almost 600 delegates benefit from the perspectives of European and international training and simulation experts. The theme of EATS 2015 was “Exploring Training `Best Practise`, Regulatory Evolution and Training Cultures.” Conference Chair and CAT Editor-in-Chief Chris Lehman reports.
As one would expect from the 14th iteration of a mature conference, the 2015 annual EATS event delivered a highly focused and professional treatment of the civil aviation training narrative, covering both pilot and cabin crew training.
By all accounts, another record was realised - some 583 people from 72 airlines and 43 countries attended EATS 2015, along with 50-plus international exhibitors, including Diamond Sponsor CAE, Gold Sponsor TRU Simulation + Training, and Silver Sponsor Lockheed Martin.
LOT Polish Airlines - the official EATS 2015 air carrier - welcomed delegates via remarks from its Head of Training, Captain Kazimierz Stachowiak. EASA`s Daan Dousi provided a current overview of the European regulatory environment, mentioning the high EASA workload and the many projects in the pipeline. A new EASA organisational structure was highlighted at last years’ EATS event in Berlin, including the formation of an Industry Advisory Group to facilitate better communications. Peter Moxham provided an update to the status of this group at the Heads-of-Training Meeting the evening before (see CAT 5-2015 report).
Plenary topics drilled into the current training issues including the causes of recent accidents when the crews have been highly trained. Airbus weighed-in on why some of these crews were not able to follow that training, pointing to their new A350 XWB type rating course. The course uses a new process with new tools and a new goal: 'Resilience'. Captain Christof Kemény and Captain Christian Popp discussed evolving our Pilot Monitoring approach, particularly pilot multi-tasking, as research shows that technology is not actually improving multi-tasking. Delegates were introduced to a new pathway to a One-Team Cockpit philosophy and how to better train associated monitoring skills.
The dedicated pilot stream covered the range of issues concerning the continent’s S&T community. The regulatory session saw EASA return to the podium with an update on current aircrew regulations, an update on MPL licensing, UPRT, as well as the overall challenge of EASA resources and the admittedly long gestation period for regulatory change. The session also saw perspectives on Performance-based Regulation (PBR), and highlighted the differences between national regulators which must be taken into account by the industry. Further, views on the harmonisation of simulator standards were presented, including ICAO 9625 Edition 4, and the fact that less than 2% of regulators have actually adopted the document - the IPTC is now building a new matrix of phraseology to map against the old guidance material.
Delegates heard from a major Polish aviation institution – Rzeszrow University – and the challenges associated with how to become an airline pilot in Poland as qualification does not guarantee actual employment. CTC chimed in with an update on the modernisation of ab Initio ground training as part of the EASA Rule Making Task on the subject.
EATS would not be complete without an update on MPL, including the views of a recent graduate from Lund University’s MPL programme, and the results of an industry-wide MPL survey. The ‘father of MPL’ Dieter Harms joined in, indicating that there are now some 1,400 MPL graduates but he issued an urgent wake-up call over the severe misunderstandings surrounding competency-based training. All stakeholders must work together – Airline-ATO-Regulator.
Excellent airline presentations were a hallmark of day 2 of the conference, including a view from British Airways on dual qualification for the B777 and 787, as the scans, procedures and checklists are essentially the same, and as FBW aircraft the “feel” is very similar. Experience with Performance-based Navigation (PBN) came from Novair, while Ryanair discussed their Command Upgrade Program. Ryanair, while supporting MPL and the important personnel conduit it represents, won’t be embracing the concept due to the work and investment involved.
Finnair weighed-in on its experience with A350 fleet introduction, and EasyJet returned the discussion to cadet training and MPL, pointing out that the 12 aircraft landings requirement was a weakness, as well as the enormous airline investment needed to embrace the programme, and the fact that it is airline-specific in nature.
A powerful panel of UPRT experts including Nathalie de Ziegler from the French BEA, Dr. Sunjoo Advani, and Dr. Jeffery Schroeder and Robert Burke from the FAA, provided updates on the global initiatives surrounding UPRT, the advantages and disadvantages of simulator-only training, and the key need to recognise the stall and to PUSH to unload. Sobering perspectives from AF 447 were also provided.
A stellar EATS Cabin Crew stream was kicked off by Moderator Anna Mellberg of Novair. With Jeanne LaVoy, the cabin track opened with a “Salute to Flight Attendants” as 2015 is the 85th anniversary of the cabin crew profession.
Sherry Saehlenou delved into the question of where the next generation of workers will come from, noting that the “Alpha” generation – those under 5 years of age – will grow up immersed in technology and social media, and that we must find better ways of getting new generations engaged in this industry.
The importance of “emotional intelligence” was discussed by NaviMinds, particularly its relevance to training, and Ivan Noël highlighted the dangers of lithium batteries in the cabin as there are literally hundreds on board every flight.
Regulatory perspectives came from EASA, with a presentation on the Operational Suitability Data requirements and implementation experience, while Adria Airways and CAA Slovenia zeroed in on emergency equipment, and SAFA-SACA Ramp inspections. Aer Lingus pointed out that they have upgraded their training to over-comply with the regulations, with Recurrent now done yearly.
The remainder of the conference sessions explored topical issues of scenario-based training, managing change and motivating staff. The on-going issue of adapting instruction to suit the new generation was discussed by Icelandair and GoJet. And ARPI Aviation profiled a unique pre-contract training programme for cabin crew.
Pilot and cabin delegates returned for a special final joint session where the realities of elearning and mobile learning were presented by Padpilot, FSTC and US carrier Allegiant Air, with the latter presenting exciting developments in Adaptive Learning Technology. Earlier, CAE also discussed Adaptive Learning Technology, and like CAT Magazine has been predicting over the last year, we will be hearing much more about it.
All EATS 2015 conference presentations are available on the Halldale website at www.halldale.com/eats. See you back in Berlin in 2016.
Published in CAT Magazine issue 6/2015