ICAO Meets To Discuss Pilot Training Changes


The International Civil Aviation Organization will hold meetings in Montreal next week to review pilot licensing requirements. ICAO officials said the meeting was organized to review whether current training standards are relevant for pilots of modern highly automated airliners. “Recently, with current events, people are discussing whether the minimum requirements or experience are still valid, [or] should we review that?” ICAO’s chief of operational safety Miguel Marin told Reuters. The meeting will be attended by regulators from most of the 193 member countries as well as pilot groups and industry officials.

One of the focuses will be on whether training focus should be on hours accumulated or on demonstrating competency, particularly when things go wrong. “What we’re seeing in highly automated aircraft, it’s not how to manage the airplane if things are OK. It’s those unexpected malfunctions that throw the airplane off,” Marin said. “We think that can only be addressed with a different type of approach to training rather than just saying, give them more hours.” That’s the opposite approach from that mandated by U.S. lawmakers in response to the crash of a Colgan Air Q400 in Buffalo, New York, in 2009. Congress ordered the FAA to increase the minimum amount of flight experience for airline first officers from 250 to 1,500.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Training, yeah….. Going to be a problem no matter what. Automation is good and bad. Good because of all the procedures that are now “routine” and the ability of the pilots to spread their focus onto a broader scale of aircraft operations. Bad because of the deterioration of “hand-eye” skills and the narrowing of their focus on “feeding” the automation data. In commercial operations, training is considered a cost-center and great efforts are expended to reduce costs by minimizing training. This has been caused by “bean counters” and “bean counter influenced management”. Throughout my career in the steam gauge era, we would spend 5 days in the classroom reviewing and a total of 7 days in the sim (5 & 2). Little or nothing was CBT. While I will readily agree that CBT can be useful for some items, face to face training is far more effective for the student. Ditto with the sim time. Until training ceases to be a 4 letter word to management, issues will continue to arise that training could have prevented.