The traditional requirements for initial and recurrent pilot training are out of date. Pilots have to practice manoeuvres that represent the risks faced by pilots flying the first generation of jet aircraft 50 years ago. Over the years additional items have been added to the list of required training (CRM, windshear, ACAS etc.) but until now there has never been a comprehensive review of the training that pilots should be doing. Evidence Based Training (EBT) changes that.
EBT introduces a new schedule of training items but also addresses how training should be conducted. The items to be trained and the frequency of such training will be determined from a comprehensive study of the risks of real operations. Training will be conducted in a full-flight simulator where the training task requires the highest level of fidelity, but where full fidelity is not required training can be done using other types of device. Training tasks will be ‘clustered’ to avoid repeating multiple items that require the same skills. Most importantly the emphasis will be on training to enhance skills and knowledge and not on ‘checking’ to catch people out.
EASA are taking a phased approach to the introduction of regulations and guidance for EBT. Initially operators are able to introduce ‘mixed EBT’ where training plans can be updated but the traditional ‘LPC/OPC’ check items still have to be completed. As the regulations develop there will be the opportunity to streamline training further and there will be incentives to operators that implement EBT such as extended validity periods. EASA are well aware that for EBT to be a success it needs to deliver better training and to be cost effective for airlines.
Implementing EBT will be a complex, multi-year programme but operators should see operational and commercial benefits within the first couple of years. Operators will need to develop their ‘pilot competencies’ and behavioural marker systems; training syllabi will need to be rewritten; instructors will need to learn new training and assessment methods and there will be a comprehensive standardisation programme to ensure ‘inter-rater reliability’. There may be a need for new software and systems to support assessment and record keeping. Operators that don’t implement EBT will quickly find themselves at a commercial disadvantage to those that do.