On Wednesday 1st February EASA hosted the first workshop on the implementation of Evidence Based Training (EBT) at its new headquarters in Cologne.
The workshop was opened with a keynote address from George Rebender, Head of EASA Aircrew Department. George explained that the EASA EBT initiative started in 2014 following a meeting in Helsinki and that EBT represents a ‘new training paradigm’ for pilot training. The EASA project manager for EBT, Francisco Arenas Alvarino then provided an overview of EASAs rulemaking programme for EBT. Guidance has already been published that enables airlines to implement ‘mixed EBT’. New regulations that will enable the adoption of ‘baseline EBT’ for recurrent pilot training were published as a first draft on the day of the workshop and are expected to be implemented by 2019. After this EBT will be extended to type rating training and also to recurrent training for business jets and helicopters. Yann Ranier explained the tasks assigned by EASA to the rulemaking group and Tim Rolfe followed with an explanation of the work being done to develop EBT for helicopter operations. Michael Varney, Chairman of the EBT rulemaking group, provided an explanation of the concept of EBT, in particular he highlighted that EBT is based around a set of core competencies and that these core competencies arose from extensive research into the characteristics of effective airline pilots.
Implementation of mixed EBT
After a break the workshop divided with the majority of participants attending the session on implementation of ‘mixed EBT’ within an airline. ‘Mixed EBT’ combines the elements of an EBT programme with ‘traditional’ checking (licence proficiency check/operator’s proficiency check) and can therefore be implemented now, without deviating from the existing regulations. Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and the Danish CAA provided a joint view of the project to develop an EBT programme and to achieve regulatory approval. A key theme was the need for thorough planning and the involvement of all the key stakeholders including pilots, instructors, unions and the Authority.
Other elements of EBT
After lunch representatives from industry presented on other elements of the EBT system. Keith Dyce of British Airways explained that airline’s approach to ‘approach clustering’ that means that crew take credit for training on one type of approach when they have completed training on different types of approach with the same characteristics. This frees up valuable simulator time for other training tasks. Christian Norden of Airbus explained their approach to ‘malfunction clustering’ that categorises the more than 2000 warnings and cautions that can be presented by the Airbus avionics according to the characteristics of crew performance required to deal with the underlying malfunctions. He then went on to explain how the EBT philosophy has been implemented into the type rating course for the A350 and the improvements to pilot performance that have resulted from this. Michel Lacombe of Air France explained how his airline had implemented the pilot competencies, Patrick Magisson of the European Cockpit Association explained the importance of instructor training for EBT and Steve Mercer of Emirates Airline explained the comprehensive instructor training and standardisation programme required as part of the introduction of EBT.
Alternative Training Means
EBT isn’t just about training different items, it’s also about using innovative training methods. Anneke Nabben of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre explained how the use of modern training methods and new technology has significant potential to improve flight crew competence and maximize the value of expensive training platforms such as full flight simulators. Andy Mitchell of Use Before Flight then provided a practical demonstration of novel training tools including an iPad app for type technical and recurrent training and the use of virtual reality to expose pilots to a realistic simulation of an approach operation without the use of a simulator. Airbus also presented some of the tools used in the A350 type rating programme.
The workshop closed with Daan Dousi, EASA Manager of Aircrew Regulations thanking the participants and contributors and outlining some of the other work ongoing within EASA to modernise pilot training. As well as the EBT project there are parallel projects to update requirements for instructors and examiners and to develop new standards for the qualification of flight simulation training devices (FSTDs). Taken together these initiatives will facilitate the biggest change in pilot training for a generation with significant benefits for pilots, aircraft operators and the travelling public.