Inadequate regulation, enhanced pilot training, pilot fatigue and the need for a true safety culture to prevent accidents are the four most pressing emerging issues identified by European pilots. While some of these issues, such as pilot training and fatigue, have already made headlines across the world, others still tend to fall off the radar. ECA’s new publication, “Flight Plan to Safety”, offers a unique overview on the future (threats) for commercial aviation from the pilots’ perspective.
The first challenge identified by pilots – Inadequate regulation – stems from the inability of regulatory authorities to draft adequate regulation and to enforce it through proper oversight. Speaking examples from other industries, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig explosion, show that the lack of adequate regulation and oversight can have dramatic consequences. Drawing lessons from various industries on how to improve regulation and oversight is therefore a must for aviation. “Inadequate Regulation & Oversight: Can it guarantee safety?” is the first brochure of the Flight Plan sequence, which looks deeper into this issue.
Pilot Training is also increasingly becoming a challenge for commercial aviation to keep flying safe, as outlined in the ECA “Pilot Training Compass: Back to the Future”. In addition to eroding manual flying skills, entry requirements to the profession are under growing scrutiny and strain. Complex regulations and tighter budgets are also contributing to the challenge of ensuring pilots are well trained to guarantee safe operations.
Pilot fatigue has long since been identified as a major risk factor by leading scientists. Ensuring a uniform, safety-oriented interpretation and implementation of Europe’s upcoming new Flight Time Limitations rules, the careful introduction of FRMS and its proper oversight by authorities will be a key task for aviation stakeholders in Europe in addition to further scientific fatigue research into the effects of fatigue and its proper mitigation.
The fourth point made by European pilots is the need for establishing a true safety culture to form the basis for proper collection, protection and analysis of safety information and data. What the new EU Occurrence Reporting legislation is already setting the tone for, should be encouraged in a Just Culture environment.
The “Flight Plan”, presented officially at the ECA General Assembly in November, only sketches the framework for further in-depth review of each of these issues. Continuously evaluating those issues and following-up as well as looking at newly emerging issues will remain a top priority for Europe’s pilots.
Download ECA Flight Plan to Safety
Download Part I: "Pilot Training Compass: Back to the Future" (2013)