EASA For a Paradigm Shift in Initial Training For Commercial Pilots


EASA is proposing to modernise the learning system and to update the learning objectives and the current professional pilots’ syllabi.

As technology evolves and the industry is demanding well-prepared pilots, with strongly built core competencies, it is important that student pilots are taught theory which reflects the operational environment they will encounter as professional pilots. It is also important that their theoretical knowledge is oriented towards practical application already from day 1 of their ground training.

For these reasons, EASA has started the process to review, update and modernise the syllabi for commercial licences (ATPL, MPL, CPL and IRs) that establish the objectives of initial training courses, called ‘learning objectives’. The EASA proposal aims to ensure that with the update, the pilot training syllabi will bridge the gap between theory and practice, helping pilots to apply their knowledge and develop the right skills and attitudes even before they enter the cockpit for the first time.

The EASA Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA 2016-03), published on the 9 June, aims to ensure that the learning objectives correspond to today’s operational environment and that commercial pilots are equipped with the knowledge and understanding relevant to modern flight deck and current industry needs. As a result, the courses will be designed to enhance the pilots’ core competencies and their ability to take informed decisions.

The proposals go beyond the requirement to achieve a relevant and current level of knowledge in the various subjects of examination (such as, for example, knowledge about the aircraft, flight planning, human performance, meteorology, navigation, operational procedures, etc.).

The NPA puts forward new learning objectives in Area 100 KSA (Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes), as a tool to help training organisations instil a philosophy of training, which should prepare students for the entire life as pilots, not just for the exams.

The new learning objectives of Area 100 KSA aim at the development of proper skills and attitudes, such as leadership, determination, teamwork, communication, etc. The future pilots will be challenged to apply the already assimilated theoretical knowledge to practical exercises involving their decision-making abilities and their capacity to think under pressure, identify and correctly manage the threats and errors, developing the right attitudes at assessing a problem to find the correct solution.

The NPA also proposes a transition period of 4 years to update all the relevant training material and design the courses using the new syllabi and learning objectives. Stakeholders are invited to send their feedback on the proposed transition plan.

The Agency is seeking comments and input on the work of the industry-led group. Following the publication of NPA 2016-03, the Agency organised a Workshop on the 15th June, with the participation of more than 80 persons from National Aviation Authorities, training schools, associations of ATOs, airlines, individual flight instructors and student pilots. The aim of the conference was to clarify elements of the proposals and to seek input from a variety of stakeholders.

The consultation is open until the 12 September 2016. Once all comments have been received and processed, the Agency in cooperation with a review group of experts, will prepare a Comment Response Document and the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011. The publication of the updated learning objectives for student pilots is planned for the end of 2016.

Source: EASA Press Release