Notes on Aviation Training Trends from APATS 2016

Last week (August 30-31, 2016) saw a flurry of discussions and conferences at the two-day Asia Pacific Aviation Training Symposium (APATS) in Singapore. Attended by 559 delegates from 45 countries, representing 51 airlines, 234 companies, APATS 2016 saw 32 presentations on various operational and training matters, addressing some major training issues confronting the Asian aviation industry. 

Taking off from the WATS narrative in Orlando in April 2016, APATS saw a continued expression of the aviation industry’s worry regarding current pilot shortages, focus on safety training and discussions on newer methods to address the challenges arising out of newer generations of aviation professionals and emerging training technology and tools. Chaired by Jacques Drappier, the APATS conference program focused on Upset Recovery, Evidence Based Training, Human Factors, and Competency-based training methods. With a diverse range of speakers from regulators to operators (airlines), training experts, aviation psychologists and training providers, the conference discussed matters of global importance such as pilot selection, new training methods, challenges in training future pilots, engineers and cabin crew, safety culture and virtual training environments among many others.

#TayTiangGuan, Deputy Director-General, #CAASingapore underlined the role of training and grooming new professionals in his keynote address, and was quickly followed by an insightful industry address by #CaptainQuayChewEng, Senior VP of Flight Operations, #SingaporeAirlines, who emphasised the need for airlines to be bold and take initiative to support industry growth. Among other speakers, #CaptainTorbjornWischer, Global Leader Training Strategy, CAE, spoke on strategic directions for next-generation training, while #ArielLandau, Director (Training Development), #Boeing, addressed the changing cadet/pilot profiles and the related impact on training development, while #DavidLomax, Manager Ground Training, #CathayPacificAirways addressed core issues in building training solutions while presenting Cathay’s Virtual Aircraft Training System.

Dr Karina Mesarosova (Managing Director) and Captain Kevin Craven (Certified Aviation Expert) of  KM Flight Research & Training, conducted a delightful tag-team style session on ‘Pilot Personality in Selection: Are We Measuring What Needs to be Measured?’ With a judicious balance of information, data, analysis, theory and practice, they presented a compelling case for greater emphasis on selection methods. #Cherie-AnnKhalil and #HewSekMoy of #CAASingapore provided a detailed outline of competency-based training for cabin crew, while #AyeAyeNaing, Head of Flight Service, #MyanmarNationalAirlines gave a delightful and informative presentation on ‘Cabin Safety Training in a Developing Nation’.

The Human Factors session (the last session on Day 1) saw a nearly packed house held captive by Dr Seamus Phan of The McGallen & Bolden Group and Captain Owen Sims (Type Rating Instructor with Flybe). The session started with Captian Bohum Kwon, B777 Captain with Korean Air (also President of Korean Academy of Human Factors) presenting on Cultural Influences in Training; that set the stage for Dr Seamus Phan to work magic with his delightful time travel presentation wherein he linked philosophies from Ancient China and Japan to Leadership lessons fro modern-day aviation organisations. The grand finale came in the form of Captain Owen Sims’s interactive presentation on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Application in Training. Captain Sims’ presentation was an epitome of great design and delivery complete with graphic builds and animations in sync with key messages delivered in-person with conversational clarity and contextual examples.

The event also featured two full days of exhibition with 51 exhibitors (including CAE, Airbus, FSI, Rockwell Collins, L3, Peak Pacific, Prodefis, PadPilot) presenting solutions and products in simulation, flight training devices, grading systems, learning management systems, aviation eLearning, publishing and flight training, among others.

APATS, which is in its 13th year, is organised by Halldale Media’s CAT (Civil Aviation Training) magazine. CAT organises three annual events – World Aviation Training Symposium (WATS, started in 1998), European Aviation Training Symposium (EATS since 2002), and APATS (since 2005). Andy Smith, Founder and CEO of Halldale (and Publisher of CAT) gave some indications of what we can expect next year. “A full cabin stream next year and we will begin to investigate Maintenance with a breakout or workshop perhaps. APATS, as with all our events, is designed to support the airlines as they develop and perfect their training regimes as the key building block on which to build their safety program. Increasingly, that involves strengthening the network of training suppliers, equipment suppliers and regulators. To help do that we’ve created the Heads of Training meeting within the events as a confidential forum for all involved in training in which real issues can be addressed and solutions discussed.  Overall our community is key to maintaining and improving the excellent safety record of the airlines as they deal with growth, demographic and other issues over the next years.”

The next training event on the calendar is the European Aviation Training Symposium (EATS 2016) in Berlin November 1-2, 2016.

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