An alliance of international organisations to raise global pilot performance standards was created at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 26 September.
The impetus for this move is the increase in fatal loss of control accidents to airliners over the last 20 years, especially two crashes in 2009: the Colgan Air accident at Buffalo, USA, and Air France flight 447 which came down in the South Atlantic.
At the RAeS Flight Crew Training Conference in London, the Society's president Phil Boyle added his signature to the document formally founding the International Pilot Training Consortium (IPTC). The agreement had already been signed in Montreal the previous week by the three other constituent member organisations: ICAO, IATA, and pilot association IFAPA. RAeS will chair the consortium.
The IPTC's mission statement is "to develop an international agreement on a common set of pilot training, instruction and evaluation standards and processes...that will result in ICAO provisions."
Also speaking at the conference, the Flight Safety Foundation’s president Bill Voss said that, despite the fact that the world’s airlines are delivering the lowest accident rate in aviation history, “I don’t feel that we have this under control yet.”
Voss says “the system feels fragile” while fatal accidents today are occurring because the system absolutely depends on pilots to save an aircraft when modern automatic aircraft systems fail, yet pilot training, especially recurrent training, frequently does not provide pilots with the skills and judgement to cope when failures occur, and recent statistics prove this.
The main reason for today’s low accident rate, says Voss, is that the latest airliners are so much better than they have ever been, and the converse truth is that the human factor is the system’s weakest point.