Sir - I can see no reason why the European Joint Aviation Authorities' (JAA's) call for higher academic standards among pilots would touch a raw nerve with Capt John Raby (Flight International, 16-22 April, P40) other than because he feels personally threatened.

The JAA makes no mention of airmanship or situational awareness; all it says is that academic standards should be improved. These factors do not conflict with each other; indeed academics promote deductive reasoning and clear thinking and there can be no doubt that, to a large extent, that is what airmanship and situational awareness are all about.

I have no doubt that this is the reasoning behind the JAA's resolution and is the reasoning of the world's air forces and airlines which require academic training.

Good thinking, coupled with a long apprenticeship and a sound academic background, is an excellent recipe for improving cockpit safety. Traditional thinkers such as Capt Raby should not be allowed to slow the industry down.

Thomas Dallas

Athens, Greece


Source: Flight International