David Learmount/FRANKFURT

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is proposing to change fundamentally the basis on which pilot licences are issued. The move is a response to rising concerns over safety, said a senior executive of the organisation at a Flight International conference in Frankfurt.

Future pilot licences are to be defined by training and explicit performance standards instead of being certificates defining licence responsibilities and privileges, says ICAO. The impending change is a reaction to the "disturbing number of accidents due to loss of control", said ICAO's chief of personnel licensing Paul Lamy, at the Flight International Crew Management conference on 26-27 March.

Lamy described the change, which he believes should be defined in about two years, as "a move from licensing standards to training standards". He said that the proposal is to be put before the ICAO Council by June. If the proposal is accepted, a study group made up of representatives from the airlines, manufacturers, and pilot groups will be tasked with drawing up the detail.

At present, said Lamy, flying tests and examinations are "usually poorly defined in terms of standards of performance". Examinations need to be more carefully defined, because "they truly define the level of competency required", he explained. Meanwhile, Lamy said, "training technology [simulation] has outpaced licensing technology-and we can build on the tremendous investment made by the aviation community on training".

Lamy also pointed out that loss of control accidents represent 25% of all fatal crashes and account for a slightly higher proportion of hull-loss incidents.

Source: Flight International