Integrated flight training for private and commercial pilot licences
Who should read this information?
- Flight training operators currently conducting 150 hour aeroplane commercial pilot licence training courses that are required to transition to Part 142 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations if they plan to continue with these courses after 31 August 2018.
- Operators who want to apply for a Part 142 authorisation to deliver integrated training courses for private and commercial pilot licences.
What is integrated training?
An integrated training course is an intensive program that combines ground theory training with practical flight training in a structured way, and is designed to be completed within a condensed period of time.
Integrated training is defined in Part 1 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (the CASR Dictionary) as an intensive course of training that is designed to ensure that a course participant receives ground theory training integrated with practical flight training.
The ground theory training and practical flight training can be conducted by the same operator, or the operator that conducts the practical flight training can engage another person or organisation to conduct the ground theory training on their behalf.
Integrated training is conducted according to a syllabus that satisfies the knowledge and flight test standards specified in the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS) for the grant of a private or commercial pilot licence, and is designed to be completed within a condensed period of time.
What is the purpose of integrated training?
The purpose of integrated training is to achieve training outcomes more efficiently and effectively, and therefore in a reduced time period. For private pilot licence (PPL) and commercial pilot licence (CPL) courses, applicants can qualify with reduced aeronautical experience requirements after completing an integrated course. For example, a person can complete an integrated training course and be eligible for a CPL with an aeroplane category rating with 50 fewer hours than a person who doesn’t complete an integrated course.
How is ground theory integrated with practical flight training?
Relevant aspects of aeronautical knowledge training are delivered in advance of the corresponding practical flight training as a planned, integrated sequence. Ground and flight training elements are interrelated and sequenced to provide for efficient achievement of the learning objectives.
Of fundamental importance is the underpinning knowledge relevant to the particular practical flight sequence being delivered. In every case, the underpinning knowledge is delivered or refreshed in a timely manner to support the practical training sequence.
What happens when theory training is contracted out to a third party provider?
Under Part 142, flight training operators can choose to contract a third party to deliver the theory training, subject to details of the arrangement being included in the operator’s exposition. The theory training remains an integral part of the Part 142 course.
Where training elements are contracted out to a third party, the flight training organisation retains the responsibility for student progress and monitoring during the entire course (including the theory training), and for ensuring that the standards for any training that is delivered meet the requirements of the training management system.
If an operator wants to contract the theory component of a course out to a third party, CASA will assess the oversight arrangements that are in place to ensure the training is being delivered to the required standard, in an integrated manner, and will assess how records are maintained and student progress is monitored.
How does the training satisfy the knowledge and flight standards specified in the Part 61 MOS?
Part 61 contains the rules relating to flight crew licensing including the requirements to obtain and maintain licences, ratings and endorsements and the limitations that apply to exercising their privileges. The Part 61 MOS contains the aeronautical knowledge and practical competency standards for all Part 61 licences, ratings and endorsements. It allows training organisations some flexibility in how they structure their training courses to enable students to meet the required outcomes. In other words, the MOS prescribes what trainees need to achieve; training organisations decide how they will achieve it.
What is a ‘condensed period of time’?
Part 61 doesn’t place minimum or maximum restrictions on the duration of an integrated training course. However, the concept of a ‘condensed period of time’ is used in the regulations to indicate that integrated training cannot be delivered indefinitely. Instead, an integrated training course needs to have a defined duration ‒ that is, the start and finish is scheduled by the flight training operator. Integrated training courses are also structured to ensure that training is planned to proceed without undue interruption, and that flight lessons occur on a regular basis.
A range of factors may impact on the length of time it takes a student to complete an integrated training course. These could include absences due to injury or illness, or circumstances where a student has a first language other than English and requires additional training above syllabus guidelines in order to operate safely and effectively in the Australian aviation environment.
For example, it would be reasonable for an integrated commercial pilot training program to define a planned duration of approximately 12 months. By contrast, it would also be reasonable for a university based course (with degree outcomes) to have a longer duration (in this case additional theory such as air transport pilot licence theory may also be integrated into the training program). In both examples, the underpinning knowledge relevant to any given flying training sequence is required to be delivered within defined and acceptable timeframes.
When assessing proposed timeframes, CASA will engage with operators (if required) about how they have determined the duration of their courses. The primary considerations are whether courses are ‘intensive’ (actively designed to increase effectiveness) and delivered within a ‘condensed period’ (reasonably uninterrupted in time), and whether flight lessons are sequenced appropriately and regularly. Operators may choose to develop several courses of differing durations to accommodate the particular needs of diverse cohorts.
Practical training is regular and frequent so that continuity and progress is assured with minimal retraining required, which usually arises from lengthy periods between training sequences.
An integrated training course may bypass some of the common milestones of ‘stepping-stone’ training, such as gaining a recreational pilot licence (RPL) on the way to a CPL, and delivers a continuous program from commencement right through to the desired licensing outcome. While integrated training courses are formally prescribed for students who want to gain an aeroplane or helicopter PPL or CPL for a helicopter or aeroplane, the principles of integrated training can also be applied to other Part 142 courses such as type ratings.
What are the principles of integrated training course design and delivery?
- The course is designed and conducted applying a systems approach (see ‘what is a training management system’).
- The application of contemporary adult learning theory should be at the forefront of the instructional design of the course.
- Processes are used to plan, implement and evaluate single units of instruction, programs and entire curriculums.
- Planning is applied to ensure that relevant knowledge is delivered at the appropriate time in advance of each related flight training sequence to optimise flight training outcomes.
- Processes are used to identify and manage students who are underperforming, so that quick corrective action can be taken.
- The instructional design of the course includes logical course milestones and pre-defined, structured pathways to manage unplanned events such as adverse weather or aircraft unserviceability.
- The policy for managing course entry, absence and exit points is stated and applied.
- Courses are conducted within a condensed period of time.
Can a Part 141 organisation conduct integrated training?
No. Only a flight training operator who is approved under Part 142 to conduct an integrated training course for the grant of a PPL or CPL can offer training courses that benefit from the reduced aeronautical experience requirements described in Part 61.
As well as meeting a range of other regulatory requirements, all Part 142 operators need to develop and maintain a safety management system, a training management system and an internal training and checking system – each of which is incorporated into the operator’s exposition. Syllabuses and lessons need to be assessed by CASA as an integrated course. Each of these aspects is scalable depending on the size and complexity of the flight training organisation.
Part 142 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations was developed to be consistent with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements for approved training organisations. These requirements are also consistent with how many other countries manage the delivery of integrated training.
What is a training management system?
A training management system supports an operator’s obligation to effectively manage each student’s training against the course training plan, and ensures students achieve the required standards at each stage of the course. A training management system also supports the treatment of under-performance and record management. At a minimum, a Part 142 operator’s training management system needs to include:
- a course outline, detailed syllabus and standards for each kind of Part 142 flight training or contracted recurrent training activity the operator is authorised to conduct
- forms for recording training progress and outcomes
- mechanisms for identifying when a student does not meet the required standards, and procedures for managing these circumstances
- an auditable system for maintaining records.
Training management systems should also include mechanisms, such as trend analysis, for facilitating the continuous improvement of the program based on training and assessment data.
They can also be linked to crew rostering and other management systems, however, these additional features are not required by Part 142.
What should be considered in the design of an integrated training course?
In designing an integrated course, a provider should specify the time allocated to theoretical knowledge training and practical training, as well as the facilities and training tools to be used for the training activity. In some instances computer-based training systems and flight simulation training devices might be used extensively in a course. These systems need to be monitored and managed appropriately to ensure the training objectives are being achieved.
Providers also need to be able to demonstrate that their courses have been planned and divided into logical phases, separated by course milestones. For example, a conventional CPL integrated course might have the following phases:
- pre-area solo
- general flying
- basic navigation
- advanced navigation
- instrument flying
- simulated commercial operations.
Progressive assessments might occur at the following milestones:
- pre-navigation progress test (equivalent to the recreational pilot licence flight test)
- navigation progress test (equivalent to the PPL flight test)
- pre-licence check.
The operator should have policies and procedures in place to ensure the integrity of their courses is maintained, such as how to control extensions or interruptions to training. Significant breaks may require recommencement or remedial training.
To maximise the benefits of integration, courses are generally conducted as single, full-time courses. Flight training and theoretical knowledge instruction should be phased to ensure students are able to apply the knowledge they gain on the ground to their flight exercises. Students are expected to demonstrate competency through checks and assessment, including theoretical knowledge examinations and progressive assessment during flight training.
Procedures should be documented so that any problems encountered during instruction can be addressed and resolved in subsequent training.
How does CASA determine what constitutes an integrated training course?
When determining whether to approve an integrated training course, CASA will consider the definition of integrated training and the elements in the operator’s training management system.
This will involve assessment of the operator’s materials to review:
- the course design, phases and milestones
- how the course is monitored
- how the course length and duration have been determined
- how student absences are managed
- how continuity of instruction is ensured for students who take extended periods of absence
- how the aeronautical knowledge standards, practical flight standards and the associated underpinning knowledge contained in the Part 61 MOS have been integrated into the training syllabus
- how theory will be delivered (such as face-to-face, online modules, tutorials, podcasts or a combination of approaches), and the effectiveness of the delivery methods in ensuring students meet the required standards
- how the practical flight training and its associated underpinning knowledge is delivered and assessed (such as using computer-based learning systems, briefings, flight simulation training devices and aircraft) the structure of the course and how the syllabus and training plan operate to achieve integration objectives.
Can students transfer between integrated training providers?
Flight training operators can choose whether to offer courses that allow credit for students who have acquired previous experience with another integrated training provider. In these instances the entry requirements and pathways must be clearly specified.
Students who want to transfer to a new integrated training provider will need to be able to demonstrate that they meet the minimum licensing and experience requirements for entry to the course. A copy of the student records from the first provider need to be made available to the second provider.
Examples of what may or may not be considered integrated training
Sample Aviation provides training for the CPL (aeroplane). The training courses are scheduled to commence at the beginning of February each year, and be completed by the end of November in the same year. Sample Aviation has described the timing of theory delivery in its course planning matrix. This includes outlining how initial theory is delivered, as well as how recency is ensured through the delivery of relevant underpinning knowledge for each related flight sequence. The theory is delivered face-to-face with Sample Aviation’s own theory instructor. Theory lessons for the CASA examinations are conducted in blocks as described by the planning matrix, and are sequenced throughout the flying training in a logical structure. Student progress is continually monitored throughout the duration of the course by the training management system. This allows for continuous improvement of Sample Aviation’s training system.
Although other considerations apply, this may be considered integrated training.
Winglet Aviation offers training for the CPL (aeroplanes) over a 24 month period, with two intakes a year. In addition to this training, Winglet Aviation also incorporates instrument flight rules multi-engine aircraft (aeroplanes) training and air transport pilot licence theory into the 24 month period. Winglet Aviation chooses to contract out all of the theory for the aeronautical knowledge standards in the Part 61 MOS, however they have direct oversight of the theory training through a service level agreement and regular quality checks of the provider. The service level agreement also ensures the theory is delivered to Winglet Aviation’s students as described by the timing on their planning matrix, so it continues to be integrated with the practical flying training.
Winglet Aviation conducts all of the flying training, along with long briefs and pre-flight briefs. During these long briefs and pre-flight briefs, the underpinning knowledge is refreshed. The Winglet Aviation flight training program stipulates that students must complete a minimum number of hours of theory work and practical flying training each week. Winglet Aviation also has formal student/instructor ratios in place to ensure optimal teaching and learning conditions. For example, Winglet Aviation stipulates that there can be no more than four students per instructor in an aircraft for navigation training phases, and no more than six students per instructor in the early stages of training.
In the event of a student requiring an extended period of leave from the course for illness or other unplanned reasons, documentation describes the maximum leave of absence periods and procedures that manage re-entry to the training program.
Although other considerations apply, this may be considered integrated training.
ABC Flying School continues to apply the theory examination conditions described in paragraph 2.8 of the (past) Day Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Syllabus for an ‘approved training course’. Beyond monitoring the timing of the integration of examinations, ABC Flying School generally only manages practical flying training, including long briefs and pre-flight briefings. ABC Flying School students are responsible for their own theory training, generally through self-study and, for the more challenging subjects, through self-enrolment at theory providers. ABC Flying School conducts traditional ‘in-house’ examinations. Students can begin this training at any time and book flying lessons casually whenever they choose to. The end date is not defined and students are able to pick up where they left off after appropriate refresher training when they have been absent.
Although other considerations apply, this is unlikely to be considered integrated training.