AviNation Enlgish - Fall 2011

Occupational Standards And Pilot Licensing

Mike Doiron 0000-00-00 00:00:00

Anyone who has been in the aviation business for any length of time understands the concept of a pilot’s or AME license. It is granted to individuals who can demonstrate a specified level of knowledge and skill. Licence holders also must meet medical, age, and citizenship criteria. This concept has been around for many years, so why are we now developing an Occupational Standard for Pilots? One must first understand that there is a difference between a licensing standard and an occupational standard. Licensing requires that applicants demonstrate, through various certification methodologies, that they have the “technical” capability to do the job. As the hiring company may discover, holding a licence does not guarantee that a person can indeed do the job. So why isn’t a pilot’s licence good enough any more? Today’s world of pilot jobs is a vast landscape of tasks and duties that includes everything from moving people and cargo in all manner and size of aircraft, to specialty operations such as helilogging, fire suppression, aerial application, and flight instruction, to emergency response such as police operations, air ambulance and search and rescue. Each of these jobs depends on an individual who has a pilot’s license. However every operator knows and understands that the license by itself is not sufficient. Operators look for experience, which normally comes in the shape of a logbook recording flying hours. For years, the logbook has been the main method of assessing whether a pilot has what it takes to do the job. Over the last few years, operators have realized they need more information and particular skills for some jobs and have devised other methods of assessment, such as indepth interviews, simulator assessments and, in some cases, requiring particular experience, not just the number of hours in a logbook. This is where the occupational standard (OS) comes in. The industry developers of the OS have analyzed various types of operations and have developed a list of nonlicensed skills and knowledge that operators may require in their employees, based on the type of operation. For example, a job may require a level of reading ability ranging from being able to read and understand basic instructions or directions to being able to read, understand, interpret and analyze the information at a very high level. Once the Occupational Standard is completed, it can be used in several ways. Training establishments will be able to upgrade or expand their training curricula and programs. It may also help identify training that is required but not yet available. The OS can also be used by operators as an overview of what they need to look for and assess in new hires. Most operators already have a very good idea what they need; the occupational standard will better articulate those needs and outline other areas for them to look at. A wise man once told me that they are only two directions in life, forward and backward (and backward isn’t an option). Operators and other employers should always be looking at ways to improve what they are doing. In my opinion, the new Pilot Occupational Standard is a major step forward for the aviation industry in Canada.

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This page can be found at http://magazine.wingsmagazine.com/article/Occupational+Standards+And+Pilot+Licensing/868824/85624/article.html.