The 9 EASA EBT Competencies; Knowledge but not Monitoring?

The 9 EASA EBT Competencies; Knowledge but not Monitoring?

29 Jan 2017

One of the trending questions at the 1st EASA EBT Implementation Workshop was about the final choice of 9 overall competencies in EASA EBT (in comparison to ICAO’s 8) and why “Monitoring” is not a separate competency. Here we take a look at the thinking behind this decision.

The first thing to say is that the competencies are in fact just a framework to ensure we cover all of the key, observable behavioural indicators that make up the full package of pilot’s technical and non-technical skills; these behavourial indicators are the critical part, not so much the headlines they sit under.

When ICAO collated data from pilots all over the world on what they feel makes a pilot great, no matter what language it was written in, they quickly saw that none of it was to do with how well they could handle an engine failure on take-off (the one thing us pilots are most tested on!). Time and time again the sorts of words that came up were “approachable, knowledgeable, listens well, good operator, assertive, open-minded, team player, calm, professional etc etc”.

These were collated and formalised as ‘behavioural indicators’ and embedded in the 9 competencies under EASA EBT - by objectively and positively observing these behavioural indicators in the simulator we can evaluate a pilot’s overall skill set, then improve it by positive training experiences to ensure they can cope with whatever unforeseen events may come their way (the “black swans”)

The competency Application of Procedure has the abbreviation APK, the “K” standing originally in IATA documentation for Knowledge: “Application of Procedures and Knowledge” - so why now separate them out as two competencies? We were consulted on this point by the EASA working group and offered a simple test to confirm whether they should be integrated, or independent of one another:

Could an individual pilot ever be graded a 1 for Application of Procedure but a 5 for Knowledge, or vice-versa?

After consideration of this and running through some practical examples, the answer was quite obviously Yes. Taking the example of a new pilot to an airline, they will have a very high level of Application of Procedure and probably will follow the SOP perfectly, but behind that veil of good APK competency it would be easy to scratch the surface to reveal a low level of Knowledge. Also, more experienced pilots could show the opposite - a level of complacency built on knowledge but with a lack of following the correct procedure.

By separating these out into two competencies, the framework gives a higher level of granularity to analyse and pin-point the root cause of strengths and weaknesses in these areas. On recent discussions with Emirates, the major Middle-East operator who have implemented EBT, they said that in their experience, Knowledge (KNO) was one of the most important competencies to capture data on.

Ok, so why not add even more granularity and have 10 competencies to include “Monitoring”? It’s certainly a frequent contributory factor in recent “Black Swan” accidents and incidents.

Firstly, you have to draw a line somewhere, otherwise EBT Trainers will be saturated with too many aspects to evaluate and Inter-Rater Reliability will reduce! But let’s focus on some of the EBT behavioural indicators to see whether monitoring skills are hiding in there:

  • Ensure the recipient is ready and able to receive the information (COM)
  • Accurately reads and interprets required company and flight documentation (COM)
  • Correctly interprets non-verbal communication (COM)
  • Effectively monitors automation, including engagement and automatic mode transitions
  • Detects deviations from the desired aircraft trajectory and takes appropriate action (FPM)
  • Effectively monitors flight guidance systems including engagement and automatic mode transitions (FPM)
  • Anticipates and responds appropriately to other crew member needs (LTW)
  • Communicates relevant concerns and intentions (LTW)
  • Confidently intervenes when important for safety (LTW)
  • Seeks accurate and adequate information from appropriate sources (PSD)
  • Identifies and verifies what and why things have gone wrong (PSD)
  • Monitors, reviews, and adapts decisions as required (PSD)
  • Identifies and assesses accurately the state of the aircraft and its systems (SAW)
  • Recognises and effectively responds to indications of reduced situational awareness (SAW)
  • Reviews, monitors and cross-checks actions conscientiously (WLM)

As you can see, monitoring is a little bit special - it transcends the competencies and appears in nearly all of them as part of their behavioural indicators; it’s sown into the fabric of the pilot grading system and will be reflected throughout an evaluation by the effective grading of the existing 9 competencies.

Current TRIs and TREs will all be required to take part in a 3-day EBT “Train the Trainer” course and be observed running a competency-based simulator session to ensure we keep inter-rator reliablility and standardisation high - this is one of the most critical parts of an EBT implementation.

Use Before Flight can offer EBT instructor courses through our training delivery partners. Contact us for more information - we’d love to hear from you!