1.1 Introduction

1.1.1 Statement of Purpose 

This document provides guidance for authorization of an Advanced Qualification Program (AQP). An AQP is an alternate method of training, evaluating, qualifying, and certifying, to ensure the competency of pilots, flight crewmembers, instructors, and evaluators subject to the training and evaluation requirements of Subparts 702, 703, 704 and 705 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs).

AQP employs a systematic methodology for developing the content of training programs for air operator. It replaces the traditional training program with a proficiency-based training and evaluation program. This proficiency-based program is derived from a detailed task analysis that includes Crew Resource Management (CRM). AQP encourages innovation in the methods and technology that are used during instruction and evaluation. It also encourages the efficient management of training systems. A leading objective of AQP is to provide effective training that will enhance professional qualifications to a level above the present standards. The goal of AQP is to achieve the highest possible standards of individual and crew performance.

This document has been developed as a Canadian equivalent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular (AC) 120-54A, Advanced Qualification Program.

1.1.2 History 

In 1975, the FAA began to deal with two issues:  Hardware requirements needed for total simulation and the redesign of training programs to deal with increasingly complex human factors problems. At the request of the air transportation industry, the FAA addressed the hardware issue first. This effort culminated in 1980 in the development of the Advanced Simulation Program. Since then, the FAA has continued to pursue approaches for the redesign of training programs to increase the benefits of advanced simulation and to address the increasing complexity of cockpit human factors.

In 1987 a Join Government-Industry Task Force on Flight Crew Performance was created. The task force met at the Air Transport Association’s (ATA) headquarters to identify and discuss flight crewmember performance issues. Working groups in three major areas were formed: (1) man/machine interface; (2) flight crewmember training; and (3) operating environment. Each working group submitted a report and recommendations to the joint task force.

In June of 1988, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a Safety Recommendation (A-88-71) on the subject of CRM training. The recommendation was that all part 121 carriers review initial and recurrent flight crew training programs. The purpose of this review was to ensure that the training programs include simulator or aircraft training exercises that involve cockpit resource management and active coordination of all crewmembers under training. It should also permit evaluation of crew performance and adherence to proper crew coordination procedures.

In response to the recommendations from the joint task force and from the NTSB, the FAA, on October 2, 1990, published SFAR 58 - AQP, which addressed the majority of the above recommendations.  AQP was also established to permit a greater degree of regulatory flexibility in the approval of innovative pilot training programs. Based on a documented analysis of operational requirements, an air operator under AQP may propose to depart from traditional practices with respect to what, how, when, and where training and testing is conducted. This is subject to FAA approval of the specific content of each proposed program. SFAR 58 required that all departures from traditional regulatory requirements be documented and based upon an approved continuing data collection process sufficient to establish at least an equivalent level of safety. AQP provides a systematic basis for matching technology to training requirements and for approving a training program with content based on relevance to operational performance.

When the CARs were initially drafted, a provision was made to include training programs approved as AQP. A similar provision has been incorporated into the Commercial Air Service Standards (CASS).

The Canadian AQP regulatory framework generally conforms to the accepted concept of AQP, as outlined in FAR Part 121, Subpart Y, which supersedes SFAR 58 and AC 120-54A. These FAA AQP standards have been used as the basic model for the Canadian AQP standards. Canadian AQP standards also have particular requirements based on the Canadian operational requirement and regulatory framework.

1.1.3 Background 

The capabilities and use of simulators and other computer-based training devices in training and qualification activities have changed dramatically. AQP regulatory requirements and this document allow an air operator to develop innovative training and qualification programs that incorporate the most recent advances in training methods and techniques. These training and evaluation applications are now grouped under the general term of Line Operational Simulation (LOS). These include Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT), Special Purpose Operational Training (SPOT), and Line Operational Evaluation (LOE).

Due to the role of CRM in preventing fatal accidents, it has become evident that training curricula should develop and evaluate both technical and CRM skills. In AQP, a structured LOS design process is employed to specify and integrate the required CRM and technical skills into LOS scenarios. The design methodology used to design LOS scenarios must be approved by the Transport Canada division responsible for operational oversight, such as National Operations – Airlines Division.

1.1.4 Benefits of AQP 

Although AQP is a voluntary program, Transport Canada encourages air operators to participate. AQP provides for enhanced curriculum development and a data-driven approach to quality assurance along with the flexibility to target critical tasks during aircrew training. The AQP methodology directly supports the Transport Canada’s goals for safety enhancement. The primary goal of AQP is to achieve the highest possible standard of individual and crew performance. In order to achieve this goal, AQP seeks to reduce the probability of crew-related errors by aligning training and evaluation requirements more closely with the known causes of human error. For example:

  1. Crew Performance
    Most accidents are caused by crew issues. Traditional training programs focus on individual training and evaluation. Under AQP, the focus on crew performance in both training and evaluation is significantly enhanced.
  2. Crew Resource Management 
    Most accidents are caused by errors of judgement, communication and crew co-ordination, while traditional training programs focus primarily on flying skills and systems knowledge. Under AQP, competence in flying skills and systems knowledge are integrated with CRM skills in training and evaluation throughout the curriculum.
  3. Scenario-Based Training And Evaluation
    Most accidents are caused by a chain of errors that build up over the course of a flight and which, if undetected or unresolved, result in a final, fatal error. Traditional training programs, with their manoeuvre-based training and evaluation, artificially segment simulation events and prevent the realistic build-up of the error chain. Under AQP, both training and evaluation are scenario-based, simulating more closely the actual flight conditions known to cause most fatal carrier accidents.
  4. Additional Benefits 
    Added benefits that are expected for individual air operators will vary, but may include: 
    1. The ability to modify training curricula, media and intervals.
    2. Crew evaluation as well as individual assessment.
    3. Improved standardization across fleets and flight personnel.
    4. Shift from programmed hours to proficiency-based training.
    5. Access to innovative training ideas and research.
    6. Opportunity to achieve more efficient training.
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