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Southport, Manitoba, Canada
Steve Pomroy is a professional flight instructor and aviation writer. He has been teaching since 1995 and holds an Airline Transport Pilot License, Class 1 Instructor and Aerobatic Instructor Ratings, military QFI, and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. He's written and published three flight training books through his company, SkyWriters Publishing, and has several other books under development. Steve currently teaches RCAF pilot candidates on their Primary Flight Training course.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Piloting as a Profession: Part 1, The CPPC

A fairly recent development in the Canadian Aviation industry is the new presence of the College of Professional Pilots of Canada. This College is still in the process of getting on their feet, but they’ve already inspired some rather vigorous debate over the state of the industry and, more specifically, the role of "pilot" (for example, HERE and HERE).

According to their Mission Statement, the College’s intention is to operate with Transport Canada through a Safety Partnership Program to “regulate licensed commercial and airline transport pilots and provide and administer guidelines for safety in commercial and airline transport aviation.”

The Mission Statement goes on to say:
The College’s goal is to establish and maintain standards for education, training, certification, aircraft and instrument rating, professional competence and professional conduct of commercial and airline transport pilots. The College’s mission is, with the authority of the Minister, the governance of professional pilots in the interests of public safety and efficient commercial flight activities.

The College’s governance will include the establishment and maintenance of standards for training and professional conduct and the enforcement of such standards.
All of this seems reasonable to me. Having a group run by, and answerable to, those in the industry would appear to be the most effective way to regulate the industry for the benefit of society. This is especially true with regard to training (my own area of expertise). The training philosophy in aviation hasn’t changed appreciably since World War II, despite significant advances in technology and major changes in the nature and demographics of the industry.

Regardless of how reasonable the College’s approach seems, it presents us with at least three questions that will continue to be debated for some time:
Is flying a profession?
Can pilots self-regulate without compromising public safety?
Is the training/education provided to pilots adequate?
I’m inclined to accept the answer to the first two of these questions as “yes”. But that’s a position that needs to be supported since it is not universally accepted, even within the industry itself. As for the third question, the training industry tends to be hot and cold—some schools do a great job, while others do an ... er ... not so great job. This lack of consistency is a serious problem that leads to a whole host of other problems. It needs to be addressed, and is probably the place where the College can have the most positive impact on the industry—at least in the near term.

There are those who disagree with me. Many fear that the College will become "just another union". This intent has been explicitly denied by the current College executive. Nonetheless, it strikes me as a reasonable concern. But the best way to address it appears to be to get involved—and to make sure the College develops into an organization with the whole industry’s best interests in mind. By all appearances, this is indeed the direction that the College is headed in. But, the political process being what it is, it can’t hurt to get involved and have your say.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

Happy Flying!

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