ATAC calls for funding for student pilots

Through Ken Pole | December 5, 2018

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 36 seconds.

The federal government is urged by the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) to make it easier for student pilots to cover the cost of flight training by supporting student loans, matching industry investments in new equipment and modifying what ATAC says is obsolete Transportation Canadian regulations.

ATAC says helping schools invest in new aircraft and related equipment such as simulators and flight training devices is seen as part of the solution to the pilot shortage.
ATAC says helping schools invest in new aircraft and related equipment such as simulators and flight training devices is part of the solution to the pilot shortage. EIA photo

“Lack of funding is the most often cited reason why people discontinue flight training or choose not to continue it,” ATAC said in a Dec. 4 brief to the Standing Committee on Transport, House of Commons infrastructure and communities. “Making the funding available would attract more people to aviation and also give policy makers an incentive tool. . . people in jobs where they are needed most. He noted that similar incentives are already in place to attract medical staff to remote and often underserved areas of Canada.

Rather than wait for the government to take the lead, the organization said it was already consulting with commercial banks to create a “student loan product” specifically for Canadians, but admitted the banks wanted some protection in the form of government loan guarantees. In one scenario, ATAC estimates that a “relatively small investment” of about $ 45 million over 10 years could add 600 commercial pilots per year.

Assuming all 600 borrowed $ 75,000 to cover the training costs to qualify to operate single-pilot multi-engine commercial aircraft, this would total $ 45 million per year. If there were a 10% default rate, the government could pay $ 4.5 million per year, the government’s estimated “investment”.

Helping schools invest in new aircraft and related equipment such as simulators and flight training devices is also seen by ATAC as part of the solution.

“The typical Canadian flight school operates aircraft that are older than the pilots who fly them,” ATAC said, noting that newer aircraft are often quieter and more fuel efficient, as well as more similar to aircraft that students could potentially fly. “Simulators are another revolutionary technology that [are] in short supply in most flight schools due to the fact [that] their cost is similar to that of a new aircraft.

Explaining that the new planes and simulators clearly represent a significant capital expenditure for schools that typically operate on tight margins, ATAC said a dollar-for-dollar investment by the government would almost immediately increase schools’ training capacity. Likewise, $ 1.20 for every dollar spent on Canadian-built trainer planes would boost manufacturing.

From 2012 to present, Buss served as the Director of Flight Training and Standards at Ornge, and will join ATAC in 2018. ATAC Photo
ATAC Vice President Darren Buss represents the association on flight training and labor market issues, including the current pilot shortage. Buss has an airline pilot license and 13 years of experience as a commercial pilot. ATAC Photo

As for the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), they are largely unchanged since their introduction in 1996. “Since then, a lot has changed, including advances in simulator technology and an evolution towards flight techniques. evidence-based and competency-based training, ”ATAC said. “The wording of the CARs. . . effectively prevents these advances from being used in ab-initio flight training.

ATAC also questioned the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council’s approach to the changes, calling the government-industry approach “slow and difficult” since CARAC’s inception a quarter of century. More efficient and effective, he suggested, would be the Aviation Training Organization (ATO) model used elsewhere.

Rather than completing a minimum of 45 hours of flight training, including up to five hours in a simulator, the ATO could demonstrate that 20 hours in a modern simulator can produce an equally proficient student in the air, not only in lower cost. but also with less air pollution.

“ATAC has been working with Transport Canada on an ATO framework for several years, [but] every year we hear that he’s about to be ready. . . . It would be in the interest of the general public as well as pilots and the aviation industry for a carefully designed ATO framework to be approved as soon as possible. “

Greater use of the Student Work Integrated Learning (SWILP) program managed by Employment and Social Development Canada was also recommended. The program has helped thousands of students gain work skills in other trades and professions. However, a proposal to extend it to pilots who wish to become instructors or certified seaplane pilots has made little progress, despite what ATAC said was “broad praise” from industry and the public. government and the expectation that this would allow more instructors to train more pilots. as a means of dealing with the shortage.

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