I write this inaugural article from the national training desk as we all come to terms with a very different world in both our professional and personal lives as a result of a very nasty virus that caught us all by surprise and continues to turn most of our world upside down.

From 1 August this year my role as Assistant Head of Flight Operations will change to that of Head of Training Development for RAAus, a role I am very excited to embark on, which will create the capacity to extend the training platforms, resources and innovation in delivery of training services for our members.

The focus on training for RAAus is nothing new, in many ways the introduction of CAO 95.25 in the mid-eighties recognised the importance of formalised training for pilots, and RAAus has continued to develop our services in training through an effectively recognised syllabus, oversight of a widespread and diverse flight school training network and robust assessment process which now extends to specific training for maintainers, safety managers, and flight instructors.

Separating training from Operations and Airworthiness functions in the organisation recognises the importance of training delivery both in terms of member value and safety outcomes as well as compliance and increased privileges.

While the new role reports to the Innovation and Improvement Executive, there will continue to be significant development and collaboration undertaken with current Operations, Airworthiness and Safety managers and also ongoing internal training for our administrative staff. This structure will allow important development work for the key functional departments to be removed from their burden of day to day administrative functions in our small but effective team and tailor specific training packages based on member requirements, safety indicators and compliance requirements.

As many of you will have experienced whilst in lockdown in recent months, the delivery of training and learning as well as basic business functionality has been tested and forced to adapt due to the restrictions imposed during COVID-19. RAAus was not immune from these restrictions and all flight activities including flight training and aircraft building and maintenance have been adversely affected.

Our education systems were a good example of an established industry group finding itself re-inventing and modifying its key functions by utilising online platforms in between breakfast table webinars and parents grappling with the role of teacher, to meet the challenges imposed by physical and social distancing.

For RAAus it has provided the opportunity to test a series of quality online resources from existing online content providers customised for RAAus members and accelerate our continuing development of online resources for pilots and maintainers and instructors with collaboration with external industry partners, education facilities.

Initial Objectives 2020-21
We have undertaken significant scoping and development work already in key training development areas and below is a brief summary of some of the initial current approved projects that will be developed and implemented under the new training portfolio.

RAAus Online Learning Management System development.
This continuing project builds on the existing agreement RAAus has with Bob Tait Theory and extends the integration of external study resources with our own examination sets. We plan to build a complete Online knowledge Centre and associated online RAAus exam set to assist flight schools and members.

Spin Training – development of a practical course required for completion by RAAus Instructors for the future Group G ratings and approvals (MTOW 601-760 kg) and for all other instructors over a future three year period. Additional optional Upset Recovery training is also being developed as an annex to the above training to assist instructors in the ensuring safe outcomes in the training environment.

Unusual attitude recovery training – Specifically, for Group B aircraft, Instructors and pilots; this program focuses on the unique control management issues for a range of performance variants in the Weight Shift Microlight (WSM) category.

L1 & L2 Online training enhancements – Extending the current L1 training package to include specific Group B and Group D knowledge information and further development of integrated practical and online learning resources for both L1 and L2 approval holders.

Instructor examination. This is currently being reviewed with the Head of Flight Operations and external consultants. This exam confirms theoretical competency for the aeronautical, administrative and operational knowledge required for the position of an RAAus instructor.

Examiner Standardisation Program – A continuing professional development initiative, this program will include online knowledge assessment for legislative and compliance requirements along with practical standardisation for our RAAus examiners.

So to wrap up this initial introduction of the RAAus training portfolio I would encourage members, instructors, maintainers and aviation professionals amongst our readership to write to me with your training ideas, any key suggestions for RAAus development focus and any specialist knowledge you have to offer as we review and extend our training resources to improve accessibility, safety and knowledge in your aviation activities.

The final word must go to Benjamin Franklin who said; “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”