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Developing a COVID safe plan for the purpose of training or Pilot Proficiency Checks using FSTDs in another State or region

During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary alleviations allowed extensions to the validity period of ICAO Annex 1 and Annex 6 standards related to pilot training, checking and recent experience. As an example, in the case of commercial air transport operations, ICAO SARPs require pilots to complete regular proficiency checks (PPCs) twice within any one-year period (see Annex 6, Part I, Section 9.4.4.1). Pilots are not permitted to fly if these checks cannot be completed.


However, to maintain an acceptable level of safety, validity periods for pilot licences, medicals and certificates cannot be extended indefinitely.  Any extensions should only be allowed having considered the associated risks and mitigating measures through the operators' SMS and, operational requirements. Additionally, for the continuation of operations following extended periods of reduced flying, or restricted movement of flight crews, there is a need to plan for a return to pre-COVID ICAO SARP compliance to ensure an adequate level of safety is maintained. This document focuses on the restoration of compliance related to flight crew training and PPCs.   


Pilot training or PPCs are predominantly carried out in Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTDs). Some States do not have "in-country" FSTD training facilities and as such pilots have no option other than international travel in order to carry out their PPC's. COVID-19 has restricted travel to the extent where pilots have been unable to travel to their usual "out of country" FSTD facilities. In the majority of cases inbound passengers, both airline crew and the traveling public, are subject to quarantine requirements on arrival, making the process operationally and economically unviable from an airline perspective.


This following sections provide guidance on the development of a COVID Safety Plan to enable travel for the sole purpose of pilot training or PPCs in FSTD facilities provided at an approved training organisation (ATO) in another State.


Note: Throughout this guidance reference is made to travel to "another State", where State in this context is referencing another country. However, it is also necessary to consider that many countries have internal region and/or territory border travel restrictions. In addition, some local region restrictions may apply. It is intended that this document provides the basis upon which cross border travel, whether it be international, regional, or interstate, is facilitated using strict travel protocols detailed in this document as mitigating measures to prevent the transfer of COVID-19.

 

 

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