Last year, ICAO's Air Navigation Commission tasked its Flight Crew Licensing and Training Panel to investigate whether a new pilot's license could respond to airline demands for pilots better prepared to operate modern aircraft and systems at a lower cost.
The new license, referred to as the Multi-Crew Pilot License, also is seen as a basis to introduce competency-based training for other pilot certificates at a later date. The initial push for change came from Germany.
THe airline industry is looking at Europe's
satellite navigation system, dubbed Galileo, with a good deal of caution. This is understandable in view of the industry's day-to-day preoccupation with rising fuel prices, falling fares, escalating user fees, increasing environmental regulation, excess capacity and security issues.
Additionally, Galileo will not become operational before 2008, a very long timescale in today's airline business.
Yet if it lives up to its promise, it finally could provide the capability to complete the long-anticipated transition from ground-based navaids.
The onset of the European winter signals a trying and testing time for aviation. Longer periods of darkness and cold, poor visibility, rain, ice and snow all mean potential trouble for airlines. Recent accidents underline the need for flightcrews to be trained properly in the potential hazards of snow and ice on the performance of the aircraft they are flying. FAA and JAA rules are very clear that no one may take off with frost, snow or ice adhering to any propeller or powerplant or with snow or ice on the wings or control surfaces.
The principles of radio
frequency identification have been around since development of the Identification Friend or Foe system in World War II. But it is only recently that the technology is being seen as a key contributor to the airline industry, though it is widely in service in the logistics, supply-chain, retailing and other commercial businesses.