June 25th 2020
In response to challenges associated with COVID-19, Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) issued a series of regulatory exemptions in early April 2020 to facilitate a 90-day extension of valid-to dates for annual training and proficiency checks for all flight crew members operating under Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) Subpart 604 and all Part VII operations.
It appears that many of the global and national measures to control the spread of COVID-19 will be in place for the foreseeable future. This will continue to hamper flight crew training and checking activities for an extended duration and increase the backlog of training scheduled at flight simulator facilities. Despite this reality, issuing further blanket extensions to training and checking valid-to dates is not viewed by TCCA as an acceptable or sustainable solution. TCCA also has a need to ensure that any further relief measures will be supported by ICAO and, to the extent possible, aligned with actions taken by other aviation regulatory authorities.
To this end, this communique describes measures that TCCA is implementing to provide additional regulatory relief in other ways to facilitate training and checking activities and contribute to the continued maintenance of aviation safety. These measures target ongoing challenges identified by industry, such as the lack of access to simulators, lack of availability or access to a check pilot, difficulties coordinating a “monitor check” on Approved Check Pilots (ACPs), an inability to conduct training and checking in the aircraft in accordance with a company’s approved training program or Aircraft Operating Manual, and an inability to complete recurrent practical ground training requirements, such as Emergency Procedures Training.
Planned measures to provide further regulatory relief for CARs Subpart 604 and all Part VII operations are as follows:
- For recurrent flight training, in situations where an ACP, TCCA inspector, or approved FAA Training Center Evaluator is not available to conduct a Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC), and the person conducting the training is not an ACP, the requirements of a PPC can be met in a ‘training to proficiency’ manner during recurrent training. If the person conducting the training is an ACP and it has been confirmed as early as possible through an industry search and liaison with the applicable Principal Operations Inspector (POI) that a second check pilot is not available to conduct the PPC, the ACP is expected to train and check the same candidate by conducting normal recurrent training, followed by a separate PPC. This temporary authority to ‘train and check’ is provided in ACP Bulletin 03/20.
Under the training to proficiency model, once the candidate has met the required competency level for all applicable manoeuvres, there is no requirement for a ‘check-ride’ after the completion of training. The PPC valid-to date is subsequently reset in accordance with the applicable validity period in the CARs, but in no case shall this exceed 12-months (1st day of the 13th month) when using the training to proficiency method of training. The training must be conducted by a company training pilot or third-party instructor, such as a CAE or Flight Safety International instructor.
The above measure will be enabled by a global regulatory exemption and offers short-term relief that is only applicable to recurrent training. It will be available to all Part VII operators, but only in exceptional cases when it has been confirmed as early as possible through an industry search and liaison with the applicable POI that a check pilot is not available because of a scheduling conflict, travel or quarantine restriction, health risk or other credible reason. For Subpart 604 operators who conduct competency checks, a regulatory exemption will be issued to allow an instructor to conduct training and checking on the same candidate in cases where a person separate from the instructor is not available to conduct the competency check. Although the above regulatory relief is a significant deviation in policy that could occasionally result in an inaccurate or incomplete assessment of a pilot’s competency, this risk is assessed to be less than risks associated with delaying recurrent training and extending the valid-to date. Additional guidance on training to proficiency, including guidance on the completion of flight test reports, will be provided in the near future in ACP Bulletin 03/20, which is dedicated to COVID-19 measures and is continually updated. Refer to the Safety Alerts and Bulletins section at the following web address: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-tc/aviation.html
- In situations where it is not possible to conduct a monitor check on an ACP, Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator or FAA TCE, TCCA will temporarily allow recurrent monitor checks to be conducted in an administrative manner. This will involve a TCCA review of the check pilot’s past performance and, if there are no areas of concern, the check pilot will receive credit for the completion of the monitor check. The regional issuing authority will contact the check pilot to provide feedback on performance and extend the monitor valid-to date for 12-months. Additional details will be provided in ACP Bulletin 03/20.
- Operators that are normally required or have chosen to conduct flight training in a simulator will be authorized to deviate from the training and simulator program defined in their Company Operations Manual to accommodate training in an aircraft. Detailed guidance on safe training practices and flexible methods to accomplish manoeuvres and malfunctions that may be difficult or unsafe to conduct in the aircraft will be provided in the near future in ACP Bulletin 03/20. To enable training in an aircraft for operators that have a regulatory requirement to conduct training in a flight simulator (if a simulator is available in or outside North America), TCCA will accept that a simulator is not available in or outside North America in situations where an operator can provide confirmation to their POI that access to a simulator is not possible because of COVID-19 restrictions, or there are simulator capacity limitations that are preventing the operator from using a flight simulator. The above interpretation will be supplemented by a regulatory exemption to support training in an aircraft for CARs Subparts 604, 704 and 705.
- A global regulatory exemption will be issued to provide operators with regulatory relief in situations where it is not possible to conduct recurrent practical ground training, such as evacuation drills, donning of personal equipment, and fire-extinguisher training.
In extenuating circumstances where aircraft or simulator training is not possible, and there is a need demonstrated for the service that an operator is providing, additional training and PPC / competency check extension requests will be considered by TCCA regions on a case-by-case basis if suitable risk mitigation is possible. The regions will coordinate such requests with the Standards Branch in TCCA headquarters to ensure that additional extensions are granted in a fair and consistent manner across Canada and are not likely to adversely affect aviation safety.
TCCA will continue to exercise regulatory flexibility to the extent possible throughout this extremely challenging period to support the continued safe operation of aircraft.
“Original signed by”