Education : a key to safety. A high school which teaches students to a high standard and an RPAS educational project, in an environment of deregulation.
O.Fontaine, Sapritalia, Turin, Italy
Within the Italian education and the academic system, there is an increasing interest in RPAS. At the moment, our RPAS world is probably in its early stages of its future development.
Sapritalia, which has got ten years of experience in teaching at aeronautical high schools, , has been developing an educational program for future professionals and future RPL licensed. All of this starts from its own research “Knowledge and safety”: presented at Berne "Harmonization Workshop"
On the one hand, this initiative will be taking flight at the moment in which the ICAO definitively states that RPAS are aircraft and on the other hand we will be witnessing a general attempt of deregulation.
Keywords: Remote pilot aircraft system, RPAS training, RPL, education. pilot, knowledge
May the historical evolution of the aviation be considered a model?
As remembered by ATAG association, 2014 was the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the air transport. Thanks to Oxford University, the growth of the aeronautical industry was reevaluated and people have been focusing on the century by looking aheah to the next 20 years1. A careful reading of the document makes us understand several things: first of all the importance of the Chicago Convention and its impact on the growth of the air transport; secondly the incredible number of indirect and induced jobs that have been accompanying the inexorable development of aviation since the end of World War II.
Today, air transport employs 58,1 million people within 470k airport operators, 4 602k “others” on-airport, 2 272k airline staff, 1 203k civil aerospace staff and 195k ANSP direct jobs. If we consider the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport for example, in an ex-post impact study2 it was evidenced that “In terms of job creation, since 1990, every million passengers or 100k tonnes of additional cargo have generated nearly 1k jobs. Freight is thus also a powerful engine for employment: site companies expand their workforce by 7.8% per year”.
As we know, in the aviation environment, every employment must be qualified. Training is a key issue for harmonious development of RPAS market, as Montréal Symposium underlined. In May 2015 AVJOBS3 groups reviewed the jobs of the entire world and counted 659 companies in 1939 locations and surveys? ( surveyed) 59068 jobs available that are representative of 198 aeronautical job categories.
1AVIATION BENEFITS BEYOND BORDERS Powering global economic growth, employment, trade links, tourism and support for sustainable development through air transport. 2L'impact économique de l'aéroport Roissy Charles de Gaulle par Roman Lauterfing Université Parix XIII - Villetaneuse - Maitrise de géographie 2000. 3http://www.avjobs.com/jobs/view-jobs-stats.asp
Knowledge and safety: the results of the survey
To avoid possible collisions and other accidents between RPA and aircraft, strict adherence to rules and regulations will not be sufficient. In addition, future RPA pilots, operators and all stakeholders need to achieve an optimum level of knowledge regarding safety issues. However, in order to increase the level of knowledge, it is required an analysis of the average skills of future workers interested in RPAS in order to get an overview of the existing state of the art.
An open survey to evaluate the background of future RPA pilots, already presented in aperture of the Berne JARUS harmonisation workshop1, was conducted at the beginning of 2014, and over 500 responses were obtained. Despite a general belief that those interested in such ( aeronautical )activities would, at the very least, possess some basic aeronautic skills, it became evident that this was not always the case. The survey was composed of 10 questions regarding aeronautical general knowledge (pressure, measure units, temperature, airspace, light, vertical distance etc..), aimed at establishing the level of knowledge / competency of each respondent.
To investigate the existing level knowledge of the participants regarding general aeronautical competences, the respondents were asked to provide some general information regarding their personal background and then five categories were identified:It is interesting to underline that 20% of the participants stated to have a pilot license.The results have indicated that the Aircraft pilots achieved the highest scores. However, it is also important to highlight that 40% of those participants did not achieve an acceptable level of competence, which is fixed at a higher value of 75% for all the aeronautics exams in general. This might be as a result of the fact that the aim of the survey was to verify whether the knowledge obtained in the past by, for example, an ex-pilot, was still evident in order to perhaps determine if operating a RPAS could possibly offer alternative employment. Surprisingly, the results of Light Aircraft pilots only reflected a 33,3% correct answers. This is considered to be an inadequate result and that might be due to the fact that the Italian National Safety Flight Agency (ANSV) is underscoring its 2013 safety statute report (Rapporto informativo sull’attività svolta dall’ANSV e sulla sicurezza dell’aviazione civile in italia anno 2013 2 ).
During the survey the support of a calculator or other computing device was allowed to solve the problem of the chart . The results pinpoint that they were unable to estimate a horizontal distance from an airport. These results highlight an absolute lack of proactive attitudes in front of difficulties. It might be understandable that untrained aviation enthusiasts do not know the classification of the airspace and that this might justify the low score of 6,3% of correct answers to the questions regarding the airspace, the METAR or the atmospheric pressure. It is however, unacceptable that several declared pilots had a score lower than 30% of correct answers to the question about classified airspace.
Taking into account the obtained results during the survey, in order to reach a considering improvement , it is required that RPA community reach a resonable level of safety and general aeronautics knowledge and that the pilots' community review the skills acquired during the pilots' flying lessons.
1Knowledge and Safety, Olivier Fontaine, http://www.sapritalia.com/blog/knowledge-and-safety-the-result-of-our-survey-379-answers.
An atmosphere in between regulation and deregulation
A close examination of the document has revealed that the three people involved in the accident ,( the RPAS pilot, the paramotor pilot and his instructor)were completely unaware of the real risks they had run. By underlining what happened on such blog of the community where we are continuing to read debatable comments like “And even if one day a drone did a fatal accident with some victims, given the number of drones already in circulation, we would still be in the acceptable percentage of deaths per hour of flight ”, it is evident that the community wants to avoid at all costs everything like a rule and is ready to adopt irresponsible attitudes. If now, to all of this, we add Eric Van Den Abeele's considerations from his paper 'Better regulation': a bureaucratic simplification with political designs, where he explains that the Better Regulation exercise has ended up creating a parallel bureaucracy staffed by ‘experts’ and other ‘stakeholders’ whose interests are unclear. The path ,currently being followed by the Better Regulation agenda, certainly raises plenty of questions about the European Union’s democratic structure. Even if those considerations are not directly regarding aeronautical regulations, we are entitled to ask whether a “hazards combination ” is in preparation or not.
All of this whereas last year we also had the pleasure, right here at the RPAS 2014, to hear the communication of Michaelides-Mateou from School of Law, University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus: “Investigation and Legal Implications of Recent Near-Miss Collisions, Lessons to be Learnt”. We would like to remind its conclusions:
Education : a key to safety but not only
At the Montreal first ICAO RPAS symposium, it was clearly underlined that the education and/or training is the key to safety. But if we examine the problem of management under the competitively aspect we found that project managers apply multiple skills and competencies in the course of the successfully delivering projects and also that Management and technical competencies represent two major competency categories associated with project management1.
Moreover, many industrial projects especially in aerospace, need competencies to reach the level of safety required. Therefore, it is a strategic issue for competitiveness to get the right competence at the right time. As illustrated in The “Aerospace Engineering Functional Competences”, the essential knowledge and understanding of the aerospace engineering domain respond to those indicators of performance which are based on the following general definitions:
You are able to understand the key issues and their implications for the customer. You are able to ask relevant and constructive questions on the subject, learn the skill and when you face something new or unusual you have to refer to procedures, manuals, other team members for guidance. You display an understanding of what effective performance looks like and demonstrate some practical applications at work. You may stay at this level for some time while you are training and other development activities will also help you, but it is the experience of applying new skills that will develop your proficiency level.
You can cope with standard problems and common situations. You are competent at day to day application of the skills, and are able to present concepts, information and solutions. You display detailed knowledge of the subject and you are capable of providing guidance and advice to others. At this level you can deal with most standard problems and you will only need to refer to an expert for non-standard issues and problems. You will still be using a variety of development activities to increase your experience and proficiency (e.g. training courses, reading regulatory and reference material).
You can cope with unusual and non-standard problems and issues, you are aware of alternative options and approaches to situations, can guide or advise others and you are able to look ahead and anticipate. You can display extensive practical experience and applied knowledge of the subject in a wide range of work situations. You are seen as a role model for others and people will seek your advice. You may be involved in coaching or mentoring in activities related to this skill.The experience in the job, as well as using the skills and other development activities will maintain your proficiency level.
1Project Manager ‘Management Competency’ vs. ‘Technical Competency’. Which is more important to overall project management success? Barry Jon Bauer, Tracey M. Richardson, James W. Marion. http://www.academia.edu/7189834/Project_Manager_Management_Competency_vs._Technical_Competency._Which_is_more_important_to_overall_project_management_success
Relying on the results of our research and on the result of the independent impact analysis1 of the Californian After School Education and Safety2 program, our organization has decided to collaborate with a senior high school and to educate future RPL candidates. With regard to efficiency of the afterschool programs, the study has revealed: “… In short the findings revealed that both short- and long -term partecipation of high school students in after-school activities resulted in from small to minor positive effects on their academic achievements and behavioural outcomes. For most outcomes, the after school program effects were slightly larger on students who frequently attended an afterschool program, rather than just attending it for a few days during the year…”
An after-school project in a senior high-school for RPL education
We noticed that everywhere in high schools and universities there is a growth of interest in RPAS among young people. This is demonstrated by numerous schools presentations, dissertations, and/or master'sdegree theses that we have received during this year. In particular, we have received a high school diploma thesis entitled “The pilot is, but anywhere” or a communication science master thesis entitled “Dronology”. It is interesting to note that in both examples, the presentations are considering the theme not only through a technical point of view but also in some paragraphs as a social issue or in the case of the masters thesis through a political angle of view. These studies, and others, make us hope that the future generations are looking to that new aircraft as an integral part of their worldview.
Italy has a peculiarity represented by "senior second level schools" specialized in preparimg students for aeronautical professions . (Istituto Tecnico Aeronautico ITAer). This aeronautical section is subdivided into a first twoyear part plus a three-year part. We can find three different options that are construction, air traffic management, and pilot. Both three are under a unique hat entitled ''logistics''. The RPAS first Italian formative experiences will begin in September.
Our educational project will embrace all aspect of the new activities feasible with RPAS possibilities. Not only has it contemplated RPA and its system of viewpoint over mechanics, electrical activity, electronics and informatics. Our goal is to prepare the students to embrace with an open mind any of the aeronautical jobs that will be needed in future.
Therefore, in addition to the aeronautical school program made of subjects such as mathematics, logistics, electronics, navigation construction, mechanics, in after school program, it will be studied aerodynamics, safety, AGK, risk and planning of a mission, rules and air law, communication, operational procedures, human factors, meteorology… Concerning the practical training, in a first time, the first step will be to practice in an outdoor cage.
It’s also examined how to:
Conclusions: Sapritalia is collaborating also with universities, in order to give life to academic debates and projects about this topic.
As illustrated, there is a lot of influence of human factors on the generalized lack of awareness of safety. Our intent is to use the education to create a safety embryo with young people. Outsourcing with an after-school program in order to involve the proactivity, which can promote the safety, seems to be a way to create a group of future responsible RPAS operators. In the specific field of RPAS all the presented elements may become safety issues: a good education, a clear regulation and a real awareness of those problems are certainly a strategic issue. From Sapritalia’s point of view, there are two issues to talk about:• First of all, the Sapritalia’s research has demonstrated an obvious lack of general aeronautical culture of RPAS community, as well as the complete lack of sufficient knowledge to perform safe operations.• Secondly, there is an evident resistance to any sorts of regulation.On the one hand, we are facing the pedagogical issue and we have to promote among unskilled people what aeronautics mean. On the other hand we have the sensation that in Europe the rules of the simplification process are hindered by specific interests that want to profit from the deregulation process, as argued by Mr Van Den Abeele, lecturer at the University of Mons-Hainaut and member of the European Trade Union Institute.In the specific field of RPAS all those elements may create safety issues : a good education, a clear regulation and a real awareness of those problems are certainly strategic issues.
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