57TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Accra, Ghana, 19-23 March 2018
WP No. 159
Review of the IFATCA Initial Training Manual for Air Traffic Control
Presented by PLC
In the six years since the IFATCA Initial Training Manual for Air Traffic Control was introduced, training methods and information available have changed significantly. This working paper reviews the Initial Training Manual in order to assess relevance and accuracy.
1.1. At the 56th IFATCA Conference in Toronto, Agenda Item C.6.11 Global Harmonisation of ATC Training recommended a review of the IFATCA Initial Training Manual in relation to existing ICAO material with the objective of:
- Identifying material that is satisfactorily addressed by ICAO training material and that can be removed from the Initial Training Manual, and
- Identifying area where ICAO guidance could be further refined, and
- Identifying opportunities to create new policy or guidance materials in areas that ICAO have yet to address.
1.2. Relevant ICAO training material for Air Traffic Controllers is contained in Annex 1, PANS-TRG and Doc 10056.
1.3. The IFATCA Initial Training Manual was introduced in 2012 as the IFATCA framework for initial training of Air Traffic Controllers. This was after a specific request by ICAO and the training manual was to be offered for their consideration to form the basis of an ICAO Training Manual for Air Traffic Controllers.
1.4. The stated goal of the manual is to “provide guidance to support global harmonisation” through guidance material for ANSP’s without an advanced training programme and as reference material for other ANSP’s.
1.5. While the Initial Training Manual was never adopted by ICAO, similar material has been subsequently included in Doc 10056 albeit tailored to competency-based training and assessment (CBT).
1.6. This working paper seeks to determine whether the content of the Initial Training Manual is sufficiently replicated in Doc 10056 and thus should be removed from IFATCA documentation.
2.1. ICAO has chosen to pursue competency-based training and assessment as the global standard. This is reflected in both PANS-TRG and Doc 10056. Doc 10056 is a guide of how to set up a CBT program, whereas the IFATCA Initial Training Manual is essentially an evidencebased training program. Also, in keeping with other ICAO documentation, Doc 10056 is an overarching guide, light on specifics and detail, in order to give states some room to develop their own. However, example syllabi are included for states without the resources to develop their own. In places, these syllabi are less comprehensive than the Initial Training Manual however, it is considered detailed enough to build an effective competency-based training course.
2.2. The IFATCA Initial Training Manual was designed in order to present to ICAO. Given the advances in ICAO documentation since 2012, the Initial Training Manual as it stands now is of no use to ICAO. The manual was also aimed providing a document that a member association could take to their ANSP to assist with the design of their own training program. This goal is also covered though by the example syllabus in the appendices of Doc 10056.
2.3. In 2012 when the Initial Training Manual was developed, prior to the implementation of Doc 10056, ICAO was lacking specific information in course content. For example, the general knowledge required for the various ATC ratings was very broad. Under the requirement for Air Law for an Air Traffic Controller, the only requirements were: “rules and regulations relevant to the air traffic controller”.
2.4. The Initial Training Manual expanded on this for member associations by presenting a quite thorough syllabus of relevant Aviation Law topics including general and specific training objectives. However, with the introduction of the CBT and Assessment manual this information is now available in appendix 1a a Basic Training syllabus. This is also true for most of the other rating training courses in the Initial Training Manual.
2.5. Below is a brief summary of the content of each specific chapter of the Initial Training Manual and how it relates to today’s ICAO documentation.
Chapter 1 – Training Principles This chapter explains ICAO regulatory requirements and a consolidation of some applicable IFATCA policies.
Chapter 2 – General Recommendations This is an interesting chapter that has content around classroom equipment and simulator training that is not in any of the already mentioned ICAO documents. However, it is stated in the manual that ICAO documents TRAINAIR Training Management Guideline (TMG) and Training Development Guideline(TDG) contain detailed information on the issues discussed in this chapter. These manuals however do not seem to be well known, nor easily accessible.
Chapter 3 – Training Objectives Phase One Basic Training course Doc 10056 contains a similar example syllabus in Appendix 1A.
Chapter 4 – General Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course This chapter includes training objectives common to all rating syllabus. Doc 10056 covers these within each specific example syllabus.
Chapter 5 – Specific Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course Aerodrome Control Visual (ADV) Rating ADV is not an ICAO rating so it is not mentioned in ICAO documentation, nor is it relevant in a large part of the world. Doc 10056 includes example ADC syllabus in Appendix 1A.
Chapter 6 – Specific Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course Aerodrome Control Instrument (ADI) Rating As above, ADI is also not an ICAO recognised rating.
Chapter 7 – Specific Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course Approach Control Procedural (APP) Rating Doc 10056 contains a similar example syllabus in Appendix 1C.
Chapter 8 – Specific Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course Area Control Procedural (ACP) Rating Doc 10056 contains a similar example syllabus in Appendix 1E.
Chapter 9 – Specific Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course Approach Control Surveillance (APS) Rating Doc 10056 contains a similar example syllabus in Appendix 1D.
Chapter 10 – Specific Training Objectives Phase One Rating Training course Area Control Surveillance (ACS) Rating Doc 10056 contains a similar example syllabus in Appendix 1F.
2.6. Competency-based training is not currently mandatory; therefore, the Initial Training Manual may still be of some use to MAs that do not wish to, or are not able to transition to CBT. Retention of the document or parts of it therefore may be desirable for this purpose.
3.1. IFATCA intends where possible to align its approach with ICAO. In this instance, it would mean encouraging competency-based training and assessment, which IFATCA is doing in other areas. Therefore, it would make no sense to continue with a training manual that is an evidence-based training and assessment guide. It is not acceptable to have a document that may contradict ICAO while pretending to be its complement.
3.2. If the Initial Training Manual is to be retained in its current form, then it needs to be assessed for outdated information by a training specialist and then the manual must be regularly updated to ensure continued relevance. IFATCA does not want to be the author of documentation that is contradictory to ICAO SARPs.
3.3. There is still content within each rating training course that is not specifically covered in ICAO material and may still be of use in another format.
3.4. While the Initial Training Manual is a current IFATCA document, its existence is not well known. The location of the manual means it is not easily discoverable by MAs. Unfortunately, no accurate information is available regarding how many MA’s have downloaded or used the manual however, if it is retained in any form it should be made more easily accessible.
It is recommended that:
4.1. The IFATCA Initial Training Manual for Air Traffic Controllers is removed as an IFATCA document.
4.2. The EB tasks PLC to extract the material complimentary to the ICAO documentation from the IFATCA Initial Training Manual for Air Traffic Controllers. This material will then be retained as “IFATCA Guidance Material for Initial Training”.
IFATCA Initial Training Manual for Air Traffic Control.
ICAO Doc 9868 – Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Training, First Edition 2006.
ICAO Doc 10056 – Manual on Air Traffic Controller Competency-based Training, First Edition 2016.
Last Update: October 1, 2020