Symposium Protocols


Subject to change; additional details to be added as they become available

I. Goals

  1. Highlight, discuss and document how flight training reform can help increase student starts, decrease participant attrition, and reduce the general aviation fatal accident rate.
  2. Enhance general aviation’s ability to adapt to environmental, demographic, economic, and other factors.
  3. Stimulate and invigorate industry and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) collaboration to address the above issues.
  4. Establish a follow-on process to institutionalize industry/government validation and remedies to identified issues.

II. Objectives

  1. Determine linkages between the general aviation training system and the stagnant fatal accident record.
  2. Determine linkages between the general aviation training system and reduced student starts and high participant attrition.
  3. Identify changes needed in the general aviation training infrastructure, including doctrine, standards and testing methods, curriculum, training methods and technology, flight and ground instructor professionalism, and flight instructor training and testing.
  4. Mobilize action to transform the training system by defining specific outcomes from industry organizations, original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, the FAA, training centers and schools, courseware providers, academia, the flight instructor community, and other stakeholders.

III. Symposium Procedures

  1. GENERAL – SAFE will organize and chair the symposium, in collaboration with symposium sponsors and supporters. The agenda will consist of featured keynote speakers, chaired panels on the issues identified above in paragraph IIC, breakout panels to address those issues, and an industry leadership panel.
  2. DATE, VENUE, AND LOCATION – Both SAFE and symposium sponsors will collaborate to select a symposium date, location, and venue that will be convenient for attendees and minimize conflicts with other aviation events and normal general aviation activity, to the extent feasible.
  3. SYMPOSIUM FORMAT – The symposium will require two full days, with most participants and attendees arriving the night before the first day. The first day will include a keynote speaker and six panels.  The second day will feature breakout groups in the morning that will coincide with each of the previous day’s panels. The breakout groups will amplify the subjects covered by the associated formal panel and develop recommendations to address the issues that were identified. In the afternoon of the second day, an industry leadership panel, including a senior FAA executive, will hear the breakout group report-outs.
  4. CONFERENCE AND ATTENDEE EXPENSES – The net costs required to plan the symposium, publicize it, provide meeting space, and document the results will be borne by SAFE and symposium sponsors. Attendee transportation costs, lodging, most meals, and other personal expenses will be borne by the individual panelists, attendees, and other participants or their sponsoring organizations.
  5. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS – Both SAFE and symposium sponsors will identify keynote speakers who will reinforce symposium themes or challenge the participants to address specific outcomes. In addition the symposium may also feature luncheon speakers.
  6. PANELS – The six proposed panels will be moderated by individuals who have in-depth experience in the panel’s specific topic. SAFE will select the moderators, in consultation with symposium sponsors. SAFE will provide each panel moderator will with a panel “charge” that will outline what the panelists should address. This charge will be presented to invited panelists in advance of the symposium, in order that they may tailor their presentations to support the panel theme and charge. Panel moderators will provide suggested topics to each panelist, in consultation with symposium sponsors. Each panel moderator will be expected to introduce their panelists, as well as provide their own brief presentation highlighting that panel’s topic.
  7. PANELISTS – SAFE and the symposium sponsors will collaborate to invite panelists who are expert in the panel’s topics, represent a diversity of opinion regarding training reform, and who are recognized in their field by the general aviation community. Although SAFE will provide panelists with a general charge and with the panel’s specific charge and assign them a specific subject and title, panelists may request to address a different topic to support that panel’s charge. SAFE will endeavor to honor such requests but must also ensure that the individual presentations on that panel provide a coherent integrated coverage of the entire scope of the panel’s charge.
  8. ATTENDEES – The symposium’s audience will consist of a broad cross-section of stakeholders and individual practitioners in the aviation and flight education community. It is expected to include between 150-300 representatives from industry, academia, and government from all spectrums of the flight training community from working instructor to senior executive. Although attendance will initially be governed by SAFE and sponsor invitation to specific individuals, SAFE will open registration to others attendees at a specified period before the symposium, probably 60-90 days, once all previous invitees have accepted or declined their invitation to speak or attend. Regardless of their background or responsibilities, all attendees in the audience will be expected to listen to the panelists on day one of the symposium and then join a breakout group assigned by SAFE the next day as a participant.
  9. BREAKOUT GROUPS – On the second day of the conference, breakout groups will convene in the morning, one for each panel that met the previous day. The moderator from the associated panel will facilitate the breakout group, and will be assisted by one or more recorders, professional facilitators, timekeepers and other volunteers provided by SAFE or symposium sponsors.  Each breakout group will have the same charge as the associated panel from the previous day. Each breakout group will encourage an open dialogue on the issues but must ensure that an orderly, effective process is followed in recognition of the time constraints. The facilitator will endeavor to achieve consensus on issues and recommendations but will also report on those issues where there is no consensus. Some of the latter issues may generate recommendations calling for more research or analysis. Each breakout group recommendation must identify the action needed, why it is needed, the organization(s) responsible for carrying it out, and a timeframe for accomplishing it.
  10. INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP PANEL – On the afternoon of the final conference day, an industry leadership panel will convene to hear the report-outs from the breakout groups. The members of the industry leadership panel will represent key organizations or companies that have a major stake in flight training or aviation education. The leadership panelists will listen to the report-outs, ask clarifying questions as required, and offer summary remarks but will not be expected to offer judgment on the reports or recommendations. The panel will include a senior executive from the FAA who has oversight responsibility for flight training regulations, doctrine, and standards.
  11. REGISTRATION FEES – There will be no registration fee for the symposium. All attendees will be responsible for their own transportation, lodging, meal, and other personal expenses. In collaboration with conference sponsors, SAFE will endeavor to provide some conference amenities, which may include some meals and/or an opening day reception. SAFE will post such information on the conference web site as soon as it is known, along with registration procedures, attendee waiting list procedures, and other information.
  12. WEB SITE – The symposium’s information and procedures will be available at the following web site: www.PilotTrainingReform.org.

IV. Expected Outcomes

  1. IMMEDIATE OUTCOMES – Both SAFE and the symposium sponsors expect that the symposium, and the publicity leading up to it, will generate a constructive and honest dialogue regarding the relationship between effective flight training and both general aviation safety and growth. The raw output of the symposium, including the discussions and initial report-outs, will focus this dialogue and amplify it on specific issues. The symposium, by itself, cannot execute specific changes needed in the current flight training system.
  2. INTERMEDIATE OUTCOMES – Immediately following the symposium, SAFE will begin compiling the recommendations and other outputs and transmit them to the organizations to which the recommendations were directed. These organizations will likely engage in further dialogue with SAFE, other organizations, and the FAA to ensure that the conference outputs are fully understood, before they respond to the recommendations.
  3. LONG TERM OUTCOMES – Once symposium recommendations are validated and accepted, the real outcomes of the symposium will begin as organizations and companies take action to implement them. The ultimate positive outcome will occur, over a long time period, if and when these actions increase student pilot starts, increase student retention, reduce fatal accidents, and achieve other desirable outcomes. Realistically, some of the changes to the current flight training system will take three to five years, or even a longer period.

V. Follow-On Activities

  1. To ensure proper follow-up and documentation of recommendations and to achieve the expected outcomes, SAFE will post draft conference proceedings at www.PilotTrainingReform.org within 60 days of the symposium. Organizations and symposium participants will have an additional 60 days to comment on the draft proceedings and 90 days to respond to recommendations.
  2. In responding to recommendations, organizations or companies can: (1) agree with the recommendation and specify exactly how and when they will implement it; (2) disagree with the recommendation and cite supporting information detailing why they disagree; (3) propose an alternate response, citing why this alternative is better, and how they will implement it; (4) specify that the recommendation is better directed at another organization or company.
  3. SAFE expects that most recommendations will be better accomplished by collaboration among many organizations, including the FAA. Current industry/FAA bodies and forums, such as the Joint Safety Committee (JSC), may be the most effective entities for implementation.
  4. SAFE will post the final symposium proceedings, including comments and responses to recommendations by approximately 180 days following the conclusion of the symposium.
  5. SAFE proposes that the industry and FAA jointly conduct an annual review of the symposium recommendations, to measure progress and adjust efforts as appropriate. Again, this review will likely be more efficiently accomplished collaboratively by entities such as the JSC.