Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training
Doc 10011, AN/506, First Edition. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Montreal: ICAO, 2014. 94 pp. Figure, tables, appendix.
Several ASW articles since mid-2009 tracked steps toward the global consensus on effective, feasible solutions for mitigating loss of control in flight (LOC-I). Recent public release of this manual sets an anchor point for aviation safety professionals regarding upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT), detailing the finalized set of international standards and recommended practices (see “Teaching UPRT,” p. 30) that resulted from five years of work by experts from many organizations. They knew that, in the manual’s words, “LOC-I accidents often have catastrophic results with very few, if any, survivors.”
The manual also lays out its historical context: “Until recently, international licensing standards did not require training programmes to teach upset prevention and recovery, even at the theoretical level,” it says. “The study of aerodynamics and its effects, and the practical lessons focusing on stall and, in some cases, spin recovery seemed to be the training benchmarks that defined the industry’s efforts to mitigate the likelihood of a LOC-I occurrence. … The study of LOC-I occurrences revealed overarching training deficiencies that failed to adequately prepare the affected flight crews to recognize, avoid, and, in the worst instances, recover from an aeroplane upset condition.”
Moreover, flight simulation training devices (FSTDs) typically presented “dynamic characteristics in the stall and post-stall regimes that are easier to recover from than in the actual aeroplane. … In addition, at least one event has occurred for which pilots misidentified the conditions associated with a stall, as those conditions were not portrayed in the FSTD.”
ICAO begins with definition of the term aeroplane upset and a glossary of UPRT-related language. The manual’s emphasis throughout is the need for UPRT, regardless of any airline pilot’s background, type ratings or flight hours.
“Both on-aeroplane training at the commercial pilot and multi-crew pilot level and training in a flight simulation training device at the airline transport pilot and type rating level are now promulgated in Annexes 1 — Personnel Licensing and 6 — Operation of Aircraft, Part I — International Commercial Air Transport — Aeroplanes, as well as in the Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Training (PANS-TRG, Doc 9868), with an applicability date of 13 November 2014,” the manual says. PANS-TRG revisions also include the standard for on-airplane UPRT as part of qualification for the multi-crew pilot license and the recommended practice that students preparing for the commercial pilot license–airplane receive such training.
Stall and airplane upset are now treated as closely related, and ICAO foresees comprehensive UPRT programs superseding airline programs formerly geared only to stall or airplane upset. “Although not all aeroplane upset occurrences involve an aerodynamic stall, an unintentional stall is indeed a form of upset even though it may not meet the pitch and bank attitude upset parameters,” the manual says. “This is because during a stall, the aeroplane meets the upset criteria of being at an inappropriate airspeed for the conditions. In all instances of an aeroplane upset involving a stall, it is stressed in this manual that the aeroplane must first be recovered from the stall condition before any other upset recovery action can become effective.”
As noted, ICAO has left no room to exempt any pilot from UPRT because recurrent training for reinforcement/refresher of perishable skills is seen as critical throughout a pilot’s career.
“There are also several recorded incidents of aeroplane upsets from which there was indeed a successful recovery and many other occurrences where an impending upset was avoided,” the manual says. “The determinant factor for recovery to a safe state in most of those incidents was either the flight crew’s accurate analysis of the occurrence and the timely and correct application of preventive/recovery techniques, or the aeroplane’s inherent stability combined with its envelope protection system that provided an added measure of time, or an auto-flight system input that marginalized the seriousness of the incident.”
Under this assumption of universal value, the manual tells how to assess the highly experienced airline pilots’ specific needs for transitional or bridge training, including how the training should be delivered if pilots have not previously received any formalized UPRT. For states, airlines, approved training organizations and other entities, the instructional approach, components of UPRT design, the comprehensive integration of components and pilot-proficiency performance benchmarks also are covered.
The UPRT program blueprint divides recommended training elements into 11 subject areas with corresponding components. For example, the human factors content covers threat and error management, human information processing, crew resource management, situation awareness, decision making, problem solving, startle and stress response, and physiological factors. And knowledge of aerodynamics, flight dynamics, airplane design principles, threats and human limitations fulfills the academic/theoretical training prescribed.
The manual also describes the continuing role for the Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid, Revision 2 (November 2008) — developed by Airbus, Boeing and Flight Safety Foundation — and announces an initiative led by ICAO and the airline industry to complete an update to the Training Aid in 2015.
On-airplane UPRT is now accepted internationally as a means to address known limitations of FTSD-based UPRT, and ICAO recommends that approved training organizations explicitly mitigate the risks to students and instructors during on-airplane training by combining a safety management system with policies and procedures of a quality assurance program.
“Limitations in FSTD motion cueing and the reduced emotional response create boundaries that prevent pilots from experiencing the full range of aeroplane attitudes, load factors and behaviour that can be present during an actual flight,” the manual says. “These areas of missing experience provide gaps in pilots’ understanding and proficiency when confronted with an actual upset. … FSTD capabilities permit training in operational areas that are otherwise unsafe or impractical in actual aeroplanes (such as low altitude or very high altitude upset encounters or flight during rapidly deteriorating situations involving adverse weather or icing conditions). Additionally, FSTDs can allow for practical skill development in upset prevention and recovery in a crew environment and with aeroplane-specific systems, instrument indications, control response and procedures.” The manual covers appropriate use of type-specific and non-type-specific FSTDs in various contexts, including cases when type-specific FSTDs do not exist.
Amendment No. 3 to the Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Training
Doc 9868, Interim Edition, applicable Nov. 13, 2014. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Montreal: ICAO, April 2014. 8 pp.
This interim edition of the latest amendment by ICAO to Procedures for Air Navigation Services –Training (PANS-TRG) primarily adds an all-new Chapter 7, “Upset Prevention and Recovery Training” (UPRT) and some additional UPRT-relevant information focusing on the training needs of airplane pilots seeking to attain the required level of academic/theoretical and practical competency to mitigate the risk of loss of control–in flight (LOC-I).
“Many LOC-I accident investigations have revealed that the affected flight crew had received misleading information from well-meaning training staff or their organizations,” the amendment says. “Indeed, some existing training practices were found to be not only ineffective but were also considered a contributory factor, which led to inappropriate responses by some flight crews.”
This resource is closely linked to the Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (Doc 10011), and part of a comprehensive information package intended for use by civil aviation authorities, operators and approved training organizations. The training specified in the new chapter “is required for the MPL [multi-crew pilot license], the type-rating and the training of commercial air transport pilots, and is highly recommended for the CPL(A) [commercial pilot license ( airplane)],” the amendment says.
“Although not obligatory, training organizations engaged in the recurrent assessment and training of flight crew engaged in the operations of large or turbojet aeroplanes in accordance with Annex 6, Part II — International General Aviation – Aeroplanes … should also use this information to enhance the scope of their training services being offered. A well-constructed UPRT programme will better enable individual pilots and flight crews to effectively cope with unexpected and unforeseeable situations, which regrettably is a skill set that has been found lacking in virtually every recorded LOC-I accident.”
The amendment clarifies that UPRT at the CPL(A) licensing level “should be commensurate with those requirements deemed appropriate for an entry-level licence for a pilot starting employment with a commercial operator.” ICAO assumes that unlike MPL holders — who begin careers as first officers operating commercial air transport airplanes — CPL(A) holders will be presumed to build upon their initial UPRT knowledge, skills and attitudes when they transition to airline-level type ratings and operator-specific initial and recurrent training stages of their airline careers.
The amendment often mirrors content of the Manual, especially concerning appropriate and safe use of on-airplane training; expected qualifications of instructors; quality assurance; and the oversight of approved training organizations by national authorities.
PANS-TRG and Manual–derived edits appear throughout other ICAO documents, as shown in two free ICAO-compiled UPRT-related lists <www.icao.int/Meetings/LOCI/Pages/Upset-Prevention-and-Recovery-Training-Provisions.aspx>.1,2
- ICAO. Annex 6, Operation of Aircraft. “Upset prevention and recovery training–related excerpts from Part I, International Commercial Air Transport – Aeroplanes, Ninth Edition.” Montreal: ICAO, July 2010.
- ICAO. Annex 1, Personnel Licensing. “Upset prevention and recovery training–related excerpts from Annex I, International Commercial Air Transport – Aeroplanes, Ninth Edition.” Montreal: ICAO, July 2011