August 23, 2018

TCCA Scales Back Check Pilot Oversight


In a controversial move, Transport Canada-Civil Aviation has announced that they will allow major airlines to conduct pilot proficiency checks (PPCs) on their own pilots with less direct oversight. Currently, TCCA and approved independent operators conduct these evaluations, while TCCA monitors the competence and performance of the independent check pilots. Starting this fall, they will delegate the oversight role to senior private evaluators.

ATAC president John McKenna cites TCCA’s lack of resources for on-site evaluations as a reason he supports the move. Last year, TCCA inspectors reportedly performed only 300 PPCs vs 15,000 by industry-employed check pilots. McKenna was quoted as saying, “The people doing this for industry are much more frequent flyers and pilots than [TCCA] inspectors”.

However, the Canadian Federal Pilots Association (CFPA), the union representing federally employed pilots, disagrees. CFPA Operations director Greg Holbrook insists that it’s important to have independent oversight of commercial pilot testing. Holbrook brings up the possibility of conflict of interest when he was recently quoted as saying, “Do I have to satisfy Transport Canada, or do I go along with what my boss wants, who pays my paycheque, and pass the guy?”

The performance of PPCs of airline pilots has been shared by TCCA and the major airlines for 25 years.