The introduction of the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) in the early 1990s marks another stage in the evolution of error management. Under
AQP, a voluntary program, the FAA allows air carriers to develop training programs specific to their individual needs and operations. A condition for
AQP authorization is the requirement to have a CRM program that is integrated into technical training.
To accomplish this objective, air carriers began to “proceduralize” CRM by incorporating desired behaviors into operational procedures and checklists.
Although AQP is a voluntary program, the FAA Flight Standards Service encourages air carriers to participate. AQP provides for enhanced curriculum development and a data-driven approach to quality assurance along with the flexibility to target critical tasks during aircrew training. The AQP methodology directly supports the FAA’s goals for safety enhancement. The primary goal of AQP is to achieve the highest possible standard of individual and crew performance. In order to achieve this goal, AQP seeks to reduce the probability of crew-related errors by aligning training and evaluation requirements more closely with the known causes of human error. For example:
a. Crew Performance. Most accidents are attributed to crew error. Traditional training programs focus on individual training and evaluation. Under AQP, the focus is on crew and individual performance in both training and evaluation.
b. CRM. Most accidents are caused by errors of judgment, communication, and crew coordination. Traditional training programs focus primarily on flying skills and systems knowledge. Under AQP, competence in flying skills and systems knowledge are integrated with CRM skills in training and evaluation throughout the curriculum.
c. Scenario-Based Training and Evaluation. Most accidents are caused by a chain of errors that build up over the course of a flight and which, if undetected or unresolved, result in a final, fatal error. Traditional training programs, with their maneuver-based training and evaluation, artificially segment simulation events in such a way as to prevent the realistic buildup of the error chain. Under AQP, both training and evaluation are scenario-based, simulating more closely the actual flight conditions known to cause most fatal carrier accidents.
d. Additional Benefits. Added benefits that are expected for individual applicants will vary, but may include:
(1) The ability to modify training curricula, media, and intervals.
(2) Crew evaluation as well as individual assessment.
(3) Improved standardization across fleets and flight personnel.
(4) Shift from programmed hours to proficiency-based training.
(5) Access to innovative training ideas and research.
(6) Opportunity to achieve more efficient training.