FDM as an Integral Part of the Pilots' ATQP

25/06/2024 | Product
FDM as an Integral Part of the Pilots' ATQP Heading

At AeroSight, our primary goal is to significantly enhance aviation safety for our clients through the meticulous application of Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) programs. This article explores how FDM, as part of the Alternative Training and Qualification Programme (ATQP), plays a crucial role in pilot training and performance evaluation.

Flight Data Monitoring Applications

The most widely known application of recorded flight data from onboard Flight Data Recorders (often referred to as "black boxes") is during the investigation of aircraft incidents or accidents.

However, the Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) program, required by the Safety Management System (SMS) established by each operator, serves as a proactive system for detecting occurrences, events, and trends.

FDM program scope includes:

  • Airworthiness Limitations: Ensuring the aircraft operates within its performance envelope.
  • Condition Detection: Such as Engine Condition Monitoring (ECM).
  • Operational Procedures: with the currently presented example for Pilot Performance.

FDM provides insights into:

  • Trends in pilot performance, detecting early stages of habit formation.
  • Identifying repeatable mistakes or deviations.

Importance of Expertise in FDM

Best practices, as outlined in documents like the UK CAA CAP 739, suggest that each operator should proactively extend the monitored conditions and improve occurrence detection logic. The Flight Data Analysis team should consist of at least two experienced individuals, preferably retired or active pilots, to ensure mutual control and accuracy.

It is crucial that FDM tools are utilized by experienced analysts. The subjective nature of human factors cannot be fully captured by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Encouraging Non-Punitive FDM

The SMS encourages voluntary reporting from pilots, though it can sometimes lead to discussions about what should or shouldn't be reported. It's essential that FDM remains non-punitive, encouraging pilots to engage with the flight data analysis team and monitor their performance.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has already talked about how the airline industry is shifting Pilot Training away from the Classical Instructional Systems Design towards newer paradigms where competency-based approaches are used for training and assessment.

Pilots’ ATQP Benefits from FDM

The Alternative Training Qualification Programme (ATQP) in aviation offers a progressive and flexible approach to pilot training and qualification, providing an alternative pathway for pilots to acquire necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies for safe flight operations.

Benefits of FDM in ATQP:

1. Reduced Stress During Inspections/Flight Checks:

Pilots undergo inspections or flight checks without the direct presence of an inspector, creating a natural environment and reducing performance-related stress.

2. Enhanced Simulator Training:

Specific scenarios and real-case situations can be reconstructed and replayed, making training more personalized and effective.

Properly implemented FDM can lead to better resource utilization, both technically and humanly. This results in reduced Aircraft on Ground (AOG) instances and high- cost repairs, alongside better training for pilots. The training of new Captains and First Officers requires a complex judgment of skills and performance, making early detection of bad habits crucial.

FDM is completely objective and impartial, focusing solely on the data rather than the identity of the pilot in command.


FDM, as an integral part of the ATQP, is essential for enhancing pilot training and operational safety. Its objective nature and focus on proactive monitoring and analysis provide valuable insights that help in early detection of issues, thereby fostering a culture of continuous improvement in aviation safety.