The core competencies of a professional pilot

Stein Mjåtveit

Since I became an instructor in 2009 I have had the pleasure of working with, and training hundreds of professional pilots from around the world. One of the most enticing elements of the aviation industry is the opportunity it presents to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

In addition, I am privileged to be in a position where I constantly meet new people who are curious about the aviation industry and the career paths that exist for professional pilots.

In that context, I frequently get inquiries from people who are looking to start their pilot education and want to learn more about what it takes to become a pilot. To answer these questions for all of our readers out there, I am putting together a series of nine blog posts, to highlight what is to be expected of a professional pilot today, both in training and furthermore in their careers thereafter. 

The foundation for this blog series will be the core competencies for professional pilots as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

8 Core Competencies

As you can see from the overview, there is much more to be said about each core competency and what it entails. To make this series digestible in smaller pieces we will tackle one competency at a time. As the following blog posts are published I will add links below for easy navigation.

  1. Communication
  2. Aircraft Flight Path Management - Manual Control
  3. Aircraft Flight Path Management - Automation
  4. Leadership and teamwork
  5. Problem solving and decision making
  6. Application of procedures
  7. Workload management
  8. Situational Awareness

What are these core competencies you speak of?

Core competencies are defined as:

A group of related behaviors, based on job requirements, which describe how to effectively perform a job and what proficient performance looks like. They include the name of the competency, a description, and a list of behavioral indicators.

Source: Evidence Based Training ICAO Manual Doc 9995

In layman terms, the definition means that the core competencies are the areas a professional pilot should master. It is clearly defined how a pilot should behave and perform in order to be successful in his/her career and be able to contribute to continued high level of safety for air travelers and crew across the globe.

As we break this down over the next couple of weeks, I will define how we apply this in flight training in order to help student pilots develop in these areas.

Blue skies and safe landings my friends!


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