Quality Management in Aviation Training Essay

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This paper addresses the use of total quality management principles in the

evaluation of aviation training outcomes. The paradigm shift to quality

management in aviation training is explored in four areas: quality

management implementation, quality management tools for training managers,

quality management strategies for training, and the quality training

culture. Together, the four areas create a system and a process for

establishing total quality management at the training manager level for the

evaluation of aviation training. Items discussed in detail include training

analysis methods, training design processes, training objectives, training

assessment, the economics of training, and continuous improvement. The

paper concludes with recommendations for training managers drawn from

experience and from the literature.



The concepts of total quality management (TQM), statistical process control

(SPC) and continuous quality improvement (CQI) have evolved and flourished

over the last five decades. (Pierce, 1991) Though many improvements and

adaptations are sure to characterize their continuing evolution, arguments

can also be made that TQM, SPC and CQI are in a mature state. This does not

mean that these processes have outlived their usefulness by any means. They

have proven their worth and have been refined to maximize their usefulness.

TQM, SPC and CQI will be discussed collectively as “quality management.”

The training of people is entering its own revolution, partly the result of

quality management principles. Both TQM and CQI demand a high emphasis on

employee support and training. Training is rapidly becoming a science and a

growth industry. It has taken on a new importance in business, education,

athletics, government and the armed forces worldwide. This new emphasis on

the quality and quantity of

training is the result of the increasing complexity of systems and

technology, the decreasing availability of skilled labor, the increasing

demands for defect-free products and services, and quality management

efforts. While quality management requires training, training management

has not fully applied TQM, SPC and CQI for quality. This paper adapts

quality management philosophies, policies, practices and tactics for use by

the training manager. The results should be higher training effectiveness

and efficiency – better trainee skill and knowledge, for lower cost and in

less time.

Quality Management:

Quality management refers to management processes, disciplines and tools

that are coordinated to ensure that the organization consistently meets and

exceeds its goals and objectives. (Capezio, 1993) For the training manager

this generally means a high level of performance from trainees at the end

of the training with little variability, done at low cost and in short

time. Quality management requires innovation, change, discipline, logic,

motivation and commitment. It has been said that quality management, as a

concept, is nothing more than a buzzword for the collection of things that

managers should be doing anyway. This may be true, but the positive impact

of the emphasis on quality in the world’s industries cannot be overstated.

Using the tools of quality management will allow training managers to

achieve outstanding results and to enlist the support of top management for

training and for quality management. Whether the training is for office

clerks, shop workers, sales people, athletes, college students, airline

pilots, soldiers or toddlers learning to swim, the management of training

must measure the actual performance after training against the training

goals and objectives. Training managers also have to manage scarce

resources, mostly money and time.


This paper presents a system of quality

management for trainers, training supervisors, coaches, team leaders and

educators working in aviation. The principles will, however, apply in any

training organization. The work is intended as a description of practical

tools and strategies that can be used in the training of people. These

tools and strategies are drawn from the more general teachings of TQM, SPC

and CQI, as well as from experts in the training industry. They are chosen

for their applicability to aviation training, ease of use and benefits to

the training manager. Together, the tools and strategies should help to

create an organizational culture change that embraces quality management,

much like TQM has done in so many other applications.


The literature describing quality management is very extensive. As

mentioned earlier, the concepts and processes have evolved into a mature

state. Quality management principles are proven tools leading to

effectiveness, efficiency and excellence. Along similar lines, the value of

good training is also shown in effectiveness and efficiency. In fact,

excellence cannot be achieved without it.

The training literature, primarily produced by the behavioral sciences,

educational sciences, social sciences and psychology, is also quite

extensive. Much of it is theoretical in nature. While this theory is

important to further the knowledge of mankind, it is not of great interest

or use to the training manager “where the rubber meets the road.” Another

group of writings about training concerns itself with training systems,

training delivery, curriculum design and how people learn. This is also

very important for the advancement of the field of training, and the

practical application literature about training and learning. There is very

little written about the management of training operations, particularly in

relation to TQM. TQM has been applied to educational management at

universities and colleges, though this literature is also surprisingly

limited. It has been hypothesized that some educators are reluctant to

emphasize quality management for themselves, because the measurements of

performance and statistical processes require unprecedented evaluations of

the professor’s ability to teach. Whether this is true or not is a matter

of debate, but the available literature remains very limited.

An extension of this literature for quality management of the training

profession is even more limited. Training has less glamour than traditional

education and has just recently been recognized for its importance. Airline

pilots used to train only according to regulatory requirements. Today,

airlines have developed their own training programs under a new set of

regulations allowing “Advanced Qualification Programs” (AQP), because

airline management recognizes the increases in effectiveness and efficiency

that can be achieved. Similar changes are being made in the nuclear power

industry, as the emphasis on quality training grows. AQP requires many

quality management principles, like statistical process control and

continuous improvement, and quality training principles like task analysis

and training assessment. These concepts are discussed herein. The airline

and nuclear power industries are trend indicators for other training

applications, because they are characterized by complex technology and zero

tolerance for the effects of errors. Other industries will fall in line as

the level of technology increases everywhere and the tolerance for errors


The tools and strategies presented in this paper are designed to help

training professionals regardless of the training application, though

aviation examples are used. It is assumed that all training has specified

goals and objectives, and a limited amount of resources. The challenges for

training management are very similar across disciplines.

Quality Management Implementation

TQM is designed to optimize resources and performance while meeting the

necessary condition of quality. TQM should emphasize the key success

factors of the organization. (Stein, 1994) In aviation training, these are

consistent changes in behavior affected with the allotted resources.

Aviation training programs generally do not allow a great deal of variance

for any of the variables, resources or performance. A high level of safety

is assumed in this case, since safety management is beyond the scope of

this work.

TQM requires that quality be a necessary condition. Each organization must

define quality in terms of its critical success factors. (Stein, 1994) The

quality of the training activity is determined by the limitations on the

system. These limitations are the target of quality

management. Student throughput is determined by the resource constraints.

The use of resources must be optimized with quality management techniques

to create and protect throughput. The following list is a non-exclusive

list of quality management components drawn from the literature (Stein,


1. Orientation to continuous quality improvement

2. A customer oriented quality focus

3. People-oriented management

4. TQM must be valued throughout the organization

5. Suppliers must be involved

6. Focus on quality improvement

7. Long-term business focus and commitment

8. Unencumbered information exchange

9. Controlled reduction of variances

10. Employee empowerment

11. Employee-based process controls

12. Comprehensive internal training

13. Valid decision support mechanisms

14. Local benchmarks in line with global benchmarks

15. Team approach to problem solving

16. Internal and external application of the customer concept

17. Prudent use of statistics

18. Prevention oriented quality controls

19. Valid and optimum scheduling

20. Philosophies, strategies, policies, practices and tactics that are in


21. A dynamic system for learning, managing and adapting to change

Statistical process control (SPC) is an integral part of TQM. It

encompasses many of the tools that training managers can use to measure and

benchmark the program outcomes. SPC compares actual outcomes to pre-

established benchmarks in an objective manner. The tools are not very

complicated. The data collection methods are generally manual (instructor

and check airman input) , though sophisticated automated systems exist as

well. SPC generally looks for trends and outliers as targets for quality

management. Continuous improvement and variance reduction are key goals of

SPC. Specific SPC tools are presented later.

TQM Implementation:

The commencement of a quality management program in an aviation training

setting requires many of the same steps as in any other industry.

We can simplify the implementation process by dividing it into five phases:

awareness, assessment, preparation, action planning and evaluation.

Awareness of the quality management issues generally requires a change

agent in the organization. The momentum created by this person or persons

should help others to recognize the opportunities created by improving

processes. This awareness and subsequent commitment must also exist at the

top of the organization. (Capezio, 1993)

The assessment process will identify the key success factors for the

training program(s), measure the general organizational performance

regarding these success factors and identify benchmarks for each. These

benchmarks must come from the market – customers, suppliers and


Preparation for quality management in aviation training follows the

strategic planning model. The data gathered in the assessment phase is used

to develop the general strategies and goals. The required resources are

also identified and allocated in this phase.

Development of the action plan extends the preparation phase to the details

required for quality management. A team approach, using training managers,

instructors, check airmen, customers and support personnel, should be used

to identify roles, tactics, policies and tools. This phase incorporates the

details needed for SPC within the framework of quality management. (Pierce,


The evaluation phase is ongoing and should ensure continuous improvement.

The key is constant dissatisfaction with the status quo and increasing


The TQM implementation process must have the support of all top-level

managers, particularly the CEO. These leaders will be the change agents

affecting changes in attitudes, changes in relationships, and changes in

processes. The quality of learning outcomes and the optimization of

training resources should be the principal goals of the change. These goals

cannot be overstated or mentioned too frequently. The team has to stay

focused on the

main goals.

TQM implementation in aviation training also requires coordination with the

regulatory authorities, since most processes have to be approved by the

inspector(s). Resistance from regulators is unlikely, since their job will

be easier once SPC has been adopted. Progress reports, program validation

and training trends will be much easier to record. More and better data are

the main benefits of quality management in aviation training to the


Labor management presents another possible obstacle to TQM implementation,

though this is not unique to aviation training. Most organizations have

found a participative approach with labor to be best. The message to labor

is that quality management is supposed to improve the quality of work life,

and the productivity and quality of training. A collaborative effort with

labor can ensure this.

It should also be recognized that the above TQM implementation discussion

describes the ideal scenario. The real world is rarely so kind to well-

intentioned training managers. While involvement of the entire organization

with top-level leadership is best, the program manager or training manager

can still use many quality management principles in his/her area of

responsibility. Most of the SPC tools and quality training strategies will

work in isolation as well. Their benefits will still improve the training


Training Evaluation and Assessment:

Training evaluation is the systematic collection of descriptive and

judgmental information necessary to make effective training decisions

related to the selection, adoption, value and modification of instructional

activities. Training assessment uses this data to benchmark the program

against its own goals and against the performance of competitors.

(Goldstein, 1992)

Many new training tools have been introduced recently. Aviation training

organizations are making large investments in computer-based-training, task

trainers and other simulation. These investments do not guarantee that the

correct knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are being learned and used

on the job. Data, like that gained from SPC, is needed to verify the

benefits of new technology.

Grove and Ostroff (1990) describe the following barriers to training


1. Top management does not emphasize training evaluation.

2. Training directors often do not have the skills needed to conduct

training evaluation.

3. The training evaluations often done by human resource professionals do

not measure the correct KSAs.

4. There is a view that training evaluation can be risky and expensive,

particularly if weak areas become public knowledge.

Four strategies are presented for training managers seeking better

evaluation and assessment:

1. Training evaluation should be used to revise the program to meet its

goals and objectives.

2. Good evaluation data can demonstrate the usefulness of the training


3. Legal issues can also be supported with training data. Evaluation data

can be used to show job relatedness to the training program. It can

also be useful to show training validation during post-

incident/accident litigation.

4. The investments in training technology have to be backed with data for

shareholders and other stakeholders in the organization.

The Task Analysis:

Proper training requires knowing what KSAs to train. These KSAs have come

from task analysis studies in aviation. A task analysis is expensive and

time-consuming, but it is required for valid aviation training, for FAA-

approved AQP and for scientific training evaluation. Consequently, a task

analysis is essential before quality management processes can be applied

properly in a training program. The task analysis will provide the base

data for what is to be trained, measured and continuously improved. The

task analysis should be first and last step of the training program

development. For SPC, it will tell the training manager which data to

measure. (Mitchell, 1987)

The Needs Analysis:

The combined task analysis data will lead to a needs analysis, which

articulates the need for training within the organization. The needs

analysis defines the present practices and projects what the desired

results of the training should be. This data is also essential for building

the SPC program. (Mitchell, 1987)

The importance of the task analysis and the needs analysis are very clear

in aviation training. A word of caution is warranted, however. Many

organizations have overemphasized both, wasting resources that could have

been used in the commencement of training. In extreme cases, consultants

have been hired to conduct task and needs analysis work, but the results

took so long that the training program started without them. When the

analysis was complete, it was out of date and irrelevant to the already

flourishing training program.

A complementary approach is presented by Goldstein (1992). This approach

merges an analysis of the intended trainee population (pilots, mechanics,

etc.) with the task analysis KSAs to include the human element and to

provide a clear starting point as the status quo.

It is also important to align the philosophies and expectations of the

various stakeholders in the training program: the trainees, the trainers

and the organization. The trainees expect to learn the KSAs needed in their

work. The trainers expect these KSAs to be used in the work. The

organization expects results. While these sound complementary,

misunderstandings and conflicts can occur. Good communication during the

implementation phase is the key.

Quality Management Tools

Statistical process control (SPC) requires the use of training data and

benchmarking to determine the adequacy of outcomes and quality trends. In

short, learning outcomes should continually improve in a system that

optimizes the training resources. So, these items must be measured. The

critical learning outcome from the task analysis and the organization’s

resources in equipment, time and financial expenditures create the basis

for measurement.

Dr. Deming, often called the father of quality management, stated that

everyone must learn the basics of statistical theory and application, since

this is the language of improvement. The statistics used in quality

management are very basic and do not require extensive knowledge of

mathematics or statistics. This is an important point, because most

aviation training managers are experts in their fields, not mathematics

TQM tools:

The TQM tools that are most applicable to aviation training are simply

pictorial displays of processes or variances.

The control chart, for example, provides a clear visual display of the

variability of measures. It plots the variances of one variable over time

or over several trainees. (Sashkin, 1993) Applied to a simple aviation

datum, altitude deviation in this example, the control chart can show the

performance of one flight crew over a flight:


The control chart can also show the variances of the pilot population for a

similar condition of flight:

picThese are obviously simplifications used to illustrate a point. The

control chart can be used best in conjunction with technology that allows

this data to be extracted from flight simulators without any instructor

action or by simply pressing a button. Such data collection program exist

to provide periodic training outcome

reports to the training manager. The training department or standards

department would set upper control limits (UCLs) and lower control limits

(LCLs) for each variable. The control charts can then be analyzed for

problem areas or the software can be programmed to report any problem areas

as defined by the training manager. This process removes any emotion or

anecdotal evidence from the training evaluation process. (Fellers, 1992)

picThe pareto chart is another simple, effective tool for quality

management. The underlying principle of the pareto chart is that 80% of the

training problems can be traced to 20% of the varied possible causes. To

get the most out of quality management, training managers should

concentrate on the leading 20% of causes. (Fellers, 1992) The following

pareto chart lists recent failures noted in recurrent training for a

transport category aircraft:

A run chart or trend chart shows a variable over a specific period of time.

This allows the training manager to see any impacts of changes in the

training program. If the control chart or pareto chart indicates a problem

area, a change in training emphasis can be made. This change is then

tracked with a run chart. Once again, this data can be collected manually

by instructors and check airmen or the data can be collected by software

programs on the market. (Capezio, 1993)

The following run chart shows the number of daily training sessions lost to

simulator malfunctions:

picA histogram is another bar graph showing the distribution of a

variable. A histogram can be used to visually display this distribution.

Stein, 1994) Most distributions like trainee test scores, extra training

times, tutoring sessions, etc. should be distributed normally (shaped

roughly like a bell.)

picThe following histogram depicts the number of CBT sessions required to

pass a knowledge test:

Scatter diagrams provide a pictorial view of how one variable relates to

another. The results are graphed, with one variable expressed on the x-axis

and the other on the y-axis. (Stein, 1994) The following scatter diagram

shows the relationship between total flight hours logged by a pilot and

simulator hours needed during initial training:

picBrainstorming and process designing tools used in TQM can also help

the aviation training manager. (Capezio, 1993) While many training

decisions are made for the industry by regulators, a large number of

decisions have to be made in designing and improving a training program.

The tools discussed previously can be used to identify areas for

brainstorming and process design. A control chart may indicate a training

problem in high altitude airport operations, for example. The training

manager can assemble a small group of instructors and check airmen for the

training meeting.

Affinity diagramming involves open brainstorming concerning a single issue.

(Sashkin, 1993) The training manager would pose the question: “Why are we

seeing more training problems involving high altitude airports?” Each

participant then writes down one answer and reads it. No discussion of the

ideas is allowed until all potential ideas have been exhausted. The ideas

are then arranged in related stacks according KSAs and each is evaluated on

its own merit. This process removes the personality from the idea and

encourages open participation.

Relationship diagramming is an extension of the affinity diagram. Each

selected idea is brainstormed as to its causes in another open idea

generating session. The causes are then linked to each idea, building the

relationship diagram.

A tree diagram can be used to identify the steps needed in a process. An

open brainstorming session is used to name the actions required in

completing a stated goal. The resulting tree diagram is a pictorial display

of the process. This can be particularly helpful in developing new training

programs, because the steps identified by the tree diagram can then be

assigned and timelines can be established. The combined information will

then form a GANT chart showing the entire process in a series of timelines.

This approach to project management makes the process easier and more

efficient. Project management principles are very important to efficiency

during training development. (Fellers, 1992)

Another project management tool useful in aviation training is the arrow

diagram. It also shows the schedule of activities required to achieve a

goal. It can be used with the tree diagram or other similar tools like the

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) or the Critical Path Method

(CPM.) (Fellers, 1992) Detailed explanations are beyond the scope of this

paper and are readily available in the literature. In an arrow diagram,

arrows indicate the direction of flow of a task and the approximate length

of time required to perform that task.

The matrix diagram is another relationship-displaying tool. It shows the

degree of correlation between two sets of data such as KSAs to be taught

and the training media used to teach them. The matrix diagram simply places

one variable down one axis and the other variable along the other axis.

(Fellers, 1992) The crossing boxes are used to describe the relationship in

terms that describe correlation: Primary, Secondary, Contributor, etc.

||Sim |CBT |Grd |Text |

|Systems||Prim |Con |Sec |

|SOPs |Sec ||Prim |Con |

|Instr.|Prim ||Sec |Con |


|Emergencies|Prim |Prim |Prim |Prim |

|Landings|Prim ||||

This simplification shows the concept. As with the other charts shown in

this paper, proper use will require extensive development and comprehensive

display of the variables.

While the tools are very helpful, it is important to recognize that quality

management uses tools, but is not the result of those tools. Quality

management benefits from quality processes. These processes are the product

of good actions, good decisions, good planning, prudent controls and

teamwork. The goals of the processes should be good problem solving and

continuous improvement. The tools mentioned above contribute to both areas.

Good problem solving also benefits from managerial principles, such as open

communication, non-jeopardy incident reporting, brainstorming, empowerment

and quality teams. Quality teams in aviation training organizations

consists of instructors, managers, evaluators and support personnel. Each

quality team should have a finite charter to oversee the data collection,

data analysis and process improvement in a certain operational area. Each

organization must assign teams according to operational needs. Note that

these quality teams must not match the organizational chart. Participants

will need training in the use of quality management tools and proper team


The TQM tools discussed are only as good as the data displayed by them.

Hence, data collection is critical. The training managers and operational

managers already determined the critical success areas of the organization.

These will require data to show performance. Data should be collected

automatically wherever possible. Training hours come from scheduling

systems and payroll. They are used to show usage rates and efficiency.

Trainee performance is generally still manually recorded by instructors,

evaluators and on written tests, though the technology exists to collect

data directly from simulators, computerized tests, CBT (computer based

training) programs, aircraft and other training devices. Automatic

collection is preferred because it is more efficient and effective. Human

bias is eliminated as a variable.

The data to be collected is also a philosophical issue. Most aviation

training efficiency measures are expressed in terms of course or hours

presented, employees trained or dollars expended per training hour. All of

the data also tends to focus on formal training, when, in fact, most

aviation training occurs outside the formal training programs. Since the

primary job of training is to promote overall learning, the data should

reflect learning (KSAs) in the formal and informal setting.

Once the data has been used to assess current performance, the quality team

can set goals for improvement, implement tactics and track the progress

toward the goals. Goals for improvement should involve benchmarking.

Internal benchmarking will track the performance of similar functions

within the organization. Training programs can be compared to other

training programs; support services to other support services. Competitive

benchmarking compares the training program performance to that of

competitors. Data can be difficult to collect in some cases, but is

generally available through industry groups. The quality team does not have

to know which competitor the data came from, which allows industry groups

to collect and disseminate useful data. Most trade associations conduct and

publish benchmarking surveys.

Quality Management Strategies For Training

The use of proper management techniques, quality teams, quality tools and

benchmarking are the core of quality management. Some quality management

strategies are more specific to training. These include focusing on

performance, training analysis, training design, training objective

evaluation, training assessment, just-in-time (JIT) training and structured

OJT (on the job training).

Focusing on performance:

Aviation training managers must know what training can and cannot do.

Training is designed to modify behavior through the teaching of KSAs. It

can increase KSAs, changing what individuals know how to do and are able to

do. The training organization cannot improve the means to do the task or

motivate the aviation specialists. Training managers must focus on their

task of increasing KSAs. This should constantly be verified via good

feedback processes. (Carr, 1992)

Training analysis:

The need for a good analysis was discussed in a previous section. Though

most training departments understand the need for good training analysis,

few have the resources or the skills to conduct one properly. The aviation

training analyst must understand aviation training and analysis work. The

process usually involves the in-house trainers and an outsourced analyst or

consultant. Various barriers to communication can cause problems in this

process. Participants must conduct the analysis with openness and candor.

Teamwork training is recommended. (Carr, 1992)

Training design:

A similar dilemma exists in the next step of training design. Most aviation

training organizations assign the task of course development to a technical

specialist, usually one of the instructors. This person understands the

KSAs required, but typically has no formal experience or education in

instructional design. Instructional design requires specialized knowledge

in learning theory and application. Professional instructional designers

should work together with subject matter experts during the training design

phase. (Carr, 1992)

Training objective evaluation:

Training objectives must relate back to the KSAs, must be stated in detail,

must be measurable, and must be realistic. This training objective

evaluation may be conducted through formal tests, performance measurement,

simulation, trainee attitudes, and observation. (Mitchell, 1987)

Training assessment:

Since training is designed to increase KSAs and to change behavior, we must

be able to measure these. This assessment should take place throughout the

training program, not just at the completion of the training. Trainees and

instructors should receive constant feedback. Many assessment tools exist

and they are covered well in the training literature. The details are

beyond the scope of this paper. The important elements of assessment in

terms of quality management are that they are done, are communicated, are

analyzed and are acted upon. (Mitchell, 1987)

Just-in-time (JIT) training:

The longer the delay between training and use, the less effective the

training will be. This concept is not unlike just-in-time inventory

management in other industries. The KSAs learned are similar to inventories

and are perishable if not used soon after acquisition. Similarly to

inventory stocking costs, the period between training and use represents an

opportunity cost, because the organization has spent the resources before

they were required to be spent. The time value of money applies. Hence, it

is recommended that aviation training be scheduled just before the

applicable KSAs are needed by operations. (Carr, 1992)

Structured OJT:

On the job training (OJT) is by far the most common form of training in the

aviation industry. We tend to think of training in terms of classroom or

training device hours. In fact, most safety related training for pilots,

technicians, dispatchers and ground personnel occur on the job. OJT can be

very effective and terms of performance and cost. Unfortunately, most

aviation OJT is not conducted in a structured manner. Structured OJT

requires prior planning, training for supervisors and instructional design.

In short, structured OJT requires many of the same formal processes that

any training program deserves. Analysis, design, evaluation and assessment

all apply to structured OJT. (Carr, 1992)

The Quality Training Culture

TQM is a culture change. It requires total support and total acceptance to

be optimally effective. The quality training culture must produce superb

training programs and it must do so within the limited resources governed

by economics.

Training for TQM:

Quality management requires a permanent, ongoing training effort. (Stein,

1994) The KSAs to be trained are those required to gain and maintain

control over quality processes. Two obstacles must be overcome: fear and

the “not invented here” syndrome. The initial training effort should

address both. The training staff should be involved in the process. Many

organizations designate one current staff member as the “quality management

trainer.” Outsourced training is, however, almost always recommended.

(Capezio, 1993)

Training wastes:

Training efficiency is important in aviation. Device usage and human

resource expenses are very high. Training wastes might include the teaching

of unneeded KSAs, unused device time, excess waiting time, unneeded travel

or reliance on outdated technology. Training wastes should be identified by

quality management analysis and they should be eliminated. This may also

require a culture change as the training staff adjusts to new ways of

delivering their services. (Stein, 1994)

Economical training:

Most aviation training is measured economically in terms of hours and

dollars (resources used). The preferred economics of training maximize the

performance improvement for its expenditures, while satisfying the

regulatory authorities. The strategic and scientific approach discussed as

quality management for aviation training is the best way to achieve this.

(Carr, 1992)

The training department mission:

The aviation training department should develop and maintain an overall

training strategy, identify training to meet this strategy, identify KSAs

to be trained, match the training programs to strategic and tactical needs

by developing the courses, and deliver the training. The department should

also complete the feedback loop through the assessment methods discussed

earlier. (Carr, 1992) These activities go well beyond the usual aviation

training department mission, which only states that “…we deliver the best

training programs possible at industry-competitive costs.”


Quality management in aviation training requires that training managers

keep the processes simple, stay focused on critical areas, strive for

continuous, measured improvement, and align the philosophies, policies,

procedures and practices in the company.

Most training managers are technical specialists, not statisticians or even

professional managers. The quality management and operational processes

must be kept simple to be usable. Most data collection should be automatic

and non-intrusive. Most data analysis should also be automated or

centralized. Quality management does not have to be complicated. The tools

and concepts discussed are truly just good management. They are applied by

few aviation training organizations, however.

The goals of improvement must stay focused on the critical success areas of

the organizations. Most critical success areas will be some expression of

efficiency or effectiveness.

The training manager should never be satisfied with the status quo. Setting

higher, yet achievable, goals will motivate and stimulate the organization.

There has been much discussion in the human factors and aviation safety

literature about the alignment of philosophies, policies, procedures and

practices. None of these four layers of operational guidelines should

conflict with another. Conflicts cause confusion, loss of training

effectiveness and safety hazards. The training department, through the

proper analysis and data, is the front line of defense against these

conflicts. This should be kept as a central theme of aviation training’s

quality management efforts.


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