Most people have heard of EBT, a lot know they should migrate to it, but perhaps a small minority know how and why! This blog will give you a brief introduction to the world of Evidence-based training and why it’s something we should all be talking about.

So what is EBT all about then?

Pilots are subject to rigorous training as testing throughout their careers. Every airline pilot has to demonstrate his/her competence every six months but is the time (and money) spent in training used to the best effect?

The current requirements for training and checking are based on the risks faced by airline pilots 50 years ago. Early generation jet aircraft were physically and mentally demanding to fly. An engine failure might have needed all of a pilot’s strength to keep the aircraft under control with balanced inputs of rudder and aileron. Finding the airport could have meant reliance on a single needle giving a bearing towards a radio beacon, with reliability of the signal depending on atmospheric interference, the time of day and whether the aircraft was in level flight. No wonder engine failures and these ‘non-precision’ approaches had to be practiced regularly.

The risks faced in modern aircraft are very different. When accidents do occur the causes are always complex and involve layers of technical, operational and human-factors issues. ‘Evidence Based Training’ (EBT) has been developed to match recurrent pilot training to the real risks of operating sophisticated aircraft in today’s demanding operational environment.

The basis for EBT is extensive research into 20 years of flight operations. A data analysis team reviewed flight recorder data from 3 million flights, observation data from 10,000 flight observations and reports from 3000 accidents and incidents. EBT training programmes will use this data to prioritise training that meets the real needs of the pilots and the airline and so make better use of the training budget.

EASA are developing regulations for EBT that will be published using a phased approach over the coming months and years. Implementing EBT isn’t just about changing what we train but also how we train. Instructors will need new skills and there will be opportunities to use different techniques and different devices to deliver better pilot training. Implementation of EBT in an airline should also follow a phased approach, but while implementation will be a multi-year project airlines will see the benefits quickly, not just in better training but also in reduced training costs.

Ok this sounds good - so what’s next?


Let us guide you with some “light” reading to get you started:

ED Decision 2015/027/R Implementation of evidence-based training (EBT) within the European regulatory framework

This includes:

  • Annex I to ED decision 2015/027/R: GM1 ORO.FC.230 (a); (b); (f). Recurrent training and checking to Part-ORO – Issue 2, Amendment 4 (); and
  • Explanatory Note to the ED Decision 2015/027/R.
  • ICAO Doc 9995 AN/497 Manual of Evidence-based Training First Edition – 2013.

ToR RMT.0696 Implementation of Evidence-Based Training within the European regulatory framework

ToR (+ Concept Paper) RMT.0599 Evidence-based and competency-based training

Need some help with your airline’s safety, training or economic case for EBT? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

About the author: Andrew McKechnie is an expert in Air Operations, Pilot Training and Management Systems for Aviation. After spending 17 years as a pilot for British Airways (First Officer, Captain and Training Captain), he worked at the UK Civil Aviation Authority and was then recruited to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as Standardisation Team Leader. In 2015 he established McKechnie Aviation to provide consultancy and training services. Visit his website at