Safety First with Dangerous Goods: How to Implement CBTA in Your Training

According to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), over 88% of all chartered plane crashes and over 50% of commercial airline crashes can be attributed to pilot error. At first glance, these numbers appear incredibly high, however, when considering the overall decline in air accidents over the last fifteen years, the overall trend is actually improving. Why? To a large extent thanks to greater consideration being given to a pilot’s competencies and not just their proficiency. That is why from 1 January 2023 ICAO introduced changes to the Dangerous Goods training program, making it mandatory to follow a CBTA approach.

It is clear that Competency-Based Training Assessments (CBTAs) are playing an ever-increasing role in ICAO compliant flight training courses such as ours. But what are CBTA programs and how are we implementing them? To best answer these questions, let’s first take a look at the “C” in “CBTA” to “get us off the ground”:

The “C” in CBTA” - Competency

What are competencies? Pilot core competencies are defined by ICAO Doc 9995 as a standard set of skills and abilities that a pilot should possess to ensure safe, efficient, and comfortable flight operation. Being a pilot is a responsibility for people’s lives and operating aircraft, that is why these technical and non-technical competencies should be mastered to the highest level and then deeply assessed. ICAO identify 8 core competencies: 


ICAO 8 Core Competencies


What is CBTA?

The 8 core competencies can be assessed using a range of “behavioral indicators”. But is that actually the case? Let’s look at how traditional training compares with competency-based training to see how they go about assessing a trainee’s competencies:   

Traditional Training versus Competency-Based Training Programs

We can see that Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) is an approach to training that assesses individuals based on their demonstrated ability to perform specific tasks and meet the desired performance outcomes that are relevant to the jobs they will be doing. A common criticism of traditional training meanwhile, is that it addresses the proficiency of a pilot, but unlike CBTA, does not necessarily enable individuals to reach their highest level of operational capability in both foreseeable and unforeseeable scenarios.

How Evionica Implements CBTA in Dangerous Goods

To implement CBTA effectively, we developed our new Dangerous Goods course in accordance with the core CBTA principles. In our new Dangerous Goods (No Carry) course, we implemented CBTA following the ADDIE model:

ADDIE model and the ICAO CBTA

Analysing who will be trained; where they will be trained (and how); what tasks and functions the trainees actually require, and which competencies are necessary for the trainee to carry out their functions with safety, efficiency and effectiveness.
Designing the course robustly. Finding answers to the question: “how can we best design a course where all required competencies are measured, demonstrated, and fully ICAO compliant?”.
The Development phase focused on providing the necessary tools and activities to: monitor trainee progress; gain timely and continuous feedback on trainee performance; diagnose deficiencies in a trainee’s competencies and create formative and summative assessments, ensuring that theoretical knowledge has been transferred successfully and the trainees have achieved the competencies required to perform the assigned functions. What was the ultimate goal of the Development phase? To enhance the competencies of the trainees, providing the tools to improve flight safety.
The Implementation of the course required significant testing for any glitches, inaccuracies and “fat fingers” that may occur during the development phase. After giving the course the “magnifying glass” treatment, we finally released the course with assessments that are measurable, trackable, learner-focused and competency-based. The course fully “supports the employer with keeping and recording training and assessments” through our Learning Management System (LMS), So, is that the end? Have we “pressed launch” and ridden off into the sunset? Of course not.  
Evaluation of the course is ongoing. We actively invite feedback from our users: their experience with the course, are there any new tasks relevant to Dangerous Goods that may need addressing in the future; are there any changes to Dangerous Goods regulations that may require adding to our existing course? Evaluation is a never-ending process to ensure that improvement is continuous.


Dangerous Goods – No Carry (CBTA in action

Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
Dangerous Goods - No Carry Course
LMS Course Certificate Dangerous Goods


aviation together

Continuous improvement is one of the cornerstones of CBTA – it applies both to trainees and the programs that are used to train them.  At Evionica, we are always exploring ways in which we can improve and how we can improve the training experience. Let us know how you use Competency-based Training Assessments in your courses, and let’s improve aviation together! 

Theoretical Flight Training