Professional Pilot Occupational Standard Development

Due to the importance of Professional Pilots to the aviation transportation system, the industry asked the Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace (CCAA) to create an Occupational Standard for Professional Pilots. This standard was developed and validated with the support of Human Resources and Social Development Canada and input from focus groups made up of representatives from aviation consisting of all sectors of air operations.

The responsibilities of Professional Pilots include:

  • Maintaining knowledge and skills in compliance with the licensing privileges listed in the Canadian Aviation Regulations.
  • Communicating operational and safety related issues.
  • Supervising aircraft support operations.
  • Adhering to plans and policies. Adhering to regulatory requirements and industry standards.
  • Prioritizing operational issues.
  • Scheduling in accordance with company safety management systems.
  • Monitoring conformance and compliance to regulations, standards and policies.

Professional Pilots are familiar with the technical requirements associated with their occupation regardless of the type of air operation. They must have extensive knowledge of industry requirements, standards, regulations and legislation. Professional Pilots must meet Transport Canada licensing requirements. (An appendix for Professional / Educational Requirements for Professional Pilots is a requirement of this project.)

Professional Pilots must have detailed knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of other occupational standards such as the Quality Systems Auditors in order to meet their responsibilities.

Development and Structure of Occupational Standard

Supporting Knowledge & Skills

While there is a federal licensing standard for commercial pilots, there is occupational knowledge and skills that needed to be researched, identified and catalogued in order for a commercial pilot to be recognized as a professional pilot. Traditionally On the Job Experience (OJE) was how pilots acquired the essential knowledge and skills but this method is no longer sustainable with the introduction of Safety Management Systems and the requirement for all aviation operators to exercise due diligence by providing appropriate training support for new employees and maintaining ongoing support that is effective and measurable.


Knowledge refers to the understanding of information required to perform a task. It is knowledge that is learned and known by a professional pilot. It includes knowledge of applicable Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and licensing standards, Company specific safety management systems and quality system processes, practices and procedures.


Attaining and maintaining of skills to meet federal licensing standards as well as specific operational and vocational skills required for operational and geographic necessity.

Project Deliverables

The following deliverables were developed as benefits to Canada’s aviation and aerospace industry:

  • Report on Essential Skills profile for the Professional Pilot.
  • Report on Occupational analysis for Professional Pilot, including task, subtasks, knowledge, abilities, trends, tools and equipment.
  • Final Occupational Standard with Essential Skill.
  • A logbook for the occupation.