The European Air Transport Training 2013 (EATT13) is a EDA flying event that allows the transport aircraft community to train together in an international environment. Organised for the second time this year in close cooperation with the European Air Transport Command and hosted by Spain, 350 participants from eight nations with twelve aircraft will gather in Zaragoza from 9 to 21 June 2013. Laurent Donnet, EDA Assistant Capability Manager Manœuvre and Deputy Exercise Director explains the aim of the flying event and how the preparations are progressing.
1) Laurent, what is the aim of the European Air Transport Training?
The allied fighter community has been extensively flying multinational training programmes for the last decades, with the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) and the Flag exercises being examples. Although some transport aircraft are embedded in those events, they are primarily fighter centric. Airlift training to date is very much a national responsibility while operating together becomes the rule. Therefore the aim of these EATT events is to have a dedicated framework for European air transport operators to increase the opportunity to train together but also to harmonise the training itself and exchange best practices amongst the different air forces, and this in the areas of training but also operations.
The advantage of EATT is that the training is tailored to the participant’s requests. No disciplines or events are imposed to the crews and the entire flying programme is scheduled in such a way that each participating crew will get the specific training it needs. This flexibility makes EATT probably so attractive.
2) This is the second time, the flying event is organised. What is different from last year?
The amount of participants and the number of sorties that will be flown! The location is the same (Zaragoza AB, Spain) and so is the organising structure, but where last year we had six nations and eight aircraft participating, we have eight nations and twelve aircraft this year. Last year we had fourteen sorties a day, this year twenty-two. In a way we are a victim of our success. Looking at the detachment size it goes from 250 to 350 people. In order to cope with this massive increase in numbers we will organise two events as from next year. One will again be in Spain, the other one in Bulgaria.
3) Around six weeks before the event starts. What are the last preparations? What do you focus on now?
The focus is now on fine-tuning the entire EATT flow and ensure the crews will get the training they requested. Therefore the focus is on the flying schedule and the support that is needed around it to make it happen. This being said, the core planning team of EATT is structured in such a way that different panels (Ops, Intelligence, maintenance, media & communication, etc.) take care of specific issues and hence focusses on their area. There are so many things to take care of six weeks before such an event that all people involved are pretty busy with it. Since we don’t have any permanent structure to manage EATT, we’re using the goodwill of a lot of experts in different organisations and structures like the EATC, EAG and JAPCC but also from the national staffs and units. Last but not least, since as you mentioned this is the second edition of EATT we have a supplementary thing to take care of and that is the pressure on our shoulders to deliver an event at least as good as last year’s. This is definitely a big challenge to take.