The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule on the training of commercial air carrier pilots.
The final rule stems in part from the crash of Colgan Air 3407 in February 2009 near Buffalo, NY, and addresses a Congressional mandate in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 to ensure enhanced pilot training. This rule is one of several rulemakings required by the Act, including the requirements to prevent pilot fatigue that were finalized in December 2011, and the increased qualification requirements for first officers who fly U.S. passenger and cargo planes that were issued in July 2013.
The final rule requires:
- ground and flight training that enables pilots to prevent and recover from aircraft stalls and upsets. These new training standards will impact future simulator standards as well;
- air carriers to use data to track remedial training for pilots with performance deficiencies, such as failing a proficiency check or unsatisfactory performance during flight training;
- training for more effective pilot monitoring;
- enhanced runway safety procedures; and
- expanded crosswind training, including training for wind gusts.
In addition, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is inviting the nation’s commercial aviation safety leaders to Washington, D.C. on November 21, to discuss additional voluntary steps that can be taken to further boost safety during airline operations, including pilot training.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said:
“Today’s rule is a significant advancement for aviation safety and U.S. pilot training. One of my first meetings as Transportation Secretary was with the Colgan Flight 3407 families, and today, I am proud to announce that with their help, the FAA has now added improved pilot training to its many other efforts to strengthen aviation safety.”
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said:
“This pivotal rule will give our nation’s pilots the most advanced training available. While the rule marks a major step toward addressing the greatest known risk areas in pilot training, I’m also calling on the commercial aviation industry to continue to move forward with voluntary initiatives to make air carrier training programs as robust as possible.”
The FAA proposed to revise the training rules for pilots in 2009, one month prior to the Colgan Flight 3407 accident. The FAA issued a supplemental proposal on May 20, 2011, to address many of the NTSB’s recommendations resulting from the accident, and incorporate congressional mandates for stick pusher, stall recovery and remedial training. A stick pusher is a safety system that applies downward elevator pressure to prevent an airplane from exceeding a predetermined angle of attack in order to avoid, identify, or assist in the recovery of a stall.