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FAA issues rule to enhance commercial pilot training with focus on stalls, upsets and crosswind
7 November 2013
Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, NY, killing 50 (photo: NTSB)

Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, NY, killing 50 (photo: NTSB)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule that will significantly advance the way U.S. commercial air carrier pilots are trained.

The final rule stems in part from the fatal accident of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in February 2009 and requires:

  • ground and flight training that enables pilots to prevent and recover from aircraft stalls and upsets;
  • 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.

Air carriers will have five years to comply with the rule’s new pilot training provisions, which will allow time for the necessary software updates to be made in flight simulation technology. The cost of the rule to the aviation industry is estimated to be $274.1 to $353.7 million. The estimated benefit is nearly double the cost at $689.2 million.

The NTSB stated that the rule addresses many NTSB safety recommendations. Among the recommendations addressed in the rule is the oldest open aviation recommendation issued by the NTSB, a 1993 recommendation that asks for simulator training for pilots in using TCAS. Others recommendations addressed by the rule include training in adverse attitudes, which stemmed from an accident in Colorado Springs in 1991 and was reiterated in numerous accident investigations thereafter.

The rule addresses recommendations for remedial training for pilots with performance problems, first issued in 2005 from a cargo aircraft accident in Memphis, and problems with recognizing and recovering from aerodynamic stalls, identified in the Colgan crash and many other accidents. In addition, it also deals with the issue of teaching and practicing pilot monitoring skills, which was addressed in 2007 after a crash in Pueblo, Colo., and remains the active subject of recent accident investigations

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