...Mechanic Training, FAA Need Improvement...

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The NTSB issued a list of 21 safety recommendations directed at the FAA. The FAA should specify that all critical flight systems must pass a functional check before they are signed off, the board said. Procedures for on-the-job training of mechanics need to be beefed up and clarified. Maintenance workers must scrupulously follow proper procedures -- if they had done so, the improperly rigged elevator would have been caught and corrected, the safety board said. The NTSB also found that the FAA was well aware of serious deficiencies in Air Midwest's maintenance-training program but failed to deal with them. For its part, the FAA notified the mechanics who worked on the plane that they didn't violate any federal regulations, The Charlotte Observer reported. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) on Thursday endorsed the NTSB findings, noting that the board "clearly confirmed that the Flight 5481 pilots did their jobs correctly." In a news release, ALPA said, "Taken together, the board's recommendations constitute an exhaustive overhaul of Part 121 air carrier maintenance programs, including Air Midwest's. ... Clearly, the time is right for government and industry to move forward together to address these issues."