FAA Issues Final Pilot Training Rule

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A final rule affecting how airline pilots are trained went into effect on Tuesday, the FAA announced. The rule, which stems mainly from investigations following the Colgan Air crash in 2009, has long been in the works, and recently was delayed by the federal government's shutdown over funding disputes. The rule, which the FAA said will cost the industry up to $354 million to implement, requires new ground, simulator, and flight training to change how pilots address and recover from stalls. "The rule marks a major step toward addressing the greatest known risk areas in pilot training," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "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."

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 FAA said. The new training aims to help pilots to prevent and recover from aircraft stalls and upsets. The new rule also establishes new tracking standards for air carriers to monitor pilot performance and provide remedial training. It also mandates new runway safety procedures and expanded crosswind training, including training for wind gusts. The estimated benefit to the industry is nearly double what it will cost to implement the rule, according to the FAA, at $689 million. The final rule is available online (PDF).