SAFE Training Recommendations Released

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Pilots need a better grasp of so-called "higher-order pilot skills" to reduce the accident rate and improve the appeal of flying as a vocation and as recreation, according to the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE). The organization is proposing six projects (PDF) aimed at working toward those goals. The recommendations result from a two-day symposium on flight training reform involving 148 industry and government leaders in Atlanta in early May. In a nutshell, the symposium determined private flight training is stuck in an instructional time warp in which flight maneuvers and rote memorization dominate the lessons. Airlines, the military and some independent flight schools are adopting new training regimes that emphasize risk management, scenario-based training and other pilot-centric methods, but the symposium agreed that most flight schools have been slow to embrace the new training strategies. SAFE says the six projects proposed by those who summarized the symposium's input and activities can be implemented without onerous regulatory or administrative oversight.

SAFE says there needs to be a study into the root causes of fatal accidents with an eye to remedying them. It also wants instructor and pilot training to emphasize those higher-order pilot skills that may help cut the accident rate. The FAA's role in that would be to alter its flight test doctrine to include scenario-based testing, risk management and other advanced skills that would be taught by the refreshed flight schools through revamped curricula and training methods. It's also looking for recognition of the success of students and instructors through an FAA-sponsored pilot proficiency program and through voluntary accreditation programs for instructors. SAFE is looking for responses on the proposals from the FAA and industry representatives by Sept. 30.

Related Content:
AVweb was at the SAFE Symposium in May, and it's been on our minds ever since. Check out this previous coverage for more.