Proposed Changes To Pro-Pilot Training

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FAA head Randy Babbitt has called the proposed rule changes rolled out by the FAA on Wednesday "the most significant changes to air carrier training in 20 years." The package of rules, which generally aim to address and correct poor performance in practice, reformat the schedule of training and training techniques, and focus on team-oriented (and even specific route) training, are unlikely to take effect for years. First, the FAA will collect, review and address concerns and consideration from the industry players themselves through comments accepted through July 19, 2011. Expect more pilot-oriented regulatory proposals from the FAA over the next few months.

Next on the agenda, the FAA will take aim on pilot fatigue and qualifications for new hires serving as first officers. We expect to see those before fall. Attention has come to the area of training, fatigue and experience through families of victims lost near Buffalo on Colgan Air Flight 3407, a commuter that crashed two years ago, killing all aboard. The NTSB has found that the captain made improper control inputs in response to the stick shaker and stick pusher after the aircraft's speed was allowed to degrade near stall. The captain's training records show he had failed at least five tests during his career but was never singled out for remedial training by his employer. NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman noted that neither pilot had "recuperative quality sleep" on the night prior to the crash.