Babbitt Hits Lack Of Cockpit Professionalism


FAA administrator Randy Babbitt spoke last week at a meeting of the International Aviation Club, calling for improved standards in the cockpit, making examples of pilots who demonstrated poor professionalism, and punctuating it with the statement, “Fly right or don’t fly at all.” Babbitt cited Flight 188’s overshoot of MSP and the crash of Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., as examples, citing unprofessional behavior in the cockpit. Specific to Flight 188, Babbitt said in part, “It doesn’t matter much whether they were using their laptops, or re-enacting the Lincoln-Douglas debates,” adding “there is no substitute for situational awareness.” Speaking of the pilots of Flight 3407, Babbitt said “the one thing those two were supposed to do is the one thing they didn’t: pay attention.” Babbitt did not mention last month’s other major oops — Flight 60, the loaded 767 that landed on an active taxiway at Atlanta Hartsfield — but said that when it comes to safety, “‘close enough’ is never good enough.” Babbitt then used the platform to push for cooperation and partnership with regard to rapid implementation of NextGen air traffic control technology and hardware.

“We’ve already begun transitioning to NextGen with the introduction of performance-based navigation, and with the acquisition phase of ADS-B,” Babbitt said, and operational improvements will be ongoing through 2018. The hardest part, he said, is commitment, focus, and continued harmony between players here and abroad. Click here for the full text of the administrator’s speech.