New airline pilots would go through professional development and mentoring programs along with enhanced training for captain upgrades, under a proposed rule the FAA developed after several years of working with airlines and others in the industry. The agency announced this week it will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which would open a 90-day comment period. The measure would require air carriers to form committees of managers and pilots to oversee the mentoring programs, which would include new leadership and command training for all pilots pursuing PIC status. New hires would go through familiarization and observation of flight procedures prior to joining flight crews.
The proposal emerged from the aftermath of the 2009 Colgan Air/Continental Connection crash in Buffalo, which killed 50 people. Since then, Congress has directed the FAA to develop rules related to the professional development of airline pilots. The NTSB also has pushed for a number of regulatory changes to pilot training requirements and cockpit operations, recommending that the FAA develop “mentoring, leadership and professional development” programs for pilots. The FAA worked with three Aviation Rulemaking Committees addressing professional development, pilot training and airline safety. “Pilots have an enormous responsibility for the safety of their passengers and crew,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in the announcement. “We have some of the best pilots in the world and should take full advantage of our pilot’s wealth of experience to raise professional standards and cockpit discipline.”