Airline and charter pilots may be in for more stick and rudder time assuming a new proposed advisory circular makes it through the 30-day comment period. The FAA has issued a draft of the AC on Flightpath Management and it includes a host of measures the agency wants operators to include in training and operations to ensure pilots can get from A to B safely. The AC isn’t prescriptive. Rather, it “provides guidance and recommended practices for operators to implement operational procedures and training for the planning, execution, and assurance of the guidance and control of aircraft trajectory and energy.” Much of the document addresses monitoring and tweaking the automatic systems that do most of the work these days but there’s a big section on ensuring pilots literally keep their hands in when doing their jobs.
The AC suggests some operators demand pilots rely too much on the magic boxes and it wants them to make sure they remain current and proficient in hand flying the aircraft. In so many words, the AC says pilots may not be getting enough stick time and that “may contribute to a gap between proficiency in MFO and the ability of pilots to perform manual operations when various situations require immediate manual control,” and that operators “should ensure there are appropriate opportunities for pilots to exercise manual flying skills during line operations.”