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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FAA Expands Commercial Pilot Training Requirements

Woodrow Bellamy III

Commercial airline pilots will be required to undergo more realistic and expanded flight simulator training under the most significant revision to U.S. aviation safety regulations in 25 years, the FAA said Tuesday. 
 
 
[Photo, courtesy of FAA.]
 
The new training requirements focus on giving pilots more instruction on flight hazards such as recovering from aircraft stalls and upsets. There are also new provisions to expand training for more effective pilot monitoring and expanded crosswind training, including preparing pilots for flying within wind gusts. 
 
The agency has estimated that the rule changes will cost airlines between $274 and $354 million, while saving $689 million by preventing accidents and deaths. 
 
“Today’s rule is a significant advancement for aviation safety and U.S. pilot training,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
 
In 2010 Congress mandated some of the provisions under the new rules as the result of the Colgan Air flight 3407 crash. This fatal accident near Buffalo killed 50 passengers after a pilot misunderstood a cockpit warning message and conducted a series of maneuvers that resulted in a stall and plummeted the aircraft into a house. 
 
Air carriers will now be required to track "remedial training" for pilots that have observed performance deficiencies. Pilots will also have to learn more advanced runway safety procedures and new training standards will be required for manufacturers of future flight simulators. 
 
"This pivotal rule will give our nation’s pilots the most advanced training available,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “While the rule marks a major step toward addressing the greatest known risk areas in pilot training, I’m also calling on the commercial aviation industry to continue to move forward with voluntary initiatives to make air carrier training programs as robust as possible.”
 
The FAA is allowing airlines five years to comply with the new training provisions.  
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