ATM Modernization, Commercial

FAA Program Puts Controllers in Cockpit

By Tish Drake | August 2, 2011
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FAA on Monday re-established its Flight Deck Training program, allowing air traffic controllers to ride in aircraft cockpit with commercial pilots and giving them a greater understanding of pilots' experience and workload. 

The Flight Deck Training program replaces a previous program called Familiarization Training, which was suspended in 2001. FAA said it has worked with the Transportation Security Administration and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) to develop the new program. Controllers will be limited to two training trips in a calendar year, and controllers will not be allowed to fly to the same airport on consecutive flights.

“This program gives our new generation of air traffic controllers a chance to see and hear what the pilot is experiencing so they know exactly what is happening on the other end of the microphone,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “As a pilot, I think this important training will give controllers a richer picture of the airspace system.”

The agency said the Flight Deck Training is being introduced as a pilot program that the FAA will evaluate and monitor over the next six months.

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