New FAA Flight Training Rules Proposed – How Will They Affect You?

CFI and student pilot check oil on Cessna 172

Significant flight training rules are headed your way - photo: Brandon Farris

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wednesday proposed what an administrator called “the most significant” policy changes for flight training in twenty years. The proposed rules would “contribute significantly to reducing aviation accidents,” according to the article, “FAA proposes major revamp of airline pilot training,” on CNN.com.

According to the FAA, there were 178 accidents from 1988 to 2009 that might have been avoided with better training. The FAA believes these accidents were the result of inadequate manuals, training standards, operating procedures, and pilot training. A total of 492 people were killed, 196 suffered severe injuries, and 615 received minor injuries in the subject accidents.

The new rules would require those being tested to prove their skills in flying simulators. In addition, ground-based dispatchers, flight attendants, and flight crews will learn how to work as a team on responding to emergencies. The new rules will mean new training procedures for flight schools.

A rule similar to the new rule was first proposed in January 2009. The changes to that rule came one month after Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing 50. The public became more aware of the disparity in the amount of experience between airline captains who must hold an Airline Transport Pilot license and pilots who fly as first officers who may have only earned a Commercial Pilot license.

According to a FlightGlobal.com article, the proposed rules are contained in a 671 page document as an update to the rule proposed in 2009. Comments by the National Transportation Safety Board were also considered, as well as comments from the public and legislation passed by Congress.

New rules for pilot training would ensure that the first officer would have as much training as the captain, and there is some discussion of training both together as a team in pilot schools.

“It’s clear to us in looking at (the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash) that there are things we should be doing now,” FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt explained in the CNN article why the rules were proposed. “My goal is to make sure that the entire industry – from large commercial carriers to smaller, regional operators – is meeting our safety standard.”

As for what the new rules will mean as far as safety for the public, Mark Rosenker, a CBS News aviation safety expert and a former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman, said on a CBS article if the rules had existed before the Colgan crash, many lives could have been spared. The article noted the crash was blamed partially on faulty pilot training.

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