The US FAA is co-opting the American airline industry to do some brainstorming on the evident shortcomings in pilot performance, and then to come up with ideas for how training should be updated to improve it.
If you glance through this blog, you will find that eight out of ten of the items in it argue how badly a training update is needed. The operational evidence is undeniable.
The next step, according to the FAA plan, is for the industry, through its Air Carrier Training Steering Group, to introduce the newly defined training best practice voluntarily.
It’s a good idea, because this concept of pressing the industry to come up with its own answers – rather than imposing new training regulations – has the potential to regenerate front-line training much more quickly – and then to remain more flexible and more relevant in a world of fast-changing technology and operational practice.
Voluntary best practice in a unified marketplace like the USA, while not perfect, works pretty well. It imposes peer pressure on the laggards, and all operators are permanently aware that the FAA’s baleful eye will be watching for evidence of action – or lack of it.
Such a system would be more difficult to operate in a nominally unified but actually fragmented environment like the European Union, but it is honestly the way of the future, and operators will come to realise it if they don’t already.
Responsible self-regulation can be a win-win, and is infinitely preferable to slow, heavy-handed, inflexible imposed regulation.