FAA forms steering group to develop voluntary training guidelines for carriers

Washington DC
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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will establish a new steering group comprised of industry and government members to review voluntary actions that carriers can take to improve training for pilots, flight attendants and dispatchers.

The Air Carrier Training Steering Group to be formed early next year will assess recommendations from several aviation rulemaking committees and look at new areas of risk to prioritise these actions, says the FAA. The committee will be comprised of airline safety experts, union representatives, government leaders and other aviation professionals.

The announcement comes after the FAA’s passage of a final rule on 5 November that requires several changes to pilot training procedures, including new training standards to prevent aircraft stalls and upsets and optimised training for pilot monitoring, runway safety and crosswinds. The rule is one of several safety reforms the FAA imposed after the fatal 2009 crash of Colgan Air 3407.

In a meeting today, FAA administrator Michael Huerta asked the aviation industry to identify its top five focus areas for improving training for air carriers.

“Recent FAA rules to increase pilot qualifications and improve training are major steps toward addressing the greatest known risk areas in pilot training,” Administrator Huerta said. “Recommendations by several working groups of aviation experts show that there are additional voluntary initiatives we can take to make air carrier training programs even more robust.”

The group will be based on a model used by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST),with a focus on several areas including runway incursions, turbulence, maintenance, midair collisions and loss of control.

This programme and other factors helped reduce the fatality risk in US commercial aviation by 83% within a decade, the FAA says. CAST is now working on a goal to cut fatality risk in half between 2010 and 2025.