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US safety board releases raft of recommendations post-Pinnacle

The US National Transportation Safety Board last week called on the Federal Aviation Administration to implement 11 safety recommendations following the Pinnacle Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 crash on 14 October 2004.

In the accident, two pilots on a repositioning flight stalled their aircraft at 41,000ft (12,500m) and could not restart the engines after a dual flame-out and core lock. The aircraft crashed, killing both pilots.

The NTSB determined the probable cause to be the pilots' "unprofessional behaviour, deviation from standard operating procedures, and poor airmanship, which resulted in an in-flight emergency from which they were unable to recover, in part because of the pilots' inadequate training".

Corrective actions the NTSB expects the FAA to take include:

  •  Enhancing the training syllabuses for pilots conducting high altitude operations in regional jet aircraft
  • requiring air carriers to provide their pilots with opportunities to practise and recover from high altitude stall recovery techniques
  • convening a multi-disciplinary panel of operational, training and human factors specialists to study methods to improve flightcrew familiarity with and response to stick pusher systems and, if needed, establishing training requirements
  • verifying that all Bombardier regional jet operators incorporate guidance in their double-engine failure checklist that clearly states the airspeeds required during the procedure and requiring the operators to give pilots simulator training on executing this checklist
  • requiring Part 121 regional air carriers to provide specific guidance on expectations for professional conduct for pilots who operate non-revenue flights
  • reviewing flight data recorder information from non-revenue flights to verify that the flights are being conducted according to standard operating procedures
  • working with pilot associations to develop a programme of education for airline pilots that addresses professional standards and their role in ensuring safety of flight
  • requiring that all airlines incorporate periodic line operations safety audit observations and methods to address and correct findings resulting from these observations
  • requiring that all Part 121 operators establish Safety Management System programmes 
  • "strongly encouraging" and assisting all Part 121 regional air carriers to implement an approved aviation safety action programme and an approved flight operational quality assurance programme.

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