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FAA proposes new rules for commercial pilot training

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The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has proposed a set of rules for commercial pilot training, designed to ‘enhance the professional development of pilots’ and limit pilot error.

The new rulemaking has been posted to the Federal Register and is now open for a 90 day comment period.

The new rules would require new-hire pilots in airline operations to have an opportunity to observe flight operations to become familiar with procedures before serving as a flightcrew member in operations, as well as revisions in the curriculum and integrating leadership and command ‘mentoring’ training for all pilots in command. The aim is to ‘make certain that (pilots) adhere to standard procedures and prevent behavior which could lead to pilot errors.’

As part of the mentoring training, each air carrier would be required to establish a committee responsible for developing, administering, and overseeing formal pilot mentoring programmes. The FAA defines a committee as consisting of at least one manager and one pilot that would meet on a regular basis.

The FAA explains the reason behind the proposed rule as an effort to ‘mitigate incidents of unprofessional pilot behavior which would reduce pilot errors that can lead to a catastrophic event.’

Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator, explains, “Pilots have an enormous responsibility for the safety of their passengers and crew. We have some of the best pilots in the world and should take full advantage of our pilot’s wealth of experience to raise professional standards and cockpit discipline.” According to the FAA, the rule represents thorough analysis of recent changes to pilot certifications and qualifications to serve as pilot-in-command for air carriers, as well as the work of three committees: the Flight Crewmember Mentoring, Leadership, and Professional Development Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), the Flightcrew Member Training Hours Requirement Review ARC, and the Air Carrier Safety and Pilot Training ARC.

The proposal follows on from the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administrative Extension Act of 2010, which, among other things, added a requirement of 1,500 hours of flight time to the ATP certificate, measures which were implemented following the Colgan Air Flight 3407 accident in 2009.

The full rulemaking proposal can be found here.