U.S. FAA revises proposal to enhance airline training programs

May 11, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a substantial and wide-ranging overhaul of air carrier crew training. The supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) addresses comments from the January 2009 proposal and provisions laid out in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010.

Responding to a congressional mandate, the proposed requirements reflect a significant shift in training philosophy designed to produce qualified and capable crewmembers and dispatchers ready to face current and future aviation challenges.

Under this proposal, flight crews would have to demonstrate, not just learn, critical skills in “real-world” training scenarios. Pilots would be required to train as a complete flight crew, coordinate their actions through Crew Resource Management, and fly scenarios based on actual events. Dispatchers would have enhanced training and would be required to apply that knowledge in today’s complex operating environment.

The revised proposal would require ground and flight training to teach pilots how to recognize and recover from stalls and aircraft upsets. The proposal also would require remedial training for pilots with performance deficiencies such as failing a proficiency test or check, or unsatisfactory performance during flight training or a simulator course.

The proposal would address how air carriers may modify training programs for aircraft with similar flight handling characteristics. It also reorganizes and revises the qualification, training, and evaluation requirements for all crewmembers and dispatchers.

Like the original proposal, the supplemental notice would require the use of pilot flight simulation training devices. Pilots also would have to complete special hazard training in addition to practicing the use of crew resource management skills.

The supplemental proposal also contains requirements derived from voluntary FAA-approved alternative training regimens such as Advanced Qualification Programs (AQP). These include:

  • crew-oriented, scenario-based training;
  • demonstration of satisfactory skill on each task to determine necessary job performance training hours;
  • a continuous analysis process that lets the certificate holder validate how effective the qualification and training program is, or where it may need to be changed.
  • The new proposal also clarifies that the proposal’s economic impact on air carriers that conduct training under voluntary, FAA-approved alternative programs, such as AQP, and the time used for flight simulator training, would be minimal.

Flight attendants would be required to complete hands-on emergency drills every 12 months, and the proposal would standardize the training and experience requirements for certain dispatchers and instructors.

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Ukraine: crew allegedly over alcohol limits

March 11, 2010

Two Ukrainian crew members were not allowed to carry out a flight from Simferopol to Kiev because their blood-alcohol concentration was above legal limits.
The Ukraine Ministry of Transport and Communications reported in a news release that the level of alcohol in the flight engineer’s blood was 0.75 pro mil and that of flight attendant 0.57 pro mil, with the maximum legal amount being 0.2 pro mil.
The crew were supposed to operate a Dnieproavia/Donbassaero Yakovlev 42 on March 9, 2010, on flight UDN398 from Simferopol Airport (SIP/UKFF) to Kiev-Borispol Airport (KBP/UKBB).
In a statement, Donbassaero claimed it was unreasonable to subject this crew to an alcohol test at 11:00 because of the time between the test and the intended departure time. Under mandatory rest requirements, the flight could take place no earlier than midday, according to Donbassaero.


Japan: Skymark Airlines reprimanded for overruling captain’s safety concerns

March 10, 2010

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism reprimanded Skymark Airlines for replacing a captain who refused to take off over safety concerns, The Mainichi Daily News reported.

In a press release, the Ministry reported that the captain of Skymark Airlines flight BC017 asked the company’s headquarters on February 5, 2010 to replace the chief cabin attendant who he judged unable to deal with a possible emergency during the flight. The chief cabin attendant reportedly suffered from a cold. The flight was due to depart Tokyo-Haneda Airport (HND/RJTT) on a domestic flight to Fukuoka Airport (FUK/RJFF).

Company officials ordered the captain to accomplish the flight without changing the chief cabin attendant, but he refused to do so. Skymark then ordered another captain on standby to take over the flight and fired the original captain the same day.

Skymark was given a written reprimand by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on March 9, 2010.

Flight BC017 was carried out by a Boeing 737-86N, registered JA737K.


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