The Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with guidance. "Expanded use will not happen overnight," says the FAA. "The process will vary among airlines, but the agency expects airlines to allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of 2013."
In addition, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is inviting the nation’s commercial aviation safety leaders to Washington, D.C. on November 21, to discuss additional voluntary steps that can be taken to further boost safety during airline operations, including pilot training.
“Today’s rule is a significant advancement for aviation safety and U.S. pilot training,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “One of my first meetings as Transportation Secretary was with the Colgan Flight 3407 families, and today, I am proud to announce that with their help, the FAA has now added improved pilot training to its many other efforts to strengthen aviation safety.”
The final rule stems in part from the tragic crash of Colgan Air 3407 in February 2009, and addresses a Congressional mandate in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 to ensure enhanced pilot training. The rule is one of several rulemakings required by the Act, including the requirements to prevent pilot fatigue that were finalized in December 2011, and the increased qualification requirements for first officers who fly U.S. passenger and cargo planes that were issued in July 2013.
- ground and flight training that enables pilots to prevent and recover from aircraft stalls and upsets. These new training standards will impact future simulator standards as well;
- air carriers to use data to track remedial training for pilots with performance deficiencies, such as failing a proficiency check or unsatisfactory performance during flight training;
- training for more effective pilot monitoring;
- enhanced runway safety procedures; and
- expanded crosswind training, including training for wind gusts.
The FAA is focusing on pilot training for events that, although rare, are often catastrophic. Focusing on these events will provide the greatest safety benefit to the flying public. The recent rule to boost pilot qualifications for first officers has raised the baseline knowledge and skill set of pilots entering air carrier operations. Many air carriers have also voluntarily begun developing safety management systems (SMS), which will help air carriers identify and mitigate risks unique to their own operating environments.
On Aug. 6, 2012, the FAA issued Advisory Circular (AC) Stall and Stick Pusher Training to provide best practices and guidance for training, testing, and checking for pilots to ensure correct and consistent responses to unexpected stall events and stick pusher activations.