February 4, 2010
By Ian J. Twombly
The FAA this week issued the final report on its call to action following the fatal crash of Colgan Airlines Flight 3407 last February outside Buffalo, N.Y. The release came just days ahead of the NTSB’s determination of pilot error as the primary cause of the accident. But the NTSB’s findings, and subsequently the FAA’s actions, have gone further than the Colgan crash.
The FAA first instituted steps to begin the call to action within weeks after the crash when all signs pointed to obvious pilot error. After numerous meetings with industry participants and upon closer examination of the crash, the FAA issued a final report that contains issues the agency said must be dealt with.
Far from a final declaration of airline training and safety, however, the report is a status update on areas pertinent to the accident, including fatigue, professionalism, mentoring, and most notable for general aviation pilots, training.
In its report, the FAA said quality of training is more important than quantity. Industry participants, “noted the various elements of a generational paradigm shift in the pilot population, which involves a fundamental shift in experience, expectations, and work practices.” While the statement applies specifically to airline pilots, many feel part of the problem begins with GA training. Participants were split, however, on the value of back-to-basics training versus more training on automation to close the gap.
Read the detailed analysis of the report in the April issue of Flight Training magazine.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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