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February 4, 2010
By Sarah Brown
The fatal crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 last February outside Buffalo, N.Y., sent shock waves through the airline industry and beyond: The government’s response to issues brought to light by the crash could change the way general aviation pilots train.
The crash has prompted inquiries into what could have caused the captain to pull aft on the stick shaker instead of pushing forward when it warned of an impending stall, and the FAA has zeroed in on what could be contributing factors in its call-to-action report: fatigue, professionalism, mentoring, and training. To address the latter, the FAA is requesting recommendations to improve pilot qualification and training requirements.
The agency is publishing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)—a posting that asks for comments but does not yet propose a regulatory solution—requesting public comment on possible changes to regulations related to commercial pilot certification.
“Even an issue with the airlines can have far-reaching implications for general aviation pilots and flight schools,” said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman. “The Colgan Air crash has led to proposals for changing pilot training, and the FAA is asking for input.”
The accident focused attention on whether a commercially-rated copilot in Part 121 operations receives adequate training, the advanced NPRM states. The FAA is looking for public comment on four basic topics.
Pilots can submit comments online; by mail at Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590; by fax at 202/493-2251; or by hand-delivery. Comments should be identified by Docket Number FAA-2010-0100. The comment period is open for 60 days.
Department of Transportation,
Pilots have formed a user group and launched a petition drive to save Runway 5/23 at Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Mo.
AOPA is urging Santa Rosa County officials who operate Peter Prince Field in Milton, Fla., to revise proposed rules to eliminate potential conflicts.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.