"Pilot Training Rule"
Michael Huerta, Washington, DC
November 5, 2013

Pilot Training Presser


Thank you for joining us today.

As the Secretary said, this rule will give our pilots the most advanced training available to handle emergencies they may encounter.

We are focusing on pilot training for events which – although rare – can be catastrophic.  Focusing on these events will provide the greatest safety benefit to the flying public.

The FAA has consistently issued strong training guidance to carriers. But this rule represents one of the most significant updates of air carrier pilot training in the last 20 years. With the technology now available in flight simulators today, we will be able to greatly enhance training.  

We want pilots to have extensive training so that they have the skills and confidence to appropriately handle any situation. This includes more emphasis on manual flying skills, and how to prevent and recover from stalls and upsets. We also want pilots to have more experience with crosswinds and gusts. And more experience with how to handle the loss of reliable airspeed data.

At the FAA we are becoming smarter about safety and moving towards a system where we collect and analyze data to see patterns. We want to address issues long before there is a problem. This rule will allow airlines to view a pilot’s training performance over time. And airlines will have the data to evaluate whether a training program is effective.

Airlines will be able to better track a pattern of deficiencies in a pilot’s training performance. If the same type of failure occurs again, or if a similar failure occurs, the airline and the pilot will need to take additional steps to demonstrate the pilot’s capability. Changes can be made – based on the data – that improve both the training program and pilot performance.

We always expect that the pilot who is not flying the aircraft will monitor the pilot who is flying the plane, during all phases of flight. This rule requires airlines to train pilots on how to effectively monitor the pilot who is flying. The pilot who is not flying has an active job to do. He or she must act as a second set of eyes and ears to assure situational awareness and to intervene when necessary.

And finally, the rule requires training to enhance runway safety precautions. It will reinforce that pilots need to confirm the assigned runway as part of their pre-departure briefing. They will also need to confirm that the correct runway is loaded into the aircraft’s flight management system.

This rule has been a high priority for the Colgan families and for the Secretary and myself. We made a promise that we’d get this rule out this year, and we have kept that promise. As the Secretary said, the families of Colgan Flight 3407 have been of great help not only with this rule, but with rules to reduce pilot fatigue and improve pilot qualifications.

Today’s rule is a tremendous achievement for safety. But, I also want to call on the industry to continue to embrace voluntary initiatives to make air carrier training programs as robust as possible. I will meet with airline safety leaders later this month to determine how we can best move forward to constantly enhance safety in a collaborative way.

Finally, I would like to thank our safety team at the FAA who have worked tirelessly to get this rule across the finish line.  You do great work every day on behalf of the traveling public.

Mr. Secretary?

###