"We Still Have More to Do"
Michael Huerta, Washington, DC
November 21, 2013

Training Roundtable


As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you all for coming today.

We have made significant progress in improving flight crew training over the years, especially with the new pilot training rule that we published this month. It was a long time in the making, and it 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.   

But even as this rule covers a lot of ground, we still know there’s more that we can and should do to move to the next level of safety and improve training for all of the aviation professionals involved in flight operations.

We have published a number of significant safety rules over the past several years, and we are proud of those accomplishments. But during that time, a lot of very talented people have worked collaboratively with the FAA to produce many additional recommendations for pilot training on stalls, upsets and flight deck automation issues.  And there are still areas where we can improve, including training for flight attendants and dispatchers.

Today, I am announcing the creation of an Air Carrier Training Steering Group. This group is composed of industry and government representatives who will study training issues and advocate for voluntary adoption of the best practices that we have identified together.

In order to help this group, we are asking you today to sort through about 25 recommendations on training and come up with the five top priorities that the Air Carrier Training Steering Group should first pursue – because it makes sense and it’s in our best interest.  

In particular, I would like you to specifically discuss the best recommendations for how to improve training for flight attendants and dispatchers.

Today, I am also going to reach out to the airlines, including smaller carriers, as well as organizations providing training to air carriers, to ask them to support their trade associations and the people those associations nominate to serve on this steering group.

We want to identify additional areas for improvement in training, and make voluntary efforts to address these. We live in a world today where we cannot regulate every aspect of safety.  One of the most successful safety engagements we’ve had between government and industry is CAST – the Commercial Aviation Safety Team. We are sharing data and looking at trends. When we do this, it’s obvious to all of us where we need to act.

Our system is so safe that we have been moving from a system of forensic review to a system of pre-emptive actions. Proactively instituting safety management systems and identifying and mitigating risks is how we can act smarter about safety and take our system to the next level.

The pro-active work you are starting today is very valuable. So I want to thank you again for coming out today, and for your thoughts on how to make the best voluntary improvements to air carrier training.

I look forward to stopping back later to hear about your discussion and conclusions.

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