FAA Seeks Dramatic Revamp Of Pilot Training

Stall recovery at issue


And throughout the new training regimen, there would be a new element of surprise. Sudden upsets will be included at unexpected times.

Crew members "are going to train as a team," Babbitt said. "They will have had real-life exposure."

The new rules are a rewrite of a proposal the FAA put forth a month before the Clarence Center crash.

The agency has spent more than two years rewriting the proposal to incorporate industry feedback, react to the lessons of Flight 3407 and respond to the new congressional mandates.

While generally lauding the proposal, the Flight 3407 families warned that it is by no means set in stone.

The airline industry will still have a chance to press regulators for changes that could weaken the proposal.

"This rule-making has been in progress for nearly a decade, which shows what a strong grip that the airlines and the industry already have on this process," said Susan Bourque of East Aurora, whose sister Beverly Eckert, a 9/11 activist, was killed in the crash.

The proposal also faces a potential threat from Congress in the form of an amendment by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. The amendment, which would place new burdens on the FAA rule-making process, passed the House on April 1.

While the amendment's prospects in the Senate appear to be dim, Bourque warned that if passed, the Shuster amendment could stand in the way of several FAA regulatory efforts stemming from the crash of Flight 3407.

The FAA is still working on a separate rule that would boost the number of flight hours that pilots must have to get a commercial license, and on a pro posal aimed at curbing pilot fatigue.

Asked about the timing of the proposed rules, Margaret "Peggy" Gilligan, associate administrator for aviation safety, said: "We are pushing as fast as we can for as much as we can."

With so many new safety rules being drawn up at once, both the families and their congressional advocates stressed that they will have to continue to press for their completion.

"These new training proposals are an important step forward toward fixing the flaws in pilot training that contributed to the crash," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., "but our work is far from over."

jzremski@buffnews.com

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