June 10, 2009 | Barb Carr

Is Training The Root Cause: “US to inspect pilot training at regional airlines”

The Associated Press came out with an article today about beefed up Inspections of Regional Airline Pilot Training. This increased activity is in REACTION to pilot errors listed following the New York Regional Jet Crash earlier this year. The good PROACTIVE note in this article was this comment, “Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement they will also hold a meeting with the airline industry — both regional and major carriers — next week to seek better pilot training, cockpit discipline and other safety improvements.”

So what would you look at to determine the Training concerns:

1. “a series of critical errors by the captain and co-pilot preceded the crash of Continental Express Flight 3407 as it neared Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Feb. 12.”

2. “cockpit voice recorder showed the co-pilot describing her lack of experience flying in icy weather not long before the crash.” Did she miss training? Did the company decide not to train? Was she trained and testing needs improvement? Should there be continued training? Did practice and repetition need to be increased?

3. “captain may not have had hands-on training on a critical cockpit safety system. “Did he miss training? Did the company decide not to train? Was he trained and testing needs improvement? Should there be continued training? Was the task analyzed for this aircraft?

Then there was the Fatigue issue:

1. “co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, lived near Seattle on the West coast with her parents and had commuted all-night to get to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on the East coast , where Flight 3407 originated”

2. “captain, Marvin Renslow, commuted to work from his home in Florida. It is not clear where either of them slept the night before the crash or how much sleep they received.”

3. “current rest rules “are less restrictive than truck drivers work under. Once you’ve been on duty for 13 hours, you are about 500 percent more likely to make an error, and once you’ve been on duty for 16 hours, you have the response rate of somebody who is legally drunk.”

Is the policy confusion or incomplete? Is the policy not strict enough? Does the communication of the Policy need improved? Is this a crew selection issue? A scheduling issue?

Now if you read the rest of the article linked below, you then have to ask about Oversight and Corrective Actions. There were “cracks” in the system? Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good aviation programs with good training….. maybe too many for the ratio of inspectors? What is the expectation of the controlling authority? How much is the push back from the private commercial sector when push comes to shove. After all, look at the discussion over the recent airbus accident and whether the pitot sensors needed to be replaced. According to reports, Air Bus highly “suggested” that they be replaced… and the air lines knowing that pitot sensor errors are only minor, instructed pilots to make sure they beefed their work around response for eradicate readings.

This is more than just a training issue. What questions do you have? Wonder where my questions come from? Come to one of our 5-day incident courses and walk through the early 1970 Florida aircraft crash.

5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training: http://www.taproot.com/courses.php#c1

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