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FAA boosts pilot training

Posted: Nov. 6, 2013 | Tags: airline maintenance

The Federal Aviation Administration passed new rules on Nov. 5 that will boost the training of pilots. The move was a direct response to the 2009 crash of Flight 3407 that killed 50 people as pilots were approaching for a landing in Buffalo, N.Y.

The families of the Flight 3407 victims issued a joint statement praising the new rules and saying that they will "take pilot training into the 21st century after nearly 15 years of fits and starts." 

The Investigative Reporting Workshop co-produced a documentary called "Flying Cheap" with PBS FRONTLINE that traced economic pressures and safety lapses that led to the crash. The pilots flying the Continental flight were actually employed by Colgan, a now-defunct regional airline that was based in Manassas, Va. The captain, Marvin Renslow, lacked the training a major airlines pilot would have received, and after a stall, pulled the steering wheel back, which is the opposite of what is needed to recover from a stall. 

The new mandatory training will include hands-on, flight-simulator, stall-recovery training, which Renslow had not received for the plane he was flying. 

The new rules mark the end of a series of safety reforms advocated by the Families of Flight 3407. The group successfully lobbied for the 2010 aviation safety legislation that mandated these training upgrades, among several other improvements to flight safety, including expanded experience for pilots and rest requirements. The deadline for the additional training is February 2019. 

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