CNN examines the growing demand for air travel and raises the question of whether there will be enough flight schools and pilots to fly all of the new airplanes on order. There also will be a shortage of mechanics and ground crews.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) has issued this rule concerning flight crew training:
As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance safety and put the best qualified and trained pilots in the flight decks of U.S. airplanes, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a final rule that will significantly advance the way commercial air carrier pilots are trained.
In addition, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is inviting the nation’s commercial aviation safety leaders to Washington, D.C. on November 21, to discuss additional voluntary steps that can be taken to further boost safety during airline operations, including pilot training.
“Today’s rule is a significant advancement for aviation safety and U.S. pilot training,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “One of my first meetings as Transportation Secretary was with the Colgan Flight 3407 families, and today, I am proud to announce that with their help, the FAA has now added improved pilot training to its many other efforts to strengthen aviation safety.”
The final rule stems in part from the tragic crash of Colgan Air 3407 in February 2009, and addresses a Congressional mandate in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 to ensure enhanced pilot training. Today’s rule is one of several rulemakings required by the Act, including the requirements to prevent pilot fatigue that were finalized in December 2011, and the increased qualification requirements for first officers who fly U.S. passenger and cargo planes that were issued in July 2013.
The final rule requires:
ground and flight training that enables pilots to prevent and recover from aircraft stalls and upsets. These new training standards will impact future simulator standards as well;
air carriers to use data to track remedial training for pilots with performance deficiencies, such as failing a proficiency check or unsatisfactory performance during flight training;
training for more effective pilot monitoring;
enhanced runway safety procedures; and
expanded crosswind training, including training for wind gusts.
“This pivotal rule will give our nation’s pilots the most advanced training available,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “While the rule marks a major step toward addressing the greatest known risk areas in pilot training, I’m also calling on the commercial aviation industry to continue to move forward with voluntary initiatives to make air carrier training programs as robust as possible.”
The FAA is focusing on pilot training for events that, although rare, are often catastrophic. Focusing on these events will provide the greatest safety benefit to the flying public. The recent rule to boost pilot qualifications for first officers has raised the baseline knowledge and skill set of pilots entering air carrier operations. Many air carriers have also voluntarily begun developing safety management systems (SMS), which will help air carriers identify and mitigate risks unique to their own operating environments.
The FAA proposed to revise the training rules for pilots in 2009, one month prior to the Colgan Flight 3407 accident. The FAA issued a supplemental proposal on May 20, 2011, to address many of the NTSB’s recommendations resulting from the accident, and incorporate congressional mandates for stick pusher, stall recovery and remedial training. A stick pusher is a safety system that applies downward elevator pressure to prevent an airplane from exceeding a predetermined angle of attack in order to avoid, identify, or assist in the recovery of a stall.
On Aug. 6, 2012, the FAA issued Advisory Circular (AC) Stall and Stick Pusher Training to provide best practices and guidance for training, testing, and checking for pilots to ensure correct and consistent responses to unexpected stall events and stick pusher activations. A copy of the AC is available at online.
Air carriers will have five years to comply with the rule’s new pilot training provisions, which will allow time for the necessary software updates to be made in flight simulation technology. The cost of the rule to the aviation industry is estimated to be $274.1 to $353.7 million. The estimated benefit is nearly double the cost at $689.2 million.
Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Oslo) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virgin Atlantic Airways (London). The agreement enables Norwegian to tap into Virgin Atlantic’s expertise on long-haul operations, while Virgin Atlantic’s instructors will receive pilot training on board Norwegian’s brand new 787-8 Dreamliner. Norwegian’s first Dreamliner is due for delivery at the end of June.
The cooperation with Virgin Atlantic will enable Norwegian’s long-haul pilots to make use of the airline’s vast long-haul experience. Virgin Atlantic will make all its training material available to Norwegian.
Virgin Atlantic’s pilots to train on board Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliner
At the same time, Virgin Atlantic’s 787 instructors will conduct the final part of their pilot training on board Norwegian’s Dreamliners. Virgin Atlantic’s most experienced instructors will continue flying on board Norwegian’s aircraft until the airline receives its first 787 Dreamliner in September 2014, just over a year after Norwegian’s first Dreamliner delivery.
“Introducing a new aircraft type to an airline is an extensive affair. It is therefore important that we learn from each other,” says Director of Flight Operations Norwegian Long Haul, Torstein Hoås.
A great advantage to both parties
“Virgin Atlantic is a successful long-haul airline with almost 30 years of Trans-Atlantic experience. It will be very beneficial for us to receive this support. At the same time, we are looking forward to helping Virgin Atlantic introduce the 787 Dreamliner to its fleet. The cooperation will be a great advantage to both parties,” he continues.
Virgin Atlantic will be the launch customer in Europe of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a slightly bigger version of the 787-8 Dreamliner. In the agreement signed on Friday, Virgin Atlantic states that it will train a number of Norwegian pilots on board its future Dreamliners.
“Virgin Atlantic are delighted to announce our training partnership with Norwegian. Our combined experience is being effectively utilised to ensure the safe and efficient introduction of the Boeing 787 aircraft to our fleet. We have much in common with Norwegian, having similar high quality training requirements, which has allowed our partnership to take shape,” says Captain Dave Kistruck, GM of Flight Operations for Virgin Atlantic.
In other news, Norwegian is expanding in the Germany-Spain market. The company has issued this statement:
Norwegian Air Shuttle continues its European expansion. The company has announced that it will launch new routes from Hamburg, Cologne and Munich to several Spanish destinations this autumn.
“The expansion in the German market is part of our future strategy to expand our presence outside of the Nordic region in order to meet the strong competition in the airline industry. We see that Germans frequently choose Norwegian when flying to Scandinavia and we believe that there is a demand for a quality airline that offers inexpensive fares between Germany and Spain. We are looking forward to welcoming passengers on board our modern and more eco-friendly aircraft,” said CEO of Norwegian Bjørn Kjos.
From the end of October, Norwegian launches brand new routes between Germany and Spain and will fly to Malaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria and Tenerife from Hamburg and Cologne. From Munich, Norwegian will offer flights to Malaga, Alicante and Tenerife.
Norwegian is Europe’s third largest low-fare airline. As one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe, it is establishing itself outside of the Nordic region by opening bases in the UK and Spain. At the end of the month, Norwegian will, as the first European low-fare airline, commence long-haul flights to the US and Asia.
Hamburg-Malaga (November 1), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Hamburg-Alicante (November 1), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Hamburg-Gran Canaria (October 27), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Hamburg-Tenerife (October 27), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Cologne-Malaga (October 31), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Cologne-Alicante (November 1), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Cologne-Gran Canaria (October 28), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Cologne-Tenerife (October 28), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Munich-Malaga (November 1), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 39,- one way
Munich-Alicante (October 31), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 39,- one way
Munich-Tenerife (October 29), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 59,- one way