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FAA and EASA Will Upgrade Stall Training

 - November 15, 2013, 9:00 PM
The FAA is to issue a new rule governing stall training for airline pilots based on industry input recommending improved approaches for dealing with loss of control in flight, said to be the leading cause of aircraft fatalities.

The FAA is due to issue a rule requiring a new approach to stall training for airline pilots that runs counter to previous guidance. According to Dr. Jeff Schroeder, the agency’s chief scientific and technical officer, the new approach will “take a lot of work to undo previous training because some pilots are ‘spring-loaded’ to the previous technique.”

At the Royal Aeronautical Society’s annual International Flight Crew Training Conference in London in September, Schroeder explained that operators will have five years to comply with the new requirement. Flight simulator providers will need to make changes to stall, buffet and icing models used in their devices, and rules governing these changes should be issued in 2015 with a three-year implementation grace period.

European Aviation Safety Agency rulemaking officer Dean Dousi told the conference that EASA will publish similar rules in the third quarter of 2016, following the publication of a concept paper before year end. This will be subject to public consultation in 2014, with resulting recommendations to be made to the European Commission in 2015. The rulemaking process follows in the wake of highly publicized accidents involving stalls within four months in 2009, including Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., and Air France Flight 447’s plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.

Before and especially since then, multiple industry groups have debated improved approaches for dealing with loss of control in flight, identified as the leading cause of aircraft fatalities. Schroeder estimated the total cost to develop new aerodynamic models for 50 aircraft types at $20 million, plus another $30 million for these to be installed on around 300 full-flight simulators.