In the most recent flare-up of controversy about MU-2 safety and upcoming formal training requirements, a small bit of information about something called “level-E” training standards leaked out of the voluminous FAA reports yet didn’t get much attention.
A question raised about the MU-2 was whether or not it ought to have a type-rating requirement, and indeed the FAA addressed that in its Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report on the MU-2. “The FSB has identified level-E training, checking and currency for the MU-2B aircraft,” the report noted. “Level-E requirements are normally eligible for designation of a type rating.”
So what is “level-E,” and are there other levels? And if so, what do they mean?
The only FAA reference that AIN was able to find about these training levels was in an old Handbook Bulletin for Air Transportation, which applies to Part 121 and 135 operations. HBAT 95-13, titled “Self-Dependent Task Training,” states that the “levels” are ratings of “the degree of required skill and knowledge.
“A task assigned a rating of ‘E’ would require the most skill and knowledge, whereas a task assigned a rating of ‘A’ would require the least skill and knowledge.” The HBAT is incorporated into FAA Order 8400.10, the Air Transportation Operations Inspector’s Handbook, in Appendix 3.
The skill requirements range from self-instruction for a level-A task to annual training in a simulator or airplane for a level-
E-rated task. “A low-visibility (Category II) approach could be an example of a higher-level task that would be assigned an ‘E’ rating,” the HBAT states.
As of press time, the FAA had not yet issued the new training requirements for the MU-2, but judging from the FSB report, the FAA will use the level-E rating for much of the MU-2 training program.
The following chart explains the level rating system and how the FAA thinks it should be applied. (This chart hasn’t been updated to reflect current training technology.)