Part 135 Training Changes Coming Soon

 - March 12, 2019, 1:10 PM

The FAA is expected to soon release an Advisory Circular that will pave the way to move toward a new standardized training curriculum for Part 135 operations, industry leaders learned during today’s 2019 Air Charter Safety Symposium. More than 135 charter executives registered for this year’s Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) event, many of them attending for the first time.

This year’s symposium provided an overview of changes for Part 135 training through Part 142 centers. The FAA last fall released a draft AC that industry executives believe will enable one of the most significant changes in training approaches for charter operations in years. Under the approach, a collaboration of industry experts and the FAA will jointly develop a standardized curriculum for each type of aircraft for which simulator training is available.

This is expected to affect a broad swath of operators because upwards of 95 percent of Part 135 jet operators and 65 percent of Part 135 operators across the board use Part 142 centers for training.

The draft AC, based on the recommendations of a government/industry aviation rulemaking committee, drew about 200 comments, resulting in a few changes, said FAA aviation safety inspector Mark Valette. While progress slowed slightly during the government slowdown, David Underwood, regional director of regulatory affairs for FlightSafety International, said he expects the final AC to be out shortly.

Once released, the industry/government Training Standardization Board will be stood up—likely later this summer—and teams will be gathered to look at curriculum for various aircraft. Valette encouraged attendees of ACSF to get involved in this process, stressing this is their training programs. In fact, Valette emphasized in his years at the agency “collaboration with industry has never been as great.”

John DeLisi, director of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Aviation Safety, also stressed during today’s symposium that the NTSB was hoping to partner with industry on Part 135 safety through its inclusion on the Safety Board’s latest "Most Wanted" list of transportation safety improvements.

DeLisi again highlighted areas that led to Part 121 safety improvements and encouraged the audience to look toward their adoption, such as flight-data monitoring, safety management systems, and controlled flight into terrain avoidance training.

NTSB vice chairman Bruce Landsberg was slated to speak later in the day to review some of the areas of concern of Part 135 safety. The two-day event, themed "Promoting the Highest Levels of Aviation Safety,” also is addressing safety culture, the new charter broker rules, data and analytics, stick and rudder skills, a deeper dive into recent accident case studies, and an update on the ACSF’s Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP).

Bryan Burns, president of the ACSF, credited the ASAP program to the dramatic growth of the association in recent years, with membership now approaching 200.