US to revise pilot training after Boeing 737 MAX crashes

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Wednesday that it is recommending training changes to help pilots avoid overusing autopilot and focus on flightpath management.

The FAA said it was publishing draught advice and suggested practises, adding that flight crews “should constantly be aware of the aircraft’s flightpath so they can intervene if necessary” even when on autopilot.

The advise responds to a proposal made by the National Transportation Safety Board after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 (020560.KS) collided into a seawall at San Francisco Airport in July 2013, killing three passengers.

Some conditions set by Congress in late 2019 as part of measures implemented after two tragic Boeing (BA.N) 737 MAX accidents killed 346 people in five months and triggered the best-selling plane’s 20-month worldwide ban prompted the draught guidelines.

The crash investigations “raised questions about the increasing use of automated flight control systems and flight crew interactions with those systems, as well as broader concerns about human performance and human factors assumptions about pilot reactions to abnormal and emergency situations and alerts,” according to a Congressional Research Service report released in September.

According to the FAA, the guidance “provides a centralised structure for operations and training. This will assist pilots in developing and maintaining manual flight operations abilities, as well as avoiding over-reliance on automation.”

“Acceptable ways for an operator to incorporate flightpath management principles into the operator’s training programme and operational procedures,” according to the FAA recommendation, which is directed at air carriers and training facilities.

 

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