RAA Press

At FAA Safety Summit, RAA CEO Emphasizes Safety Management, Partnership, and Professionalism; Calls for Improved Foundational Training

Washington, DC, March 16, 2023. Media contact:

Speaking on a panel of industry leaders joining Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Billy Nolen for a Safety Summit and Call to Action, RAA CEO Faye Malarkey Black called for improved foundational training for pilots alongside redoubled professionalism in the industry. She additionally emphasized the value of critical Safety Management Systems, which center an organization’s culture around safety and go to the heart of identifying and mitigating risk in aviation, in charting a path to the next level of aviation safety.

Responding to Administrator Nolen’s question on the influx of new and less experienced workers, Black detailed the ways the industry is providing extra support to new pilots entering the profession. Black noted the fallacy of relying solely on flight hours, explaining: “We need to look at the training that happens at the foundation and ensure we are providing the right supplemental training and bridge programs. And we need to make sure we’re not relying solely on flight hours as a proxy for experience because that’s not serving us well today. The reality is when pilots come into our training programs, they have high flight time but are less well prepared for the part 121 environment, and haven’t seen icing, mastered swept wing aerodynamics, or gained experience in traffic or multi-crew operations and crew resource management.”

Black outlined measures that airlines are taking to bolster skills among new pilot entrants with less relevant experience today, noting that every regional airline has repeatedly and substantially expanded their initial training footprints, with more classroom time, additional simulator sessions, and other extra training, provided for longer Initial Operating Experience time and other supports to ensure new pilots are capable and ready to take flight. She called on regulators and fellow industry members to do more, using today’s advanced technology and training capabilities to build a better foundation from start.

Black noted the importance of advancing and constantly refreshing Safety Management Systems and emphasized that an important factor for success is achieving buy-in among every aviation professional. Black said: “It’s critical to engage the humans that form the safety backbone of our system, who must stand vigilant against complacency. The goal of safety and risk reduction must be embedded throughout the entire culture of an organization and through every layer, so everyone—from association executives to leaders of our organizations to our frontline workers—understands that the safety of the system is in their hands.”

The summit can be viewed in its entirety here.

About RAA  
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and strong regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners. In the United States, regional airlines operate 41% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 67% of the nation’s airports. Regional airlines provide 75% or more of the air service in Alabama (81%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (81%), Iowa (78%), Kansas (82%), Maine (79%), Mississippi (82%), North Dakota (88%), South Dakota (85%), Vermont (92%), West Virginia (91%). Regional airlines provide half or more of the air service in Idaho (73%), Indiana (59%), Kentucky (60%), Michigan (57%), Montana (73%), Nebraska (60%), New Hampshire (69%), New Mexico (63%), North Carolina (55%), Ohio (52%), Oklahoma (55%), Oregon (54%), Pennsylvania (59%), Rhode Island (67%), South Carolina (57%), Utah (58%), Wisconsin (67%), and Wyoming (64%).

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