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News & Press: Safety

RAA Statement on Continuous Enhancements to Aviation Safety

Monday, February 8, 2016  
Posted by: RAA
As the anniversary of the Flight 3407 tragedy approaches, our hearts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones of those lost seven years ago in New York. In the intervening years, those families have contributed in a substantial way to the advancement of safety. As an industry, we respect and appreciate those accomplishments. We agree with the families and with New York lawmakers, including Senator Schumer, that there should be no diluting of safety. Instead we seek to evolve and advance aviation safety.  
Regional airlines are on the forefront of pilot training and are working diligently to evolve and adapt so that the U.S. remains the vanguard of safety, with modern training programs poised to produce the very best pilots in the world. That is why the Regional Airline Association is working collaboratively on substantial enhancements of screening, mentoring and training methods to reach an even higher level of safety.
Through these collaborative efforts, with participation from both regional and major airline safety and training experts, we have begun to advance a proposal for a comprehensive and ground-breaking, airline-based training program that can offer incoming industry first officers unparalleled experience and support. Our proposal does not roll back or undo any of the hard work of Congress or safety advocates. To the contrary, our objective is to meet the tough standards they’ve set.

Our ask of Washington is straightforward and does not require a mandate of our program. Instead, we ask Congress to allow the FAA, the regulatory body overseeing aviation safety, to exercise its authority to review and approve an airline-based investment in a viable alternate pilot pathway. Only if our program meets the Agency’s criteria, and offers a higher level of safety than current regulations offer, could the FAA approve it.

We are confident that our proposed program will do just that. On every measure, our program does not just meet, but far exceeds, today’s regulatory requirements and will ensure first officers are prepared with right experiences, competencies, supports, and oversights to operate proficiently and safely in the demanding commercial cockpit.

Our proposal is fully formed, but we are still in a collaborative stage. Our industry stands behind our initial offer to hear feedback on the program’s merits and reissues its invitation to safety advocates, Congress, and fellow stakeholders to participate in what we hope will be a continuing, collaborative process.

If given a chance to work, our proposed program can become the new gold standard in pilot training and will significantly build on the continuous safety advances the aviation industry is making. We look forward to continuing to work on the next evolution of pilot training with all who are interested in the advancement of aviation safety.

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