New Advisory Circular Finds Lessons In Colgan 3407 Crash
The FAA has come up with draft recommendations to address the
issue of airliners entering aerodynamic stalls, partially in
response to the Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, NY that claimed 50
lives in 2009.The Wall Street Journal reports that the proposed
advisory circular spells out recovery standards for pilots,
training instructors, simulator providers and other segments of
Post-flight analysis of cockpit data and voice recordings
suggests the Colgan crew let the Q400 turboprop get too slow on
approach, and that Captain Marvin Renslow responded, not by getting
the nose down to recover, but by pulling back sharply on the yoke.
Crash scene evidence suggested the plane had very little forward
airspeed at impact, consistent with a stall.
Among the changes the FAA will recommend are simulator sessions
which present stalls as a surprise, to prepare crews for the real
thing, and a move away from existing simulator regimens which
stress minimizing altitude loss in a stall recovery. The draft of
the new AC makes clear, "At no time should minimum altitude loss be
The WSJ also reports the FAA also wants pilots to get more
ground school instruction about aerodynamic principles that can
lead to stalls, and is urging that pilots practice such maneuvers
at high altitudes using more-realistic scenarios.