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Mon, Dec 19, 2011

FAA To Tweak Airline Stall Training

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 commercial aviation.

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 a criterion..."

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.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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