Call This Number After You Land

060505-N-9079D-025Not something you want to hear as you’re flying along.

The FAA is taking a new approach to pilot deviations called “compliance” rather than their old mode of “enforcement” when the situation warrants. Most pilot deviations are unintentional and a lapse in attention or procedure rather than something willful on the part of the pilot. In situations like this a much better outcome for everyone is a teachable moment rather than punishment. Local flight instructors are part of the solution.

The FAA calls the teachable moment, remedial training. As the FAA inspector reviews the facts of the reported deviation and determines that remedial training is a good solution he or she will offer that option to the pilot and ask if they would rather do that and not have a record of an enforcement action on their record.

It seems like a no brainer to take the remedial training but the reason the inspector has to ask is because the pilot will bear the cost of the training which will normally include 3 hours of ground training and 3 hours of flight training. The ground training can include online courses as well as one-on-one instruction from the CFI.

If the pilot agrees to accept remedial training the inspector will give the details of the incident to the FSDOs FAA Safety Team Program Manager (FPM) who will develop an individualized syllabus that addresses the circumstances of the specific deviation that occurred. This is where CFIs enter the picture. As the FPM develops the training syllabus he or she will also select a local CFI that is well qualified to cover the necessary training. The pilot receiving the remedial is required to pay the CFI the CFI’s normal rate and, if necessary, pay for a rental aircraft.

How does the FPM select the CFI? The first, and easiest, place to look is for CFIs and DPEs that are FAA Safety Team Representatives because when you fill out the application to be a Safety Team volunteer you indicate things you are willing to do like giving safety seminars. If you indicate you are also interested in and available to provide remedial training you will be considered whenever there is a need.

Once the FPM has developed the training syllabus and has an agreeable CFI there will be a meeting at the FSDO or an agreed location with the pilot receiving training, the selected CFI, and the FPM. At that time the FPM will review the syllabus and have the pilot receiving training sign an agreement to complete the required training within a specified time frame. At the completion of the training the CFI provides a letter to the FPM certifying the training has been accomplished and the process is over.

A recent experience showed that the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) made it very easy to develop the training syllabus as every task related to the deviation also had knowledge elements and risk management considerations to be discussed in the ground training. That made it easy not only for the FPM but the CFI and the pilot under training as well because everything was clearly defined.

If you would like to be available to your FSDO to provide remedial training the best way to get in the CFI pool is to become an FAA Safety Team Representative and indicate your availability.


About Rich Martindell

Instrument flight instructor (CFII), rated airline transport pilot (ATP), former military instructor pilot in F-4s and F-15s. Aircraft accident investigator and flight safety consultant. FAA Safety Team Lead Representative.
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