Just when it seemed the Federal Aviation Administration could not have done worse, it trumped itself.
On the day the Families of Continental Flight 3407 marked the fourth anniversary of the loss of their loved ones, the FAA added to their grief by telling the families that it would further delay new regulations until June 2014. This after telling told Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., it would get the job done this year.
But now the FAA has backtracked and apologized for giving out erroneous information to the families and, in a letter sent to Schumer, Administrator Michael P. Huerta said that he is still committed to completing the new regulations for pilot qualifications and training this year.
This unbelievable flip-flop – the FAA Tuesday had said it needed more time to redo the economic analysis involving the new pilot training rules – adds fuel to the belief that the agency is looking for any reason to delay implementing the changes. Just recently the Department of Transportation’s inspector general highlighted the sluggish pace of the FAA in implementing the 2010 law. Some elements of the act have been put in place, but the effort is still far from complete.
One of the new regulations still not implemented would require that pilots train in a simulator on how to respond to stalls and other unexpected events. Capt. Marvin D. Renslow, pilot of Continental Connection Flight 3407, reacted incorrectly to an aerodynamic stall, sending the plane plummeting into a house in Clarence Center.
The Flight 3407 crash should have made implementation of new pilot training rules a cinch. Instead, industry pressure and FAA excuses have resulted in continuous delays and confusion.
Now the FAA says it is on track to meet both the August deadline for the pilot regulations and the October deadline for crew member training. That sounds good, but let’s just say, we’ll believe it when we see it.