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FAA wants NO DISTRACTIONS for pilots

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Well-known member
Jan 9, 2005
FAA wants no pilot distractions

Top Stories   |  Updated 6h 7m ago
By Alan Levin, USA TODAY

Federal aviation regulators are prodding airlines today to take concrete steps that would ensure their pilots are not distracted by laptops, cellphones and extraneous conversations.

Spurred by a series of recent accidents and incidents in which pilots' attention was diverted from flying, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will issue a notice to carriers today calling for better internal rules and training on the issue. The notice was obtained by USA TODAY.

Cockpit distractions and lack of professionalism have become top aviation safety issues in the past year. Two Northwest Airlines pilots flew 150 miles past their destination in October because they were working on laptops. A crash on Feb. 12, 2009, near Buffalo, which killed 50 people, was triggered in part because pilots were chatting and not paying attention to flight conditions, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded.

"There is no room for distraction when your job is to get people safely to their destinations," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says in a statement to be issued today. "The traveling public expects professional pilots to focus on flying and on safety at all times."

The FAA action follows recommendations by the NTSB to become more aggressive in attacking the problem.

In February, the NTSB classified the FAA's response to the issue as "unacceptable" because of delays in acting. The NTSB made the first of several calls for tighter cockpit discipline in 2007.

The NTSB will hold a three-day public forum on improving professionalism among pilots and air-traffic controllers starting May 18.

Airlines agree that cockpit distractions need to be addressed and already have begun examining their policies and procedures, says David Castelveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association.

In its notice to airlines today, the FAA emphasizes that carriers should take specific steps to eliminate cockpit distractions.

The agency says airlines should create a "safety culture" — a top-to-bottom expectation that safety will be taken seriously — that emphasizes eliminating distractions. The FAA calls on carriers to set more specific rules and improve training.

The FAA's notice to airlines is voluntary, but failure to follow its suggestions can lead to additional inspections and scrutiny of records on safety efforts.

The explosion in the use of cellphones and other personal electronic devices has had a troubling impact on aviation and other modes of transportation, the NTSB has found.

The co-pilot of the regional flight that crashed near Buffalo had used her phone to send text messages while the plane taxied toward the runway in Newark before the flight, investigators found.

The messages played no role in the accident, but investigators said they were part of a disturbing trend.
Two of the biggest let downs in aviation history, Babbitt and Prater. We all had such high hopes for both. Sadly both have let us down immensely. Proof that if you don't fly the line often enough, you are completely out of touch. JP spent a majority of his career in union work. Same with Babitt.

From my perspective, neither one has done much for our profession.

Let's all just be robots on the flight deck.
They may not know what they are talking about, but they will regulate you.

I beleive this is a memo and not a law for many reasons.
No distractions huh... Ok so then the FAA is going to guarantee and refinance my mortgage (even though it's now over double what my house is now worth) The FAA is going to deal with the daily stresses at home with the family. It's going to cover the medical bills so I don't have to worry about that. It's going to stop my certain downgrade and even possible furlough as Delta dismantles my company. The FAA is going to assure realistic schedules with proper rest, oh wait.....

We all live with distractions that can't be legislated away no matter what is done. That's what life is.
How about some more REST/SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's the biggest distraction, that's been put on the backburner!
The NTSB appears to be driving this more than the FAA....Babbitt is FAA and can do only so much IMHO. I'm not ALPA and don't know him personally and I'm not defending him.

The angst is toward the NTSB and the pressure being applied by Oberstar and a few on the Hill it would seem. Short of resigning, Babbitt can only provide some sanity to the discussions from his perspective, a pilot's, which is something lacking at the NTSB and Hill level I suspect.

The FAA is left to react and make changes to hideous ideas and thoughts that provide no additional safety to the profession or to the traveling public. I don't know if Babbitt has pushed for stricter rest rules but suspect he has but it is a tough balancing act I'm sure.

I suspect I'll get flamed for my comments but again, I'm not either for or against Babbitt but in this case the FAA/Babbitt with the NTSB out front on getting the public riled up about this.
We all live with distractions that can't be legislated away no matter what is done. That's what life is.

You're absolutely right. There is no possible way to eliminate distractions in the cockpit. This "memo" was intended to emphasize mitigating those distractions which the crewmember has control over.

This was published as an InFO (Information for Operators). Most 121 Operators already have the recommendations in place.

With the crash of Colgan and the overflight of Northwest, there is probably a lot of pressure on the FAA from Congress and the NTSB related to this. My guess is that the FAA had to do "something" to address their concerns.

Don't make this "memo" into something bigger than it actually is.

Now about those rest requirements.... :confused:

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