Seems like a pretty simple part of the process if you’re an airline pilot, right? After all, landing without the gear down is generally not the normal approach to arrivals and it is something that these pilots have been doing a couple dozen times each month for years. Turns out that it is still confusing to a few of them.
The union representing pilots at United Airlines has circulated a 101 page memo generated internally to members of Congress critical of the new company’s management and training policies, suggesting that they are skimping on safety in the effort to provide training on policy alterations needed to unify the policies of United and merger partner Continental. Among the concerns cited, nearly forgetting to lower the landing gear is on the list. Others have suggested that the changes have caused them to not follow taxi instructions from ATC while on the ground.
The document, dated Nov. 10, lambasts United for using only individual, computer-based training to help United pilots absorb a "large volume of procedural changes, some of which are quite complex," without including classroom work or practice sessions in flight simulators.
"United’s training regime is the equivalent of the Ringling Brothers Circus introducing a new trapeze routine and training the artists via computer," says the document.
This move follows efforts by the pilots to get the training policy amended in court, a case that was rather quickly dismissed as "speculative" and the FAA has insisted that they are monitoring the training regimen.
I’m all in favor of getting the right training, but I cannot see how getting Congress involved is a way to make anything good happen.
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