FAA Mandates CRM Training For 135 Operations


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FAA Mandates CRM Training For 135 Operations

Shane Nolan

January 21, 2011 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finalized a rule that requires non-scheduled charter airlines and air taxis to train pilots and flight attendants in Crew Resource Management (CRM), a well-established concept that helps reduce human error in commercial aviation by teaching pilots, flight attendants and other aviation workers to act as a team.  

Air carriers affected by the final rule must establish initial and recurrent CRM training for crewmembers within two years of the effective date of the rule. The training must address the captain?s authority; intra-crew communications; teamwork; managing workload, time, fatigue and stress; and decision-making skills.  

?This type of training is critical for the safety of flight crews and passengers,? said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The FAA has required CRM training for air carriers operating larger airplanes since December 1995. ?I know the value of making Crew Resource Management part of the safety culture from my days as an airline pilot,? said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. ?A crew that works as a team is a better crew, regardless of the size of the plane or the size of the airline.?  

CRM training focuses on the interactions among personnel including pilots, flight attendants, operations personnel, mechanics, air traffic controllers and flight service stations. This training in communications and teamwork can help prevent errors such as runway incursions, misinterpreting information from air traffic controllers, crewmembers' loss of situational awareness, and failure to fully prepare for takeoff or landing.  

This final rule responds to a 2003 National Transportation Safety Board recommendation that is currently on the Board?s ?Most Wanted? list of safety improvements. Crew Resource Management (CRM) training is the incorporation of team management concepts in flight operations. This training focuses on communication and interactions among pilots, flight attendants, operations personnel, maintenance personnel, air traffic controllers, flight service stations, and others.

CRM also focuses on single pilot communications, decision making and situational awareness. On May 1, 2009, the FAA published an NPRM proposing to require all part 135 certificate holders required to have training programs under 14 CFR 135.341 to implement CRM training for pilots and flight attendants in part 135 operations.


The intent of the NPRM was to create uniform standards for CRM training in part 135 operations by codifying existing guidance material in Advisory Circular (AC) 120-51E, Crew Resource Management Training, (Jan. 22, 2004), and AC 00-64, Air Medical Resource Management, (Jan. 22, 2005). The FAA determined this was necessary following a review of 268 accidents in part 135 operations that occurred between 1998 and 2008. Of these 268 accidents, 24 were directly related to ineffective CRM and resulted in 83 fatalities and 12 serious injuries.

The NPRM also addressed National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations A-01-12, A-03-522, and A-95- 124, in addition to recommendations from the part 125/135 Aviation Rulemaking Committee that all pilots in part 135 operations be proficient at mastering the resources available to them while managing many operational factors.

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