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Wed, Jul 07, 2010

FAA Issues SAFO For Practical Test Standards (PTS) Language

Phrase "Minimum Loss Of Altitude" Clarified In Airline Transport Pilot PTS

The FAA has put out a Safety Alert For Operators concerning language included in the Airline Transport Pilot Practical Test Standards (PTS). The SAFO clarifies the meaning of the approaches to stall evaluation criteria as it relates to “minimal loss of altitude”.

A recent survey of stall/stick pusher training programs revealed some inconsistencies in the practical application of the term “minimal loss of altitude”. Specifically, some programs inappropriately stress maintaining altitude during recovery or have arbitrarily assigned a predetermined value (in feet) as an evaluation criteria.

The term “minimal loss of altitude” was intended to take into account the many variables which could affect the amount of altitude loss encountered in a smooth recovery from an approach to stall. These variables may include, but are not limited to:

  • Entry Altitude
  • Bank Angle
  • Aircraft Weight
  • Aircraft Configuration
  • Density Altitude

The reduction of angle of attack required to initiate recovery will likely result in altitude loss. The amount of altitude loss will be affected by the operational environment.

The FAA encourages operators and training centers to ensure that their training programs and checking modules are written and administered to ensure the evaluation criteria for a recovery from a stall or approach to stall does not mandate a predetermined value for altitude loss. Proper evaluation criteria should consider the multitude of external and internal variables which affect the recovery altitude. The aircraft manufacturer’s recommended stall recovery techniques and procedures take precedence and must be followed. The agency says that everyone involved in the ATP evaluation process should work together to ensure that the content of this SAFO is provided to pilots during ground training, reinforced in flight training, and proficiency checks.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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