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FAA orders review of regional airlines' training

  • Story Highlights
  • FAA to examine training at regional airlines to make sure it meets federal standards
  • NTSB investigation into fatal crash in Buffalo revealed pilot exam failures
  • USA Today inquiry found pilot test failures in eight of nine regional airline crashes
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered its inspectors to make sure regional airlines' training programs are in line with federal regulations, authorities announced Tuesday.

Regional airline Colgan Air's Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, on February 12.

Regional airline Colgan Air's Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, on February 12.

"It's clear to us in looking at the February Colgan Air crash in Buffalo that there are things we should be doing now," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said. "My goal is to make sure that the entire industry -- from large commercial carriers to smaller, regional operators -- is meeting our safety standard."

Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, on February 12, killing all 49 passengers and crew members aboard. One person on the ground was also killed.

Federal investigators held hearings on Capitol Hill last month on the cause of the crash but have not concluded their inquiry.

Several shortcomings of the crew came to light during the National Transportation and Safety Board hearings when it was revealed that Colgan Air Capt. Marvin Renslow failed to reveal two pilot exam failures in his job application.

Testimony at the hearings also revealed that fatigue apparently contributed to the failure of Renslow and First Officer Rebecca Shaw to save the plane as it approached Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

USA Today newspaper reviewed the safety board's accident reports over the past 10 years and found that in nearly every serious accident involving a regional airline during that time, at least one of the pilots had failed multiple skill tests.

"In eight of the nine accidents during that time, which killed 137 people, pilots had a history of failing two or more 'check rides,' tests by federal or airline inspectors of pilots' ability to fly and respond to emergencies," USA Today reported Sunday. "In the lone case in which pilots didn't have multiple failures since becoming licensed, the co-pilot was fired after the nonfatal crash for falsifying his job application."

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In addition to reviewing regional airlines' training programs, Babbitt and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have called on representatives from major air carriers, their regional partners, aviation industry groups and labor to participate in a "call to action" in Washington on Monday, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation news release.

The review will address pilot training, cockpit discipline and other flight safety issues, the release said.

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