The NTSB today released Safety Recommendations A-05-024 through A-05-029 suggesting that the FAA implement additional training, testing and education relating to weather and control of aircraft in IMC. The recommendations are the result of a study, Risk Factors Associated with Weather-Related General Aviation Accidents, conducted by the NTSB “to better understand the risk factors associated with accidents that occur in weather conditions characterized by IMC or poor visibility”. Apparently over the last 20 years, about two-thirds of all general aviation accidents that occured in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) were fatal. This rate is much higher than the overall fatality rate for GA accidents.
The specific recommendations include:
Add a specific requirement for all pilots who do not receive weather-related recurrent training, that the biennial flight review include the following: recognition of critical weather situations from the ground and in flight, procurement and use of aeronautical weather reports and forecasts, determination of fuel requirements, and planning for alternatives if the intended flight cannot be completed or delays are encountered. (A-05-024)
For pilots holding a private, commercial, or airline transport pilot certificate in the airplane category who do not receive recurrent instrument training, add a specific requirement that the biennial flight review include a demonstration of control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by reference to instruments, including straight and level flight, constant airspeed climbs and descents, turns to a heading, and recovery from unusual flight attitudes. (A-05-025)
Establish a minimum number of weather-related questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass Federal Aviation Administration airman knowledge tests. (A-05-026)
Develop a means to identify pilots whose overall performance history indicates that they are at future risk of accident involvement, and develop a program to reduce risk for those pilots. (A-05-027)
Determine optimal information presentation methods and delivery systems for flight service station weather information briefings, including the possibility of supplementing or replacing some portions of the current standard weather briefing with graphical data. (A-05-028)
Revise guidance materials associated with pilot weather briefings to include guidance for pilots in the use of Internet, satellite, and other data sources for obtaining weather information suitable for meeting the intent of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.103 and subsequently inform the aviation community about this change. (A-05-029)
Of course these are only recommendations and the FAA is not required to accept or implement these recommendations. However, in light of the results of the NTSB’s study explained in the recommendations, and the minimal burden associated with some of these recommendations, it would appear prudent for the FAA to give these recommendations serious consideration.