The regulatory approach to aviation safety has moved from reactive to proactive. Much of those positive developments can be attributed to joint FAA/industry efforts, a quintessential example is the Commercial Aviation Safety Team.
The post-Colgan 3407 press environment about Regional Airlines included toxic criticism directed undeservedly to all of the carriers which provide this critical service to smaller communities. The legislative response was overwrought, too.
Much credit is due to the Regional Airlines Association, which responded with its Strategic Safety Initiative. Its members and staff took the leadership role in enhancing both the level of safety and the perception thereof. Scott Foose, RAA’s Senior VP of Operations and Safety, issued (on behalf of the association’s members) a list of recommended actions:
- Create a single FAA database of pilot records;
- Conduct random fatigue tests;
- Examine the practice of pilot commuting;
- Extend the time frame for pilot background checks;
- Audit cockpit voice recordings; and
- Improve tracking and analysis of check rides.
Responding to the Colgan tragedy might be characterized as reactive; moving the standards of safety standards beyond what is required is proactive.
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