Nightly News   |  November 05, 2013

FAA to require more robust pilot training

Modern stimulators can replicate every possible flight condition for a pilot, which is why the FAA wants to see training standards for preventing and recovering from mid-air stalls, and are asking airlines to track pilot training and on-the-job performance. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> years and a lot of pressure regarding the accident blamed on pilot error . well, today, the government announced major changes for pilot training . the most significant changes in two decades. nbc's tom costello is at the pilot training center in orlando, good evening.

>> reporter: hi, brian, this is all about requiring more time in the sophisticated training simulators like the ones that jetblue operates here in atlanta. not just for them, but other pilots as well. and it is about giving the pilots time in the sophisticated simulators, time the faa says is very valuable. nearly five years ago this stalled and crashed outside of buffalo. today, the faa applauded the families of flight 3407 for demanding change in the cockpit and at the airlines.

>> they have channelled their grief into pushing for safety that will benefit millions of families.

>> reporter: today, the faa insisted the airlines ramp up the use of training in their simulators, the kind of training that jetblue uses to train pilots each year. among that, the captain says it ensures that pilots know how to respond to a stall warning. this stall warning, you want them to experience in a simulator?

>> absolutely, we want them to know what happens if it happens in an aircraft.

>> reporter: mid-air stalls are what was thought to have brought down a plane over france. today's modern simulators show every possible situation for a pilot, from takeoff to landing and any potential emergency.

>> the first time you go fly the actual aircraft, it is very difficult to tell the difference between the experience you have in the simulator and the one you have in the aircraft.

>> this is that real?

>> that is that real.

>> reporter: while they use it in their training, the faa wants to see more, new training to recover from a mid-air stall and a requirement for airlines to track pilot training and on the job performance. the pilot had a history of poor performance. for the mother of the passenger that died on that flight, it is a victory.

>> it is very hard to take, but 3407 was a preventible accident, and we don't ever want that happening again.

>> reporter: the faa is also training on how to deal with the dangerous cross winds, they changed the minimum for pilots and others under pressure from congress and those colgan families.

>> tom costello, thank you.