Delta Air Lines is sending its senior instructors to a one-week upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) program that includes ground, in-aircraft and full-motion simulator instruction aimed at helping the airline better train its line pilots to avoid or recover from loss-of-control (LOC) incidents.

The move comes ahead of a March 2019 FAA mandate that will require airlines to provide pilots with UPRT during initial, transition, differences, upgrade, requalification and recurrent training to help counter LOC accidents, which tend to be preceded by an upset.

The mandate is one of several rule changes spawned in part by the 2009 LOC crash near Buffalo, New York, of a Continental Connection Bombardier Q400 turboprop operated by Colgan Air.

The training has also been identified as a key intervention by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), which is asking airlines to begin providing UPRT and approach–to-stall recovery procedures using realistic scenarios, including an unreliable airspeed and an aircraft’s autoflight systems engaged. So-called Safety Enhancement 196 is one of 19 interventions the government and industry team determined would have helped avoid 18 fatal LOC commercial aviation crashes in 2003-12. 

The group determined that training was a significant theme in nine of those accidents. The FAA recently released an Advisory Circular detailing the recommended training needed for an effective airline UPRT, based in part on the CAST analysis and the findings of an international LOC avoidance and recovery training group.

Delta, the first U.S. major to begin third-party training services for its instructors ahead of the mandate, plans to develop its own in-house type-specific UPRT program after all 16 of its senior instructors—two instructors per aircraft type in the fleet—complete the non-type-specific program this summer. 

To date, four instructors have completed the one-week Jet Upset Simulator Instructor course offered by Aviation Performance Solutions (APS) at its facility in Dallas, Texas.  

The course includes 10 hr. of ground training, four one-hour flights in an Extra 300 tandem-seat aerobatic aircraft, and two sessions in a Level D transport-category full-motion aircraft simulator. The Extra 300 in-aircraft training is used in part to introduce pilots to the visual sensations, g-forces and control inputs experienced during various upsets and recoveries in aircraft that are economical to operate and built to safely withstand high g-loads. 

APS has contracts for similar training for South African Airways instructor pilots and those of three other foreign airlines which the company has not identified. “We are either scheduling, or have proposals out to 17 other airlines,” says Paul “BJ” Ransbury, president of APS.

Competitors for the third-party services include Flight Research in Mojave, California, and Calspan in New York.