NTSB talk FAA Part 135 and FAA Part 121: Plans to combine regulatory standards and the need for continuous training

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

As you may know, the NTSB investigates accidents in aviation and use their findings to make recommendations with the hope to improve the safety of aviation transportation.

A recent webinar, ‘NTSB 2019 - 2020 Most Wanted List Kickoff Event’, by the NTSB Chairman Sumwalt and associates, raised some important aviation safety concerns and potential plans.

More specifically, the NTSB recommends changes towards FAA Part 135 Aircraft Flight Operations.

Current research by the NTSB reveal most American aviation accidents link heavily to FAA Part 135 operators 

The NTSB's recent investigations into American aviation accidents that have killed passengers and crew members fall mainly with FAA Part 135 operators compared to FAA 121 airliners.

That’s not to say that FAA Part 135 operators do not operate safely, as many do, however, there seems to be an overall link between some FAA Part 135 operators and major aviation accidents greater than that of FAA 121 airliners.

The NTSB claims a dominant cause of such findings relate to differences between FAA Part 135 and FAA Part 121 in regulatory standards, training and experience.

FAA Part 135 requires much less on-going learning and training to continue to hold a valid license in comparison to FAA Part 121.

Here at Nubis Aviation Training, we believe such concerns raised by the NTSB reflect all regulatory standards including UK CAA.

Just look at the differences between the theoretical knowledge required for commercial pilots against private pilots.

UK CAA Commercial Pilots vs Private Pilots theoretical knowledge

Commercial Pilots

UK CAA Commercial Pilots requirements

Private Pilots

UK CAA Private Pilots requirements

Why does this difference between private and commercial pilots matter?

The problem sits with the fact that FAA Part 135 operators, or private pilots, require much less training and regulatory standards than that of FAA Part 121 airliners, or commercial pilots, despite effectively carrying out the same job role.

The NTSB believes that a paying passenger should have the same level of safety on a private operator as they would receive on a commercial airline.

Many passengers do not understand the difference between private operators and commercial operators.

So, for instance, when a paying passenger takes a sightseeing tour under FAA Part 135, they're unaware of the increased risk as a result of less on-going and compulsory training requirements. 

Should there be a different level of safety for paying passengers? Should there be a different level of regulatory standards and training requirements for commercial and private pilots?

The NTSB pointed out that with anything we do in life, we evaluate the risk. Is the risk acceptable? If not, let’s put controls on the risk and lower the risk.

The board believes the way forward requires the equivalent level of safety and training for all pilots regardless of whether operating under FAA Part 135 or FAA Part 121.

The NTSB “don’t believe safety should be a luxury” for anyone involved – paying passengers and pilots.

It would be in everyone's best interest to combine both courses and have pilots learn all aspects of regulatory training to ensure future safety.

How would the transition combine FAA Part 135 and FAA Part 121 under the same regulatory standards be possible?

The comments raised by the NTSB to combine both commercial pilot training with private pilot training highlights the importance of keeping up-to-date with regulatory standards.

The future looks to combine the two and increases the likelihood of other global regulatory standards to follow suit. 

Here at Nubis Aviation Training, we provide continuous, flexible and adaptable training to ensure you can learn in a stress-free, cost-effective and time-efficient environment.

We update all our regulatory courses to meet international standards. 

Sign up with us today and never miss changes in your aviation training. 

Find out more here: ‘Everything you need to know about Nubis Aviation Training’

Watch the NTSB webinar here.

Read more about CAA commercial & private pilots here.