Australia Wants Airline Pilots To Learn Stall Recovery

Australia’s aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), will make Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (URPT) compulsory ten years after first recognizing a need for the training.

Australia’s aviation safety regulator is to mandate Upset Prevention and Recovery Training. Photo: Melbourne Airport Newsroom

Australian URPT rule to take effect in December

First reported in Australian Aviation, CASA’s ruling kicks in on December 2 and will initially target pilots flying aircraft carrying 30 or more passengers or flying aircraft with a maximum take-off weight greater than 8,618 kilograms.

The ruling will mean Qantas, Regional Express (Rex), Jetstar, Alliance Airlines, and Virgin Australia, among others, will have to build URPT into their training programs by March 31, 2022.

The training gives pilots the skills to recognize, prevent, and recover from unanticipated airborne incidents. URPT specifically targets loss of control inflight (LOC-I). CASA notes LOC-I accidents often have catastrophic results with very few, if any, survivors.

“Irrespective of a pilot’s license, experience, hours, or aircraft type, LOC-I has resulted in more lives lost than any other cause of accidents,” says specialist URPT provider UPRT Australia.

“UPRT is recognized by ICAO, IATA, and global aviation safety regulators as the necessary building block to improve pilot skills in the prevention of a LOC-I accident.”

The new CASA rule on URPT will capture most commercial pilots in Australia. Photo: CASA Newsroom

CASA looks to ICAO and FAA guidelines on URPT

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has previously said that all pilots in its 190 plus member countries should incorporate UPRT in actual flight before commercial licensing.

The training is required in the United States for pilots who fly aircraft with a seating capacity of more than nine seats.

CASA told Australia Aviation the new local URPT had been heavily influenced by ICAO and FAA guidelines.

One of the best-known recent LOC-I incidents was the 2009 Air France crash. The Airbus A330-200 stalled midway over the Atlantic on a flight between Rio de Janeiro and Paris. The pilots failed to recover from the stall, and the jet crashed into the sea, killing all 228 onboard.

CASA says the causes of inflight loss of control, whether transitory or extended, are many but can be broadly categorized into three groups – aircraft systems induced, environmentally induced, and/or pilot/human-induced.

The safety regular says pilot-induced accidents represented the most frequently identified loss of control cause. This mostly results from inappropriate flight control inputs, one or more flight crew members becoming spatially disoriented, poor aircraft energy management, one or more flight crew pilot members being distracted, and/or improper training.

The crash of an Air France A330 in 2009 focused attention on loss of control incidents. Photo: Air France

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URPT puts a focus on managing stalls

CASA’s new training requirements will follow the prescription in Section 208 of the United States’ Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act (2010). That mandates pilot ground training and flight training or flight simulator training that teaches them to recognize and avoid a stall of an aircraft or, if not avoided, to recover from the stall.

The training will also teach pilots to recognize and avoid an upset of an aircraft or, if not avoided, to execute such techniques as available data indicate are appropriate to recover from the upset.

“Continued emphasis on stall and recovery training is warranted in training programs to
undo years of applying incorrect stall or upset recovery procedures and use of training
devices incapable of adequately representing the characteristics of the aircraft in the
post-stall warning regime,” says CASA in its URPT advisory circular.

For the first phase of UPRT implementation in Australia, CASA expects all commercial domestic and international pilots to have commenced the URPT theory program by the end of March.