Pilot Error's Southern California premiere features star Kate Thomsen along with her costars Richard Riehle, Larry Herron and Robert Cicchini as well as editor Gene Gamache and Pasadena composer Garth Neustadter. This special event will also include a discussion with MD-11 Captain Shem Malmquest, a veteran international aviation accident investigator. He will lead a discussion on the story of Air France 447, the plane that inspired this feature.
Over the past seven years there have been three high altitude airlines stalls over the South Atlantic (Air France, 2009), the Java Sea (Air Asia, 2014) and in Mali (Air Algerie, 2014) that have led to crashes taking the lives of 506 people. Approach to stall and stall recovery training for these aircraft at cruise altitude had been based criteria based on designing test standards rather than actual real world flight procedures. In addition there was an assumption that an actual stall at cruise altitude in a transport airplane was extremely unlikely. In all three cases high altitude convective storms disrupted normal flight and the aircraft entered aerodynamic stalls. Although all three aircraft were flown by highly experienced crews none of the pilots had been trained how to recognize high altitude stalls. In addition none of these veteran pilots had received training on how to recover from stalls at cruise altitude. A review of accident data shows that only a few well trained test pilots had the training necessary to recover from these stalls.
Following several accidents and after considerable study FAA saw the need for more robust stall training and began collecting the data necessary in flight to accomplish this. These cruise altitude stall tests and related data supplied independently demonstrated that industry wide simulator training for approach to stall and stall recovery at high altitude was modeled incorrectly. The FAA, the European Air Safety Agency as well as regulatory agencies in Canada and Australia and other countries are correcting the problem by requiring that all air carriers reprogram their simulators so pilots can be correctly trained on approach to stall and stall recovery. The FAA announced the new flight simulator regulation effective May 31. The simulator training upgrades must be completed by 2019. It is anticipated that carriers worldwide will implement this requirement when it is mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization.