The FAA in June adopted a national policy notice instructing agency personnel to correct simple mistakes arising from a lack of understanding or diminished piloting skills through training and education rather than enforcement action. It is unclear if those changes are being broadly implemented in the field.
That’s the overwhelming skepticism among pilots and journalists alike… I got that opening paragraph from an article in Flying Magazine.
But I’m happy to report that the initiative is apparently real. I’m on the FAA Safety Team in the San Jose region, and I was recently asked by the FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) to conduct some remedial training as a result of this new program.
A pilot deviation was issued by ATC at Monterey (KMRY) to a pilot who violated a taxi clearance. The FSDO investigator found the airman to be apologetic, cooperative, and willing to undergo training in lieu of a certificate action (what pilot wouldn’t?!). I was paired with him and provided ground and flight training (with emphasis on airport diagrams, taxi operations). Upon completion, a quick note back to the FSDO was all it took to erase the deviation completely from the airman’s file.
Sounds like a great program. So remember, if you ever find yourself in trouble and on the phone with the FSDO: be cooperative, apologetic, and ask for training. It might just get you off the hook.