THE NAME GAME – Part 3: The Rise of Misinformation for Cabin Safety Training – CFR Part 142 and the G550EC

Part of the Name Game series on Corporate Flight Attendant Cabin Safety Training.

READ PART 1

READ PART 2

By Scott D. Arnold

My previous blog, The Name Game – Cabin Safety Training Branding, initiated a significant number of private messages and emails regarding the subject matter. Mainly, because there is way too much inconsistent and inaccurate information shared regarding cabin safety training. This misinformation affects all corporate flight attendants.  

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Therefore, I’m “peeling back some of the layers in the cabin safety training onion.” In this blog, I’ll be providing some checks and balances and clarifications— based on FACTUAL documentation (FARs) and not my opinion.  I know, I know – yes, I am going to be reciting regulations and yes, you can insert a yawn right now. Even the best of the best trainers cannot make regulations exciting and enticing.  With that said, pour some java or a red bull and let’s get to it because this is important! 

The two layers I am revealing here are; the CFR Part 142 Training Center claim and the Gulfstream G550 Evacuation Crewmember (G550EC) certification.

The CFR PART 142 Ruse

Training vendors who are grandstanding this FAA approval as a testament as to why their cabin safety training should take precedence over the other vendors is in fact – a ruse. By stating CFR Part 142, they are insinuating if you attend their cabin safety program, you are being trained by an FAA-certified and approved program. That’s a stretch and they’re assuming cabin crew will view it as a ‘shiny diamond’ instead of knowing what this regulation actually means. It’s a strategic ploy to overshadow competitors, who cannot hold a CFR Part 142 certification. Guess what? THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CABIN SAFETY ACCREDITATION! 

I see all too often comments on social media, “You need to attend ________ (I’m sure you all can fill in this blank) because they are an approved Part 142 facility and ____________ (insert any other vendor here) are not.” 

The surprising thing to me, it’s not just the company sales and marketing representatives who state this ruse. It’s also instructors and students (because why would they doubt their instructors?). As a cabin safety “subject matter expert,” I made it a point to actually read the regulations before I taught them. I don’t know about you but if I’m being instructed by a trainer who is misinterpreting regulations… I’m going to raise my hand in class and call BS. 

So what exactly is CFR Part 142? Let’s quote the reg right from the FAA CFR/FAR Manual, shall we?  

“14 CFR/FAR Part 142 permits a certificated training center or flight center, to use approved flight simulation training devices (FSTD) and aircraft in conjunction with approved curricula, qualify instructors, and evaluators to accomplish airman training and testing.”  

Airman = Pilots!  Which means these vendors are conducting cabin safety training in a facility that is FAA approved HOWEVER, this Part 142 approval has NOTHING to do with cabin safety training and has everything to do with airman certifications – aka flight simulators (flying the plane) and not cabin trainer mockups. 

The reality check: The “two gold standards” actually are both CFR Part 142. You read that correctly – both.  Yet, many shout this claim for one vendor from the rafters. While the other does not. I’m assuming the other doesn’t because they read the regs. There is also a third vendor who also claims they are CFR Part 142. This reach is so far out there, I would literally dislocate my shoulder trying to obtain it. 

You shouldn’t be selecting training vendors because of their Part 142 claim, as it doesn’t apply to the validity of the cabin safety courseware. You should be selecting a vendor on quality of content, merit, recognition, and acceptance. 

The G550 EC

Are you Gulfstream G550 Evacuation Crewmember Trained (G550EC)? 

Are you aware the G550EC is a mandatory regulatory requirement if carrying more than 10 passengers on a G550, no matter what type of operation: private or charter?

  • Are you aware your standard cabin safety training is not sufficient for G550EC?  
  • Did your training vendor certify you as a G550EC?
  • Are you aware this is a recurrent required training?
  • Is your training vendor capable of certifying you as a G550EC? 

Even though a vendor offers G550EC, you most likely have to specifically request it as it’s often an add-on and not included in the standard course curriculum. If you are flying for a private owner on any other aircraft type, then of course this is not needed. If you are an independent contractor, you should be G550EC certified! If you fly on a G550, you definitely should be certified. Period.

The two “gold standard” vendors provide G550EC. There are several other training vendors who feature G550EC Training in their course curriculums. However, just because it’s listed on their website, doesn’t make it true. I will never name names or make any assumptions in a public forum.  The omission of naming names by no means implies they are incapable of providing the G550EC certification. This omission also doesn’t imply they are capable. 

I recently reviewed five of the “other” training vendor’s cabin safety course curriculums featured on their websites. This was quite interesting. 

The results below are in random order… and no, they are not listed in alphabetical order for the savvy:

  • Vendor 1: G550EC not listed
  • Vendor 2: G550EC listed  – but I know for a fact, they do not meet the training requirements because I have audited this vendor – twice.
  • Vendor 3: G550EC not listed
  • Vendor 4: G550EC listed – CONFIRMED based on a conducted site tour. 
  • Vendor 5: G550EC listed – along with this statement, “… training meets most of the recurrent FAA requirements for the G550 evacuation crew member…”

“Meets most”? What does that even mean? They may very well provide everything required along with some additional hands-on with a real G550 (which is acceptable), but this statement is very vague (so I have no idea).

Below is the excerpt of the training requirements for G550EC taken directly from Gulfstream’s OMS (Operating Manual Supplement) G550 Evacuation Crewmember Training Manual (56 total pages). All of these must be met by the training vendor in order to provide G550EC along with the 10 question exam, which is included the OMS. 

 – – – – – –

Each training program must provide emergency training for each aircraft configuration (i.e., training for directing passenger flow and illustrate the recommended method for evacuating through the elliptical exits for the various interior configurations. Passenger Flow and Passenger Briefing sections) and each kind of operation conducted.

Emergency training must provide the following:

A. Instruction in emergency assignments and procedures, including coordination among crewmembers;

B. Individual instruction in the location, function, and operation of emergency equipment used in evacuation; and

C. Instruction in the handling of emergency situations including evacuation.

For initial and recurrent training, each evacuation crewmember must perform at least the following emergency drills using a representative Gulfstream aircraft or cabin mockup training device which has the Gulfstream elliptical exits installed:

Specific interior configuration training that provides the recommended methods for evacuating through the Gulfstream elliptical exits for the specific interior configuration(s) for which operation is desired (see Passenger Briefing section) must be provided (i.e., divan, credenza and single/club seating configurations. Training for the specific interior configuration(s) may be provided through the use of a video-tape which would provide egress information similar to that provided in the Passenger Briefing section or by conducting an actual egress on an aircraft outfitted with that specific interior along with the other training required herein.

Operation and use of Gulfstream elliptical exits. Training must include personal experience in opening and egressing through an elliptical exit on either a representative Gulfstream aircraft or a cabin mockup training device that has the Gulfstream elliptical exits installed. (Note: The exit used for this egress exercise must latch the same, open the same, and be similar in weight to that of a G500 aircraft exit).

This must be conducted with a minimum of five (5) “passengers” other than the trainee (crewmember training classmates may be used for this activity). At least one of these individuals must simulate or represent a person who does not fit through, or is otherwise incapable of utilizing, the Gulfstream elliptical exit.

 – – – – 

G550EC SUMMARY:

  • “Exits” – plural – meaning more than one elliptical overwing exit for training.
  • Must be conducted with a minimum of five “passengers” – so if the class is small, do they rally up other people to portray the “passengers” so you are evacuating a minimum of five? 
  • The exit must become blocked during the scenario and a redirect of the remaining “passengers” is required.
  • Must be conducted on a Gulfstream aircraft or mock up configured with the various seating configurations – divan, credenza, conference table, etc.
  • Hands-on opening exits – No pretending.

G550EC Exam (10 questions)

Did your training vendor conduct these scenarios and have the proper training mock up equipment and/or audio visual in order to meet the FAA and Gulfstream mandatory training requirements to provide G550EC? Did you have G550 specific questions on your final exam? Or did you take the G550 10 question exam? Do they even provide a final exam? 

If a vendor is truly invested in providing quality cabin safety training, why wouldn’t they provide the only FAA mandated certification that applies to corporate flight attendants?  The G550 is a very popular and heavily used business jet, as there are over 500 actively flying. If they say anything to the contrary as to why it’s not necessary, I already stated the fact of why it is very important training AND REQUIRED. 

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU: The CFA Connection

If you are unfamiliar with why G550EC is required and the training criteria. We have provided an AIN article from 2008 when it rolled out. It doesn’t explain all of the why’s but you’ll get the gist of it. There is also an excerpt from the G550 OMS Manual stating all of the training mandates and requirements. Both documents are available to download and featured in the G550 EC section of this resource page.

YES, VET YOUR CABIN SAFETY TRAINING VENDORS!

All cabin safety training vendors should be complying with established best practices and training guidelines set by FAR135 rules and regulations. Hopefully, the curriculum they provide matches the criteria (since there is no governing oversight). 

If they are not providing or incapable of providing the G550EC, which is required training you either: Cannot fly on this popular aircraft (and as an independent contractor, it’s difficult to avoid) -or- you now have to spend even more of your hard-earned money to acquire this certification because of the vendor’s shortcomings— something to consider. Actually, not should – you need to consider. 

SUMMARY

As I stated, do they or don’t they? I don’t know because I haven’t audited or attended most of these vendors. I am fairly confident I won’t be receiving any invitations to audit their programs any time soon.  

  • Without oversight and accountability  >  liberties are taken
  • Without oversight and accountability  >  interpretations vary
  • Without oversight and accountability  >  cabin safety training is more like “cabin safety lite”
  • Without oversight and accountability  >  CFA’s will never receive the accreditation we deserve

Therefore, it’s up to you (us), not only as professional corporate crew but also as savvy consumers willing to challenge them in the Name Game. If we want to maintain the importance of cabin safety standards and the justification of the third crew member, then WE need to align for the betterment of our career recognition. We should demand that these training vendors do better. Be better. Because they need to up their game – all of them!

Business Aviation is one of the safest modes of transportation, without question. Are some of these vendors betting on this stellar statistic?  No accidents = No accountability?

I certainly don’t wish for a G550 accident to prove my point.  Are you willing to take that risk of proving my point?

About the Author Scott Arnold

Scott began his aviation career in 1988 as a commercial flight attendant, transitioned into business aviation in 2001, is the Founder of The CFA Connection resource platform and Sajet Solutions, former director of a major crew staffing company, and the past Chair NBAA Flight Attendants Committee, and is the Chief Flight Attendant for a private owner.