Government not ensuring pilot skills are sharp

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WASHINGTON — The government is falling short in making sure that airline pilots keep up their flying skills and get full training on how to monitor the sophisticated automated control systems in cockpits.

That’s according to the Transportation Department’s internal watchdog.

Most airline flying today is done through automated systems that pilots closely monitor. Pilots use manual flying skills primarily during takeoffs and landings.

Accident investigations have raised concern that pilots’ manual flying skills are becoming rusty, and that pilots get distracted when watching instrument screens for long periods.

The inspector general’s report — obtained by The Associated Press — says the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t making sure airline training programs adequately address pilots’ monitoring or that pilots get a chance to use their manual flying skills.