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Collins, Higgins, Reed, Slaughter fight against 'watering down' pilot training requirements

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Sat, Sep 16th 2017 09:45 am
Congressman Chris Collins and 18 additional members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael P. Huerta expressing concern and disappointment with recommendations to modify and repeal pilot training rules.
Suggested changes from the aviation rulemaking advisory committee would reduce the training and experience requirements specified in the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010. Since the passage of this legislation, and enactment of a rule requiring pilots have 1,500 training hours, there have been zero fatalities on commercial airlines.
The bipartisan action to achieve one level of safety among this nation's regional and mainline carriers was sparked in 2009 by the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in Clarence Center. The aviation rulemaking advisory committee said the pilot training qualifications impose more costs than benefits to regional airlines. Local lawmakers pointed out that, since implementation of qualification rules, the U.S. has experienced the safest period in aviation history.
"Thanks to the families of Flight 3407, our skies have been safe for the last seven years, because of enhanced training requirements," Collins said. "We will not give up on our fight to keep these requirements in place. If the regional airlines want to recruit more pilots, they should offer better wages and better working conditions."
Congressman Brian Higgins said, "Industry decisions should be based on public safety, not industry profits. Pilot training concessions come at the expense of human life. Hard-fought reforms, championed by the Flight 3407 families, have resulted in no further lives lost and safer skies for everyone. We will fight to keep it that way."
Congressman Tom Reed said, "We will always remember the tragedy that took the lives of so many in the crash of Flight 3407. We will continue to honor their memory by standing with their loved ones to enhance flight safety regulations. We need to keep these important reforms in place to prevent such fatalities from occurring in the future. I am happy to join with my colleges to urge Secretary Chao to not reverse these important regulations."
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said, "It is because of the tireless work of Flight 3407 families that we were able to pass into law new standards mandating that every pilot, whether regional or commercial, is well-trained and well-rested. These families have turned their immeasurable grief and loss into action that has protected the life of every person who gets on an airplane. There hasn't been a single fatal regional airline crash since these measures were enacted, and it is inconceivable that these safeguards could be put on the chopping block by the administration. This is perfect example of why efforts to erase regulations that protect the health and safety of all Americans are so dangerous. We must protect the gains we've made and the safety of all air travelers."

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