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New House transportation chair questions 1,500-hour rule implemented following crash of Flight 3407
Congressman Brian Higgins released a statement after Rep. Sam Graves, the new chair of the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, expressed opposition to the 1,500-hour rule training requirement for pilots.
Higgins said, “Providing the American public with a safe airspace is the mission of the Federal Aviation Administration and should be the imperative of this Congress in considering a new bill on the FAA this year. The legislative response to the tragedy of Flight 3407, which implemented some consensus driven recommendations and those made by the National Transportation Safety Board in response to the causation of the crash, have worked. That is a success that congressional leaders need to affirm and build on, not minimize. Americans should have assurance that Congress will continue to uphold one level of safety so that the tragedy that the Western New York community experienced never happens again.”
Higgins represents Western New York, including the Buffalo Niagara International Airport - the destination for Flight 3407, which crashed in Clarence on Feb. 12, 2009, killing all on board and one on the ground.
A press release stated, “Following the tragedy, Congressman Higgins fought alongside the families of Flight 3407 to implement flight safety improvements included in the Federal Aviation Administration Act of 2010. These included measures related to pilot fatigue, consumer transparency, the implementation of the Pilot Records Database, and expanded pilot training including a policy often referred to as the 1,500-hour rule. Under previous law, some pilots were only required to log 250 flight hours before working for a commercial airline.”
Graves announced the committee will hold its first hearing on FAA reauthorization on Feb. 7.