US bill would force pilots to log more hours to qualify to fly cargo planes

2012 03 02

THE federal US government is proposing new legislation that would require pilots to clock up six times more flight training hours to qualify as a co-pilot on a commercial airline or cargo freighter.

Subject to approval, the Federal Aviation Administration regulation would force pilots to receive 1,500 hours of flying time compared to the current rule of 250 hours to become a first officer. Furthermore, the authorities are also demanding new training programmes for specific aircraft.

"Our pilots need to have the right training and the right qualifications so they can be prepared to handle any situation they encounter in the cockpit," FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta was quoted as saying in a Reuter's report.

The tabling of the new bill follows in the wake of a 2009 crash of a commuter plane in Buffalo that killed 50 people, in which investigators determined that the crews failure to address a problem when preparing to land was to blame for the tragedy.

The report said the new regulation is targeted at mainly pilots who fly commuter or smaller feeder planes.

The FAA proposal is subject to a 60-day comment period.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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