CLARENCE, NY (WKBW) - Close to a dozen people who lost their loved ones on Colgan Air Flight 3407 in 2009, gathered in Clarence Wednesday to declare a major victory in their fight for stricter airline safety requirements. The FAA announced the implementation of new pilot training rules, specifically for first officers/co-pilots. The new mandate will require first officers to complete 1,500 hours of training, up from the current 250 hours of training. The Flight 3407 Family Group says today's announcement is a major victory, but their fight is far from over. The group has made dozens of trips to Washington, D.C. to urge lawmakers to pass tighter regulations when it comes to pilot flying experience and training. Their mission is to make sure travelers have pilots who are well qualified and experienced in the cockpit.
According to a release:
The FAA finalized and signed a pilot qualification rule which includes:
* 1500 hours needed for an Airline Transport Pilot certification (ATP), exceptions for military pilots (750 hours), bachelor degrees in aviation (1,000 hours), 30-hr associate degree programs (1,250 hours).
* Ages 21-23 can get restricted ATP if fly as Second In Command (co-pilot).
* Requires "seasoning of pilots" meaning 1,000 hours as Second in Command (co-pilot) before qualified as pilot in command. ATP certification program was strengthened, requiring a 7 day course including 30 hours academic training and 10 hours simulation training.
Working closely with Flight 3407 families the Western New York delegation pushed for, and in 2010 Congress approved, sweeping new aviation safety requirements for pilots and airlines which included new transparencies for regional carriers, increased training for pilots and new policies to protect against pilot fatigue.
Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed on approach to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on February 12, 2009, killing all on board and one inside a home. Pilot training and fatigue were cited as factors in the crash.