Pilot Training Added To Latest FAA Extension Bill

 - August 3, 2010, 1:04 PM

Faced with leaving for vacation without passing an FAA reauthorization bill that would tighten pilot training rules, lawmakers last week stripped those provisions from the main bill and added them to a 15th extension of the funding and programs for the agency. Families of the victims of Colgan Air’s Flight 3407 have been lobbying arduously for improved pilot training since the regional turboprop crashed near Buffalo, N.Y., in February last year. Lawmakers said the latest extension, which expires September 30, will boost pilot-training programs, combat pilot fatigue and dramatically increase requirements for pilots of passenger airlines to have more flying experience by mandating a minimum of 1,500 hours–up from the current 250–before they can fly “commercial aircraft.” Congress has been laboring for nearly three years to pass a new long-term FAA reauthorization package, but has been frustrated by controversial provisions such as union organizing at FedEx and approval of long-distance flights from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.