Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun

1500 hr bill passes senate!!!

Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web


Well-known member
May 14, 2003

Flight 3407 families' work pays off

Law will increase pilot training, manage fatigue

By Jerry Zremski

News Washington Bureau Chief
Published:July 30 2010, 11:06 AM
Updated: July 31, 2010, 0:02 AM

WASHINGTON -- The skies will soon be safer thanks to Senate action Friday that culminated a 15-month effort by the Families of Continental Flight 3407 to force airlines to hire more qualified pilots and then train them better.

The Senate passed a bill that increases the minimum number of flight hours for beginning passenger airline pilots from 250 to 1,500, and a White House spokeswoman said President Obama will sign the bill this weekend.

In addition, the bill mandates simulator stall-recovery training that the crew of Flight 3407 did not have in the aircraft they were flying from Newark to Buffalo on Feb. 12, 2009 -- when they botched the landing and sent the commuter plane crashing into the ground in Clarence, killing 50.

As soon as investigators found pilot error to be the central reason for the crash, the families started lobbying for safety improvements -- and in the bill finalized Friday, they got almost everything they wanted.

"This has truly been a historic day," said Scott Maurer, who lost his daughter, Lorin, in the crash. "Future generations will someday point back to this day as the day aviation safety took a giant leap forward."

Through a spokeswoman, Obama -- who met with the families in Buffalo in May -- lauded the legislation as well as the families' efforts.

"The families of Continental Flight 3407 have never stopped pushing for these safety improvements to honor their loved ones," said the White House spokeswoman, Moira Mack.

The families' fight for the legislation was a roller-coaster ride from the start, and its final passage was no exception.

After waiting all day and night on Thursday, the families, sitting in the House gallery, broke out in tears and cheers as the House approved the bill by voice vote shortly before midnight.

And on Friday morning, the families lingered in a Capitol Hill cafeteria after Senate aides told them the bill would pass at midday. But then Senate leaders changed their minds and rushed it to the floor in midmorning, meaning the legislation passed by unanimous consent before the families could get to the Senate chamber.

At 10:17 a.m. -- the same time that on the evening of Feb. 12, 2009, Flight 3407 crashed -- Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., took to the floor to praise the bill.

"We are taking long overdue action on these safety provisions to ensure that the flying public can truly expect one high level of safety in our skies," said Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee.

Later, at a meeting with 15 family members in his office, Dorgan -- a champion of the families' cause from the start -- praised them for their persistence.

"I think you can all take a great amount of pride in the fact that you've really made a difference," Dorgan said.

They did so by traveling to Washington again and again. Family members attended every aviation-related hearing in Congress in the past year, relentlessly buttonholing lawmakers and getting to know key staff members so well that they're on a first-name basis.

"We were there at every single intersection in the process," said Karen Eckert, who lost her sister, 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert, in the crash. Early on, the families made common cause with pilot unions and like-minded lawmakers who were appalled at the low pilot salaries and difficult working conditions at regional airlines like Colgan Air, the Continental subcontractor that ran Flight 3407.

To get better qualified pilots in the cockpit, requiring 1,500 hours of flight time "became a focal point," said Kevin Kuwik, who was Lorin Maurer's boyfriend.

"It wasn't our idea," he said. "It was the House, honestly, in collaboration with labor, that was the driving force, and we jumped on that train."

It quickly became a fast-moving train, too, with House members introducing the safety bill last July and the House adopting it by a 409-11 margin last October.

Problems ensued, though, as lawmakers tried to merge that House bill with a Senate bill reauthorizing funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and including similar, though slightly weaker, safety measures.

The search for a compromise got bogged down in side issues -- namely a proposal to make it easier for some FedEx workers to unionize, and the number of long-haul flights to Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington. Ultimately, the stalemate helped the Flight 3407 families. Senate aides said they felt they had little room to give to the House during negotiations -- meaning senators felt that they had to accept the House's stronger safety measures.

So with the larger FAA bill still in limbo, lawmakers from both sides of Capitol Hill and both parties agreed this week to write the safety changes into law right away, attached to a bill temporarily extending funding for the FAA. The result is "a strong commitment to improving aviation safety in our country," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

Many of the bill's major provisions are aimed at correcting problems highlighted in the crash of Flight 3407.

Colgan didn't know that the pilot of the plane had failed several flight tests before joining the airline -- but now a database of pilot records will be established to allow airlines to check such flight records.

Neither the pilot nor the co-pilot had a full night of bed rest before the fated flight -- but now the FAA will be required to draw up tougher rules aimed at controlling pilot fatigue.

And many of the passengers on the plane surely didn't know that Colgan was running the flight -- but now Web sites that sell plane tickets will have to say on the first page of any search the name of the carrier operating each leg of every flight.

For all of that, airline passengers have the Families of Continental Flight 3407 to thank, senators said.

"The American people owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they have done over these many, many months," said Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed.

"The families are utterly amazing," he said. "They've proven that a small group of dedicated people can get Washington to work, even if there are powerful interests against them."
This is a joke? 1500 hrs and 'stall recovery training'?

How about 10 hrs of rest after a 12 hr duty day?
It amazes me that sitting in a class room at riddle will subvert the 1500 hour requirement. I guess that's why the senator from ND was one of the pushers.
It amazes me that sitting in a class room at riddle will subvert the 1500 hour requirement. I guess that's why the senator from ND was one of the pushers.

My concern is that it leaves the reduction in hours for taking some dumb class up to the Administrator. Whats to stop him from giving 1250 hours credit for graduates of these places, to placate the industry?
It's a pretty tough Bill and there's no question that it will make it very difficult and extremely expensive for a young pilot to meet the requirements for air carrier employment.

It is left to be seen what, if anything, this will do to enhance safety.

I do like the fact that were going to get a serious review of the flt time/duty time rules but there's no telling what will come out at the end.

We'll see who likes it when you wind up being told that you can't commute. That one will likely cause an unprecedented upheaval of the industry unless they find ways around it.
As far as expensive to get 1500 hours... Flight instruct. I did it and had 1600 hours when I got hired. As far as the rest I mostly agree.
As far as expensive to get 1500 hours... Flight instruct. I did it and had 1600 hours when I got hired. As far as the rest I mostly agree.

If you haven't read the Bill, check out the language. It's not just 1500 hours; in fact it could even be less. But, unless I'm reading it wrong, you won't be able to get the experience required for the ATP just by flight instructing.
no i havnt read the whole thing in its present form... it changes the requirements for an ATP? i thought it made you need 1500 hours but not an ATP? i dunno... ill read it later and refrain from commenting about it anymore until I do.
As far as expensive to get 1500 hours... Flight instruct. I did it and had 1600 hours when I got hired. As far as the rest I mostly agree.

That is probably 2+ years at poverty wages for most. On top of college and flight training, THAT IS EXPENSIVE!!! (unless mommy and daddy paid for it!)

Latest resources