Keep Sights Set on October Date for Stricter Crewmember Training Standards

Buffalo, New York- July 10, 2013 – The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407′ issued the following statement in response to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta’s Wednesday release of tougher pilot qualification and certification standards for all future commercial airline first officers. The rulemaking was directed by the landmark 2010 “Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act’ which was unanimously passed by both houses of Congress.


“Today’s announcement marks a significant achievement in our fight to achieve a TRUE ‘One Level of Safety’ for all commercial airline passengers, whether they are flying on regional or mainline carriers. We dedicate it the memory of our loved ones who lost their lives in a needless and highly avoidable tragedy, because a regional airline took numerous shortcuts in how it hired, trained, scheduled, and resourced its pilots. We reiterate that every passenger setting foot on a commercial flight deserves the same level of commitment to, and investment in safety, from the carrier operating that flight, whether it be United, Pinnacle, Mesaba, or any other Part 121 carrier.

“This final rule will significantly improve the foundation of all pilots entering the cockpits of commercial airliners. From a qualitative standpoint, they will go through a more robust Airline Transport Pilot Certification training program, that will better prepare all first officers entering the cockpits of regional airlines to face challenges such as adverse weather conditions, as well as stall and upset situations. From a quantitative standpoint, they will accumulate more hands-on flying time which will serve to enhance their stick-and-rudder skills, which seemingly have been diminished in the latest generation of pilots due to an increasing reliance on technology in the cockpit.

“Of course, with todays’s accomplishment, there is still much work to be done. We remain focused on Administrator Huerta’s pledge to complete a critical pilot training rule by mid-October. And we look forward to meeting with new Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx later this month, to bring him up to speed on our efforts, and to ask for his support in executing the remaining provisions of the safety bill. The development and implementation of the electronic pilot records database, and rulemakings on Safety Management Systems, and Pilot Mentoring, Leadership, and Professional Development, still remain on our radar.

“Finally, we would like to recognize numerous people for their efforts to make today possible. First, we must thank FAA Administrator Huerta, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Gilligan, and the entire team at FAA, DOT, and OMB for seeing this rulemaking project through to completion. Chairman Hersman and her entire team at NTSB have also been indispensable to our efforts throughout the process. We must also recognize the Western New York congressional delegation and their staffs, to include Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Representatives Slaughter, Higgins, Reed, and Collins for their diligence and perseverance over the past four-plus years. We owe a major debt of gratitude to the Aviation Subcommittees in both houses, the members and their staffs, to include Senators Cantwell and Ayotte, and Representatives LoBiondo and Larsen, as well as their predecessors who did so much to make this possible including Senator Dorgan and Representatives Oberstar, Mica, Costello, and Petri. Senator Rockefeller has provided tremendous leadership and support at the full committee level thoughout as well. We also are thankful for every member, Senator or Representative, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, who supported us through votes, sponsoring legislation, or signing onto letters. And we would be remiss if we didn’t single out Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles, the crew of the Miracle on the Hudson, for the incredible expertise and support they have provided us. There are so many others, too many to be named, who have encouraged our efforts along the way, and we thank them all for all that has been done of behalf of our loved ones to ensure that the mistakes of Flight 3407 are never repeated again.”

To directly speak to a family group member for reaction, please contact Takla Boujaoude at