As Congress Hits Recess, Family Group Reminds White House, DOT, FAA That October 2013 is Too Late
Buffalo, New York- August 2, 2012 – As Congress readies for its August recess, the ‘Families of Continental (now United) Flight 3407′ praised a joint House letter signed by 46 representatives to acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta calling on FAA to move up its target date for introducing a crucial final rule that would significantly modernize the curriculum for airlines’ crewmember training programs. Recognizing that the Airline Safety Act of 2010 mandated that this rule be completed in October 2011, the letter, which was led by Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY-27) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH-2), labeled the proposed target date of October 2013 ‘unacceptable’, and echoed the family group’s call to quickly complete the critical safety initiative in the interest of achieving a true ‘One Level of Safety’ for our nation’s regional airlines.
“FAA’s past twenty years are littered with groups and causes like ours who have simply been worn down and outlasted by the glacial pace of FAA completing critical safety rulemakings,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty-year-old daughter Lorin. “In the two years since the Airline Safety Act was passed and signed into law, we have seen much to be encouraged about, but when you have the airlines and their lobbyists engaging in guerilla warfare in the dark hallways in Washington, it is hard for a group of ‘little people’ like us to stand up to that sort of pressure. A more robust pilot training program at Colgan Air, particularly in regards to stall recognition and recovery, would certainly have been able to prevent this needless loss of life from occurring, and that is precisely what this rule will achieve. We extend our deepest gratitude to every member who signed this letter, on both sides of the aisle, recognizing the importance of finalizing this common-sense safety regulation sooner rather than later.”
“Furthermore, Mr. Huerta assured Senator Rockefeller at his confirmation hearing that he would do everything in his power to expedite this process, and we call on President Obama, Secretary LaHood, and in particular the White House Office of Management and Budget, to step up to the plate and work together with FAA to achieve this aim. Regional airlines have seemingly had free reign to do as they please in regards to training and numerous other operational areas for far too long, and it is long past due to tighten this up. Waiting until October 2013 to issue this final rule, followed by a five year compliance window, is simply not in the best interest of the flying public, and we cannot allow that to happen quietly.”
The group plans to return to Washington this Fall to keep up the heat on FAA, DOT, and OMB regarding both this rulemaking on pilot training, as well as an in-progress one on pilot certification and qualifications, two high-priority areas in achieving the elusive ‘One Level of Safety’.