Pilot Training Final Rule Due Mid-October

Buffalo, New York- March 19, 2013 – With two deadlines for critical safety rules fast-approaching, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ announced that they will be in attendance at Wednesday’s hearing to be held by the Senate Commerce Committee on “Aviation Safety: FAA’s Progress on Key Safety Initiatives.”


“We are really getting down to crunch time with these critical final rules on pilot qualifications and training,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year-old daughter Lorin. “When you are dealing with a bureaucratic Bermuda Triangle of FAA, DOT, and OMB, there are plenty of opportunities for delays and missteps to occur. And as always the airlines and their lobbyists are lurking in the shadows trying to stall and water down these initiatives in any way possible. We are counting on Administrator Huerta to deliver good news in terms of his agency’s progress in (finally) achieving these safety reforms. They are critical in raising the bar for our nation’s regional airlines and their commitment to, and investment in, safety.”

The “Pilot Certification and Qualification Requirements” rulemaking, which will significantly raise the entry level qualifications of First Officers at regional airlines, is due on August 1 of this year. The “Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers” rulemaking, which will revamp the pilot training curriculum for commercial airlines, has been in progress at FAA since 1999, is already over 17 months overdue, and now faces a revised deadline of October 21 of this year.

In addition to FAA Administrator Huerta, the hearing will feature testimony from NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, whose agency was responsible for the investigation and final report on the crash of Flight 3407. The NTSB’s findings were a driving force behind many of the provisions included in the 2010 Airline Safety Act.

“Chairman Hersman’s presence will serve as a vivid reminder of why these safety initiatives needed to be implemented yesterday” stated Susan Bourque, of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister, Beverly Eckert, a noted 9/11 widow and activist. “She consistently makes the argument that ‘Safety delayed is safety denied’, and when you look at the FAA’s foot-dragging when it comes to addressing the issues revealed by the Flight 3407 investigation like stall recognition and recovery training, and the maintenance of comprehensive pilot training records, that mantra could not be any more evident. Every unaddressed safety recommendation leaves a dangerous gap that could potentially result in another completely avoidable tragedy like Flight 3407. Shame on FAA, DOT, OMB, and yes, even the White House, if we cannot finally complete these common-sense safety reforms.”

Wednesday’s hearing will be held at 2:30 pm in Room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building.