FAA proposes changes to new pilot certification

The Federal Aviation Administration is accepting comment until April 9 on whether current certification requirements for new commercial pilots are adequate, according to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) published in the Feb. 8 Federal Register.

According to the notice, the changes would affect pilots conducting domestic, flag and supplemental operations. The ruling relates to the Feb. 12, 2009, Colgan Air Inc. Bombardier airplane crash near Buffalo-Niagra International Airport. Upon its approach, the plane crashed into a residence in Clarence Center, NY. The two pilots, two flight attendants and 45 passengers were killed, as well as one person on the ground.

During a Feb. 2 hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation, FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt testified that the agency is committed to improving airline safety and outlined a rulemaking for pilot flight time, rest and fatigue; a ruling to enhance training programs; changes to flight crew requirements; and a review of pilot records.

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