AIRLINE WANTS TO REDUCE REQUIRED CO-PILOT FLIGHT TIME TO 700 HOURS FROM 1500.
AIRLINE SAFETY DOOMSDAY AHEAD.
An airline that maintains its own flight school wants the FAA to reduce the required flight time for its first officers from 1500 to only 700.
It claims that in 700 hours its student pilots have enough experience to serve in a support capacity to a Captain who has more than the required flight time and will not compromise safety.
The 1500-hour requirement for first officers followed a tragic crash of a Colgan Airways turboprop crash in icing conditions on approach to Buffalo N.Y. While the NTSB’s probable cause unfairly blamed the pilots, the new higher flight experience requirement for first officers was designed to bring more skill into the cockpit.
Here’s the problem with the airline’s logic which the FAA will likely go along with. Flight time is not an indicator of experience, it is a number of hours of flight time. Experience is time in the air, time in the type aircraft and years of experiencing all types of weather, lots of emergencies and abnormal conditions in airplanes. That’s why big airlines always had an apprentice program that required a pilot to get years in the cockpit before he became qualified to be a captain or even a first officer.
If the FAA allows this reduction in flight time to be the rule, I predict an airline safety disaster. I had friends who claimed to know it all after just 600 hours. They didn’t but are a risk to themselves and others. The FAA statistics show that most accidents occur when the pilot has between 500 and 1000 hours pilot time. That’s the “I know it all.” period and before a pilot starts to learn that he doesn’t know it all after all.
This proposed reduction of required flight time is a mistake and will make us all less safe.
Arthur Alan Wolk
May 12, 2022
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