The Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009, H.R. 3371

This bill will cripple the airline industry and pose a huge shortage of qualified pilots

I am submitting this letter regarding the proposed federal changes to pilot training and qualification contained in the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act, H.R. 3371, and in S1744.

These changes will directly impact future pilot training and evaluation for careers in professional aviation flight operations. The intent of H.R. 3371 is admirable, but as currently written it will result in significant negative outcomes for pilots, community flight training providers, commercial air travel operators, and the traveling public.

First, among other requirements, H.R. 3371 seeks to strengthen pilot performance and overall flight safety by stipulating minimum flight experience (1500 flight hours), pilot age (23 years) and certification required (ATP) to serve as a pilot in commercial air operations. However, pilot professionalism is not guaranteed by quantitative values such as flight hours, age, or level of certification.

Recent airline incidents and accidents have spurred the progress of H.R. 3371, but overshadowed in the discussion is this fact: No matter the age, certificate level, or amount of experience, foundational training defines the pilot at the controls and how he or she will conduct the flight from start to finish. Adherence to safety procedures and policies, training to high standards, and dedication to self-improvement are what separate the professionally-minded aviator from all others. The attitudes, skills and habits required to conduct safe, proficient flight operations are learned and honed in every pilot?s initial flight training. This training is the foundation for and provides the environment in which the pilot develops his or her attitudes about flying.

It is our firm belief that a panel of experts, appointed by the Administrator, should identify the elements of sound foundational training including but not limited those elements contained in the attached document entitled ?Profile of a Qualifying Program?. Further, having identified said elements, the same panel could identify specific training institutions whose programs include the aforementioned elements. We propose that graduation from those institutions and 1,000 flight hours of experience qualify a pilot to fly for a Part 121 air career in-lieu of having an airline transport pilot certificate.

Thank you in advance for your effort to ensure that the training and certification of our nations? professional pilots, and the inherent interests of the traveling public and the nation?s air travel system, are protected.