(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Chuck Schumer wants other countries to train their pilots just as extensively as American airlines do.
“There is no reason that American passengers should be put at risk by poorly trained pilots in other countries,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a press conference at the U.S. Senate Wednesday with Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y.
After the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco on Saturday, Schumer pointed to a trend of planes crashing due to lack of airspeed and new requirements, slated to take effect in October, that pilots undergo extensive training to prevent and deal with stalls.
“It’s a troubling pattern of pilot error and an inadequate response to stalling,” Schumer said. “What’s even more troubling is that we have new, tighter safety standards on pilot trainings for situations like stalling that are already written and passed, but are waiting to be finalized.”
After Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, N.Y. in a stall-related incident in February 2009, Schumer shepherded new airline-safety regulations through the Senate. They passed in 2011, and the Federal Aviation Administration is slated to finalize some of the new regulations in October, including training for stalls, Schumer said.
Now, the senator not only wants the FAA to “expedite” the implementation of those rules, but for other countries whose airlines fly to the U.S. to adopt them as well.
“We’re asking the FAA to push to make these rules a global standard if American passengers are involved. In other words, for international carriers departing from or arriving to the United States, we expect those airlines to meet the same safety standards we expect from our domestic carriers, especially with regard to pilot training on stalling,” Schumer said. “Simply put, foreign airlines should require their pilots to undergo the same training as American pilots before flying in the U.S.”
The rule changes will include increasing qualification requirements for first officers (co-pilots) from 250 hours of flight time to 1,500 hours.
Schumer and Higgins called on the FAA to propose U.S. training requirements at an upcoming meeting of the U.N. aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which will convene Sept. 24 – Oct. 4.
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