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Co-pilots need cockpit training

March 21, 2012 at 11:55 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- Adding extra hours of training won't ensure that co-pilots know how to recover from a stall or fly in bad weather, a U.S. air safety specialist said.

Thomas Hendricks of the airline trade group Airlines for America told a Senate subcommittee proposed new requirements focus more on hours than the quality of training, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Capt. Carl Kuwitsky, president of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, said all airline pilots should have 1,500 hours of experience in the cockpit rather than in a classroom.

The two testified before the Senate transportation subcommittee on aviation.

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed that co-pilots undergo the same 1,500 hours of training as captains to become certified for an airline.

The recommendation follows the crash of a Colgan Air plane near Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009 that killed 50 people.

An investigation of the Colgan crash questioned the training, experience and pay of regional airline pilots.

A recent visit by federal inspectors to two regional carriers found three-quarters of the co-pilots didn't have enough hours to meet new training standards.

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