The Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, filed a public comment today opposing Republic Airways’ request to allow pilots to operate its aircraft with half the flight experience hours currently required by the FAA.
“We stand by the Flight 3407 family members in their objection to Republic’s request for an exemption from the 1500-hours requirement,” said Joe Muckle, Airline Professionals Association President.
Republic Airways’ petition seeks to circumvent the heightened experience requirements enacted in the aftermath of the Flight 3407 tragedy by allowing students from its own training school to receive the same experience credit toward an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license as is currently afforded to pilots who receive flight training from the military.
Muckle is a former highly-decorated Air Force pilot who served in Desert Storm and ended his military career in the New Jersey Air National Guard as an instructor pilot in the KC-135E.
“Republic’s program is narrowly geared toward training pilots in a highly-automated cockpit and just can’t be compared to the rigorous training and situational experience garnered through the United States military,” he said.
When the 1500-hour rule was established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the direction of Congress, an aviation rulemaking committee of industry experts spent months studying appropriate pilot qualifications and carefully considering every means of training, including 141 schools, aviation universities, and the military.
The committee crafted a thoughtful and well-reasoned conclusion that granted a drastic reduction in required experience to military pilots, appropriately weighted value to competitively accredited universities and no relief for 141 schools such as Republic’s.
“We urge the FAA to reject any requests for exemption that have the potential to degrade aviation safety by reducing required pilot experience to operate commercial aircraft and by establishing a pathway for others to follow,” said Muckle.
“This could impact aviation safety for decades to come.”
The Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224 represents the flight deck crewmembers of ABX Air, Cape Air, Horizon Air, Omni Air, and Silver Airways.