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Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Sullenberger: 'We Need Experienced Pilots'

'Safety Standards Should Not Be Lowered To Accommodate The Airlines'

Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger has gone on the record as saying that new rules requiring pilots to have 1,500 hours in their logbooks before becoming an airline pilot are on the mark, and should not be changed because of a supposed looming pilot shortage.

Responding to an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Sullenberger (pictured) wrote in a letter to the editor that if he and first officer Jeff Skiles had been less experienced when their A320 ingested birds into both engines leading to the "Miracle on the Hudson," the outcome might have been much different.

Sullenberger wrote that the new mandates, which were passed by both chambers of the U.S. legislature in a single day, stemmed from decades of accidents which resulted in needless fatalities. He said the specter of a regional airline pilot shortage is a "myth" perpetuated by the airlines to allow them to offer lower pay. He wrote that newly-hired relatively low-time pilots flying as first officers in regional jets are getting on-the-job training with people sitting in the back of the airplane.

Sully says that instead of lowering the standards for pilots, the airlines should offer wages and working conditions that will attract well-qualified pilots.



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