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'Sully' Sullenberger Raises Safety, Access Concerns If ATC Is Privatized

Says It Is A Political Solution To What Is Essentially A Budget Problem

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger is not a fan of ATC privatization. And even if it does not pass this year, he says he's concerned about the direction the U.S. House is taking in proposing it for the second year in a row.

Sullenberger discussed the privatization issue and others in an interview with Yahoo Global Anchor Katie Couric this week. The two discussed that issue, as well as experience requirements for airline pilots and other aviation issues.

On the topic of privatization, Sullenberger told Couric that he is concerned about safety, equitability,  and access to the system if it is enacted. He said that privatizing ATC is a political solution to a budget problem, and that the current plan would allow the largest airlines to control access, fees and pricing for the entire industry.

On the issue of pilot experience rules, Sullenberger said that it is critical that "every pilot who sits in the pilot seat of an airliner must be the absolute master of the aircraft all its systems and the weather conditions you’re experiencing, the situation you’re facing at that moment continuously throughout the flight." He said that during the "Miracle on the Hudson" incident, the outcome could have been much different if First Officer Jeff Skiles had not been as well trained as Sullenberger. Skiles had been a Captain, but found himself in a First Officer position after a round of layoffs. The training of both pilots saved the lives of the passengers on board the aircraft, Sully said.

Finally, Sullenberger said that there is not a pilot shortage, but while airlines are currently able to attract qualified, experienced pilot applicants, it is important to be sure the industry as a whole continues to be healthy in that regard.

(Image from YouTube)

FMI: Original Story


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