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Airline Industry

FAA establishes new norm for regional airlines

Kate Barrett  Jun 09, 2009

Shocking revelations that emerged from the February plane crash in Buffalo, N.Y., which killed 50 people, might have appalled the traveling public, but many pilots didn't find them surprising.

National Transportation Safety Board hearings on the Colgan Air flight's Buffalo crash revealed a number of seemingly dangerous issues, including cockpit errors, pilots' lack of sleep and lack of training. But many pilots told ABC News they've seen them all before.

"The FAA doesn't require it -- so why do it?" Leonard Cobb, a former regional airline pilot, recently told ABC News. "That's the airlines' attitude: If it is not required by the FAA, we're going to do our training as cheap as possible."

Today the Federal Aviation Administration established a new norm.

Starting immediately, all regional airlines will be scrutinized by FAA inspectors for the training they offer to pilots, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA administrator Randy Babbitt announced Tuesday. FAA inspectors will examine whether regional airlines are following the letter of the law and offering adequate training programs to pilots.

The change comes a day before Congress examines the issue Wednesday, where it's likely the FAA and regional airlines alike are expecting to get grilled.

FAA  establishes new norm for regional airlines

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