Flight experience requirement for US pilots may increase from 250 to 1500 hours

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Friends and relatives of people who died when a Colgan Air plane crashed in Clarence Center near Buffalo on February 10, 2010, have been lobbying for an increase in the number of flight hours required for US pilots before they are licensed to fly.

Airline pilot unions as well are also pushing for the higher requirement.

The legislation would require US pilots to obtain at least 1,500 hours of flight experience, versus the 250 hours required now, in order to get a job in an airline cockpit. The House-Senate agreement is part of broader aviation legislation being negotiated in Congress.

The National Transportation Safety Board this year said Colgan Captain Marvin Renslow caused a crash by incorrectly responding to a stall warning in the cockpit. Renslow died along with all passengers, crew, and one person on the ground, after the flight for Continental Airlines, Inc. departed from Newark, New Jersey’s Liberty airport.

Scott Maurer, whose daughter, Lorin Maurer, was killed in the accident, attended today’s meeting in Washington along with Kevin Kuwik of Columbus, Ohio, who said he was dating Lorin at the time of the crash. Kevin said the deal is “very positive” and is among safety changes that “should have been happening” more than a year ago.