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DOT works on safety rules prompted by '09 crash

Jul. 8, 2013 - 11:21AM   |  
By BART JANSEN, USA Today   |   Comments
Boeing 777 Crashes At San Francisco Airport
Saturday's crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco was the first fatal commercial airline crash since a Colgan Air accident in 2009, which prompted the Transportation Department to develop new safety rules. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Transportation Department is still developing rules in reaction to a Colgan Air crash in 2009, the last fatal commercial airline crash in the U.S. before Saturdayís crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco.

One rule, which is scheduled to be fully implemented by Aug. 1, would require co-pilots to have the same 1,500 hours of flight training as pilots, rather than the current 250 hours, although military pilots and graduates of four-year colleges could have fewer hours.

Another rule, which is scheduled to be completed in October, would require greater simulator training for pilots, to avoid aerodynamic stalls that cause a plane to lose power and fall to the ground.

The proposed rules came in response to the Feb. 12, 2009, crash of Colgan Air flight that killed 50 people when it came down in a snowstorm near Buffalo, N.Y.

In that crash, the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the pilot for an aerodynamic stall, with the nose pointed up too far to keep the plane aloft. Contributing factors included a lack of pilot training and pilot fatigue.

Relatives of the Colgan victims urged Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was sworn in Tuesday, to complete the rules despite anticipated industry resistance because of the increase in the expense of training pilots.

Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, recently confirmed for a congressional hearing that he expected to meet both deadlines for the rules.

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