Regional Airline Crashes Usually Involve Pilots with Failed Flight Tests

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits
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In almost every airplane accident over the 10 last years involving a regional airline, the pilot failed important flight competency tests more than once, according to a report by USA Today.

An examination of National Transportation Safety Board records showed that eight of the nine crashes involving regional air carriers in the last decade had pilots who failed multiple Federal Aviation Administration “check rides” aimed at making sure the pilots were competent in case of an emergency.

In the one flight where a pilot had not failed the test, a co-pilot was discovered to have falsified information on his application.

A February 12, 2009 Buffalo airplane crash involving a commuter plane that killed 50 people was the first fatal plane accident involving a commercial aircraft in the United States in over two years. Although the plane was operated under the Continental brand, the flight was operated by the regional carrier Colgan Air, which is owned by Pinnacle Airlines.

Pilot qualifications on regional flights came under scrutiny last month at an NTSB hearing after the Buffalo crash, where it was revealed that the pilot had failed five flight tests. It was suggested that the pilot may not have been adequately trained to respond to the emergency that led to the airplane crash and crew fatigue was also suspected as a possible factor in the crash.

Regional airline flights account for about half of all flights in the United States.

According to the USA Today report, the Regional Airline Association defends their safety practices, pointing out that the operators fly under the same safety standards as major airlines. However, pilots on major airlines and large cargo haulers were only found to have multiple flight test failures in one serious accident over the last ten years, compared to eight accidents involving regional carriers.

The NTSB is working on closing a loophole in the 1996 Pilot Records Improvement Act that requires airline check pilot flight records from previous employers, but not from flight schools.

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1 comment

  1. m adams Reply

    The military spends over 1 million training a new pilot in the first year alone, after which the pilot goes on to advanced training. Compare that to the commercial side where they openly boast about putting pilots on airline flight decks with the absolute minimum hours and cost.

    A “Sully” vs a “Marvin” No comparison at all.

    A professional minded person will do his or her best at their job. However “Who” you get, their “Experience” level, their “Training credentials” are not going to be identical for low pay vs high pay. If you want the cheapest pilot money can buy don’t expect an ex-military fighter pilot who had over 5 million dollars worth of training and 20+ years experience. This concept should not escape anyone as it applies to almost any vocation. You get what you pay for. You don’t get a “Sully” for a “Marvin” price. Marvin will do “his” best for you but when the chips are down if it isn’t good enough don’t complain. You got the cheap ticket. You got the cheap pilot.

    The only surprise about this accident is that it did not happen sooner.

    The explanation on why is clearly explained here:

    The only question remaining is what flight will be next?

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