Casey: New Rules Positive Step Toward Airline Safety

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement in response to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new flight safety rules:

“The FAA has taken a step toward making sure our airways are safer. The tragedy of Flight 3407, which claimed the life of one Pennsylvanian, is a stark reminder that pilot fatigue is a real danger. These new flight safety rules will ensure that pilots aren’t flying too long and have enough time to rest in between shifts. While these new rules are a positive step forward, much remains to be done to ensure the safety of our airways. I’ll be closely monitoring what the FAA does on pilot fatigue and continue to work to increase passenger safety.”

In the wake of the tragic crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, Senator Casey cosponsored the Enhancing Flight Crewmembers' Training Act, which the President signed into law in August of 2010 as part of the FAA reauthorization bill.

Scott Maurer of Families of Flight 3407 said, “The Families of 3407 are pleased to see the first rule from PL111-216 actually be issued by the FAA.  This rule has been in development for 25 years and regrettably the loss of our Loved Ones on Flight 3407 was the last straw to give way for authorities to get serious and complete this critical Safety rule.  This is the first step of many to come to reach One Level of Safety in the Aviation Industry.”

Scott is the father of Lorin Maurer, a Pennsylvania native from Sinking Spring in Berks County who lost her life in the Buffalo crash.  She was 30 years old and worked for Princeton University’s Athletic Department.

The announcement of new flight safety rules will require the FAA to do the following:

10-hour minimum rest period. A pilot must have a 10 hour minimum rest period prior to flight duty, which is a two hour increase over the old rule. The pilot also must have the opportunity to sleep for eight hours during the 10 hour period.

Fitness for duty.   If a pilot reports he or she is tired and unfit for duty, the airline must remove that pilot from duty immediately.

New cumulative flight duty and flight time limits. The new rule places weekly and 28-day limits on the amount of time a pilot may be assigned any type of flight duty. The rule also places 28-day and annual limits on actual flight time. It also requires that pilots have at least 30 consecutive hours off from duty per week, a 25 percent increase over the old rules.

Flight time limits of eight or nine hours.  The new rule will limit a pilot to operating a plane moving under its own power before, during or after a flight to eight or nine hours.

Flight Duty Period.  The new rule reduces the flight duty period time by 2 hours, with the maximum being 14 hours.  The allowable length of a flight duty period depends on when the pilot’s day begins and the number of flight segments he or she is expected to fly.  This ranges from 9-14 hours for single crew operations.