Higgins among members of Congress to push for swift action on pilot fatigue
Western New York’s congressional representatives, Brian Higgins, Louise Slaughter and Kathy Hochul, wrote to the Office of Management and Budget on Friday — National Aviation Day — asking the agency to expedite its timeline for rulemaking associated with pilot fatigue.
The Department of Transportation is currently projecting that new flight time and duty time rules, originally scheduled for release Aug. 1, will not be published until Nov. 22.
The three stress that reducing pilot fatigue has been listed as a priority by the National Transportation Safety Board for 20 years and the urgent need for changes are increasingly evident following the February 2009 crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence Center.
“For two decades, the federal government has listed pilot fatigue as a problem, and dozens of families, including those linked to Flight 3407, have paid a monumental price for our nation’s failure to address this issue in a timely manner,” said Higgins.
“The American flying public deserves better. They deserve expeditious actions and serious attention to ensure the person sitting in the cockpit when they board that plane is adequately trained, prepared and rested.”
Hochul added that each additional day the families of the victims of Continental Flight 3407 have to wait — it’s been more than two and a half years since the tragedy — is an insult to those who perished Feb. 12, 2009, as well as all airline passengers.
“This is my second inquiry in as many weeks to see what has delayed the implementation of the landmark legislation that will protect our passengers, yet I have received no response,” she said.
“I, and the people I represent, specifically the Flight 3407 families, demand to know when will the traveling public fly safer skies.”
Aug. 19 was first recognized as National Aviation Day by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. The observation coincides with the birthday of flying pioneer Orville Wright.