Age-60 Rule Back In Play...

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Legislation Would Add Five Years

With Congress back in session, a bill to raise the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65 has reappeared as well. The bill foundered last year, but senior Republicans Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada have revived it, and pressure for change seems to be building. With the major airlines in trouble, and pilots losing wages and benefits and pensions, their plea to not be booted out at 60 may gain a bit of sympathy. And better healthcare means pilots at 60 still retain their flight skills, said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. Mica said he plans to hold hearings on the rule. "When it comes to flying, older and more experienced is better," he told the St. Petersburg Times. "The age-60 rule imposed by the FAA has no basis in science," Gibbons said. "It is time to rescind this outdated regulation and allow our most experienced pilots to do their jobs." Inhofe's "Age 65 Act" (S.65) and Gibbons' House companion bill (HR.65) would abolish the FAA's age-60 rule and replace it with a plan that ties the commercial pilot retirement age to the Social Security retirement age. As a result of this legislation, the FAA could not force commercial pilots to retire before they are eligible for Social Security benefits, Gibbons said.