Pilots Press FAA To Waive Age-60 Rule

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The FAA over the last year or so has made clear that the much-vilified age-60 retirement rule for pilots is on its way out. But for many pilots who are turning 60 now or expect to soon, the likelihood that things will change but haven't yet -- makes their situation just that much more frustrating. "The FAA needs to get out of the age-discrimination business," says Lewis Tetlow, a US Airways captain who was forced into retirement when he turned 60 in April. Now president of the Senior Pilots Coalition, Tetlow on Wednesday asked FAA Administrator Marion Blakey to start granting waivers now to keep the most experienced pilots flying through the busy summer season. "Today, we have an artificial pilot shortage in America and needlessly dangerous, unreliable airline service that could be remedied quickly by putting available pilots back on the job," Tetlow said. "It is clearly in the public's best interest to get these most experienced pilots flying again and tapping the added margin of safety that will come from their tens of thousands of additional flying hours." Tetlow says about 200 pilots per month are forced into retirement while the FAA drags its feet on changing the rule. "Trust me when I say that these experienced and well-seasoned professionals are not the pilots that Americans want to see given their walking papers," he said.