NTSB Nominee Landsberg Faces Senate Hearing

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Bruce Landsberg, who promoted GA safety for many years at AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation, faced tough questions at a Senate hearing this week regarding his nomination to serve on the NTSB. Six senators signed on to a letter before the hearing asking why he criticized the 1,500-hour rule during his years at AOPA. The rule, requiring 1,500 hours of flight time for all airline pilots instead of 250, was passed by Congress in the aftermath of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in February 2009, which killed 50 people. Landsberg has said he believes in “performance-based regulation as opposed to an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all rule.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said there have been no fatal airline crashes in the U.S. since the Colgan law was passed. "It's been safer since the 1,500-hour rule was put into effect," Duckworth said. But regional airlines have contended the requirement is causing a pilot shortage, and an FAA advisory panel has suggested the rule be revised, saying it "imposes costs that exceed benefits,” according to the Buffalo News. "Pilots should be hired and trained by solid criteria, not arbitrary numbers,” Landsberg wrote in a 2010 blog post, noting that both the pilot and first officer of Colgan Air Flight 3407 had far more than 1,500 hours of flight experience. Landsberg is nominated to serve as a member for a five-year term starting in January, if he is approved by the Senate this fall, and also will be designated vice chairman for a term of two years.

Audio clip from the hearing is via www.wben.com.

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