Pilot Asks Congress, 'Why Change What Is Working?'

Special Guest Commentary by F/O Kaori Paris, United Airlines

I started off my airline career as a flight attendant with United, but I simply fell in love with the idea of becoming an airline pilot. Many pilots were kind enough to show me few things in the cockpit, knowing my career interests, and few suggested I go to a local FBO and do a discovery flight. There’s been no turning back since then. Now I’m a pilot a United with about 4,500 hours and 10 years of experience, including almost 1,000 hours as pilot-in-command time as a Captain at Mesa Airlines.

When I was a Captain I often flew with brand-new first officers who were starting their career as a part 121 pilot for the first time. Most everyone came fully prepared. Having 1,500 hours under their belt—together with well-managed and structured training—is the biggest key to success for new pilots entering the industry in my opinion.

I shared that opinion with the Members of Congress I met with last month at ALPA’s Legislative Summit. I told them about the safety records in our industry since the new first officer qualifications came into effect and explained that taking away what is working would compromise the safety of our industry. There are some special interests who want to weaken our safety standards, claiming these standards are causing pilot shortages, but the facts are clear: there is no pilot shortage.

It’s a pretty simple question when you get down to it: Why change what is working? Since the FAA implemented this new qualification after the Colgan accident of 2009, our country hasn’t had a single fatality on a passenger airline. We can’t deny the correlations between the new training mandates and our safety records.

We owe our safer skies to the families of Colgan 3407 and we owe it to them to keep it that way.

Categories: Advocacy


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