Ten Years After Flight 3407 and the Fight for Increased Pilot Training

Only one death on commercial airline flight in the US since Flight 3407

Tom Puckett
February 11, 2019 - 4:00 am

Clarence, NY (WBEN) It was ten years ago this week Colgan Flight 3407 crashed into a home on Long Road in Clarence, claiming 50 lives, including one on the ground. Since then, victims' families have been fighting to keep pilot flight training requirements increased. 

PHOTOS/AUDIO - See 3407 photo timeline and hear Karen Wielinski tell her survival story

Pilots must now have 1,500 hours in flight training experience before flying a commercial plane. That rule has been challenged by regional carriers as the FAA reauthorization bill comes up for a vote every few years by regional carriers, claiming the cost is too much. Marilyn Kausner lost her daugher Elly on that flight. "We're talking human life here. This should not boil down to five dollars more an airline ticket, because that's what it would cost to have a qualified pilot in the cockpit of your plane," says Kausner.

Congressman Chris Collins agrees. "There's always been pressure to cut that back by regional airliners, but what price can you put on safety. We'll fight it tooth and nail, it's something Senator (Chuck) Schumer and I agree on," says Collins. Schumer says airlines have been profitable at record levels, so there's no need to change it.

Collins and Schumer both credit the families for continuing the fight. "Since the 3407 bill passed, only one person has died in a commercial airplane crash in the US, that is amazing," says Schumer. "It's because of the courage and the strength of the 3407 families this bill is in place. They didn't curse the darkness. They lit a candle and saved lives."

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