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Higgins Urges Approval of Pilot Training Amendment As House Debates FAA Reauthorization

Amendment Cosponsored by Higgins, Langworthy & Tenney Protecting 1,500-Hour Rule Set for a Vote Today

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is urging members of the House of Representatives to approve an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that would protect current pilot training standards. Earlier this week, Reps. Langworthy, Higgins and Tenney introduced an amendment to the legislation which would maintain the 1,500-hour rule, reversing a provision of the bill that would allow for a greater portion of pilot training hours to take place on a simulator. 

In remarks on the House floor, Higgins said, in part, “Prior to the crash in February of 2009, we were of the belief that if the plane said Continental that it was operated by the national carrier. It wasn’t true. It was operated by a regional carrier and there were two levels of safety. One [for] the larger carriers – 1,500 hours for pilots, and [one for] the regional carriers, in the case of this flight – 750 hours. Since that change was made, commercial aviation fatalities decreased by nearly 100 percent. We ask that the 1,500-hour pilot training rule be sustained in the FAA Reauthorization bill.”


Higgins added, “The FAA bill before us this week undermines hard-fought safety measures, allowing a portion of pilot training hours to be completed in a simulator, rather than in flight. The bipartisan amendment offered with my Western New York colleagues protects pilot training standards and ultimately protects the flying public. We hope members of Congress will reject this dangerous attempt to undermine airline safety and approve this amendment.”

The amendment is scheduled for a vote in the House during the evening on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, with final approval of the FAA Reauthorization package, titled the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday, July 20, 2023.

The bill must also be considered in the Senate. The FAA’s funding and authorities are set to expire on September 30, 2023.