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House Approves Review of Pilot Training Programs

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-838923.mp3

Washington, DC – Click the audio player above to hear Mark Scott's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

The US House of Representatives approved an amendment Thursday that calls for an independent review of commercial airline pilot training programs.

The amendment was introduced by Western New York's three congressional representatives -- Democrats Louise Slaughter and Brian Higgins and Republican Chris Lee -- following last week's hearings into the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence last February. There were a number of troubling findings coming out of the hearing regarding the training and competency of the two pilots flying the plane. Lee said the Government Accountability Office, the so-called congressional watchdog, will undertake the review.

Specifically, Lee said the GAO will determine how quickly airlines train pilots in new technologies and what warning systems are in place to alert crews to impending danger.

Congressman Higgins said pilots should have the tools and training to respond to the unexpected.

Kevin Kuwik, who lost his girlfriend in the crash, has been in Washington pushing for change. He said this crash was "entirely preventable" and that the GAO review is an important step to making sure a similar accident does not happen again.

The crash of Flight 3407 killed 49 people onboard the plane and one person on the ground.