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Air safety cannot have it both ways June 19, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

A Continental flight had its pilot die in mid flight over the Atlantic Ocean. He was over the previous age limit that has been raised. The reasoning for that raise was that there are lots of baby-boomer pilots with lots of experience who would be forced to retire and there are not similar numbers of younger pilots with anywhere near that level of experience.

The questioning of age in this case comes only months after that miracle-on0the0Hudson flight where a US Airways plane landed safety. That pilot, Captain Sullenberger, was a hero. His decisions were touted because of his great experience. Not having back-check his age, I cannot say if he would be retired now, But i think he is in his early 60s.

You cannot say pilots of a certain age ought to be forced to retire when that same age is shown to be a valuable thing in a crisis. Either you take the risk and expect the redundancies of a co-pilot and other cabin crew will do OK, as it did in the Continental case, or you lose that experience needed in the US Airways case.



1. organikchemist - June 19, 2009

I think that they should be allowed to work unless they are planning to die mid-flight. Then they should retire.

Honestly. At some point people need to stop letting this stuff flow from their mouths.

2. fetzthechemist - June 19, 2009

As with many things, performance is not based on age. It is based on skills, talents, and experience. If it were purely the age, we’d have 18-year-olds piloting. We barely even let them drive unrestricted (at least in many US states where at 16 or 17 there are restrictions). I’d advocate frequent testing to see if performance is there or is reflexes and senses are dropping enough to be a concern.

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