As a pilot, I'm pretty alarmed by the news that the minimum number of flying hours for trainee commercial pilots is to be halved under new rules that are being rushed through despite protests that the changes will be unsafe.
The Times reports that newly qualified pilots are to be allowed to take control of airliners after only 70 hours’ flying experience. Under the present rules, pilots must accumulate at least 145 flying hours before being entrusted with carrying passengers.
The new training scheme, due to be introduced by the end of the year, places far more emphasis on flying in simulators. The time that trainees spend in simulators will almost double, from 90 to 170 hours
But the British Air Line Pilots’ Association argues that a simulator is no substitute for real flying experience and I'm inclined to agree. Seventy hours flying experience from the lad or lady at the "sharp" end of the aircraft would not give me great confidence. I used to joke that after one hundred hours one stops being a danger to oneself and starts being a danger to others and I'm far from convinced by this new proposal. Fortunately most pilots won't even be looked at by an airline if they ask for an interview with less than 250 hours in command, so I guess this applies to direct entry trainees.
What do you think?