Was the 1500 hour flight time rule an over reaction?

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My answer to Was the 1500 hour flight time rule an over reaction?

Answer by Thomas Zerbarini:

737 Cockpit

Hi Abel,

I absolutely think that it was an overreaction by ill informed special interest groups pushing congress to “react.”

The focus on training performance history and flying experience that was highlighted and addressed after the Colgan accidentdue were good “actions” by the industry. The arbitrary 1500 hour rule was not.

I will say that the quality of the training and experience that a pilot gets will determine their proficiency and performance in the cockpit. I have flown with many pilots with various hours. I have flown with pilots with a few hundred hours that were excellent. I’ve also flown with pilots that had a few thousand hours and were horrible.

Logged flight time is a good starting point to determine experience and proficiency; but, it’s not the tell all.

Check out the FAA’s Call to Action following the Colgan accident in Buffalo. I participated in these roadshows in 2009.


You can see in this report that the focus was mostly on training and safety initiatives. There was a non-scientific statement about pilot flight hours correlating to accidents that had no empirical conclusions. There was also an over-focus on flight time developing at this time that eventually crept into congress that gave momentum to the 1500 hour rule.

The focus should have centered on Training, Rest, Regional Airline “portfolios” and the RFP Contractor bidding wars that give rise to low budget start-up regionals with little or no industry experience or corporate safety cultures.

Pilot: Long commutes should not lead to fatigue

Thomas E Zerbarini

Was the 1500 hour flight time rule an over reaction?


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