Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, regarding Pilot Training Standards
The following letter to the editor of the Washington Post was published on May 23, 2019:
Don’t ignore pilot training
May 23 at 5:27 PM
Regarding Dana Milbank’s May 16 Thursday Opinion column, “Blaming the Boeing victims”:
Ignoring any one factor this early in the investigation is dangerous. As a professional pilot, I know that accidents are never the result of just one cause. There is always a chain of events that affects the outcome.
Aviation is the safest form of transportation. When accidents occur, we learn everything we can about what went wrong. If the investigations find something broken in the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification or oversight process, Congress should act.
Because we can never eliminate all risk, the best safety feature will always be a well-trained pilot, and the United States has significantly higher pilot training standards than most other countries. We need to know more about how other countries train their pilots. The Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots desperately tried to save their passengers, but if pilots are not sufficiently trained or experienced, passengers will be at risk.
The lessons learned from these accidents cannot be limited to aircraft design and certification.
If we address only certain factors surrounding both crashes while ignoring others, we are not doing our best to improve the safety of our system.
Sam Graves, Washington
The writer, a Republican, represents Missouri’s 6th Congressional District and is ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.