Safety Issues With Commuter Airlines?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article addressing safety questions with commuter airlines in this country.  Commuter airlines carried 25% of all domestic passengers in 2008 and made 5 million flights.  Yet, recently hired pilots of these aircraft have as little as 250 to 500 hours of flying time before taking the job.  This is compared to the 5,000 to 7,000 hours of flying time that the major airlines seek when hiring new pilots.  There are also issues with the training being received at flight schools.  For example, students often train on slow propeller planes but once hired, start flying high performance turbo props or jets.  Unfortunately deficiencies in training and experience lead to real life tragedies including the Colgan plane crash in Buffalo in February 2008 that took 50 lives. 

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