The airline-backed amendment to radically alter pilot training requirements is opposed by pilot and flight attendant unions.

by Daniel Boguslaw, The Intercept

In a blistering attack on her Senate colleague last week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., warned independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema that a proposal to reduce the number of required in-flight training hours for pilots would result in “blood on your hands.” The attack from Duckworth was prompted by an amendment supported by Sinema and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., that would allow pilots to meet training requirements by substituting hours spent in a flight simulator for actual flight time.

For Duckworth, who lost both of her legs to a rocket attack on the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting in 2004 during the Iraq War, the issue is personal. “Now is not the time to put corporate profits ahead of the lives of our constituents who may want to board a commercial flight in the future,” Duckworth said. “A vote to reduce a 1,500-hour rule for pilot training will mean blood on your hands when an inevitable accident occurs as a result of an inadequately trained flight crew.”

kyrsten sinema holds a microphone while she sits on stage

The eleventh-hour amendment in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation comes as the September 30 deadline to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Act looms.

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