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Moussaoui pilot training--outrageous

Reader comment on item: Zacarias Moussaoui Asked, Can an Airplane Pilot Shut off Oxygen to Passengers?

Submitted by Armond Festine (United States), May 2, 2005 at 14:34

As both a pilot and lawyer, I continue to be both amazed and flabbergasted that an individual who failed to even hold a valid pilot certificate and whose experience was limited to supervised flight on a simple single engine trainer could even get his foot in the door of an accredited institution that trains pilots to fly complex state of the art transport aircraft.

It was nothing short of ridiculous. Moussaoui should never have gotten near the point where he plunked down the money and got anywhere near either a classroom or simulator, let alone a real airplane.

It's analogous to trying to have a doctoral dissertation prospectus approved before you complete your first year of undergraduate school. Some things necessarily must be mastered in steps or phases. Flight is one of them.

I am loathe to have to suggest more government regulations, but in addition to your suggestion that there be whistelblower protections for those who give terrorism tips, one should also have to meet certain qualifications prior to acceptance in such privately operated flight schools.

For example, if one is to train on an aircraft used mainly for commercial passenger and cargo transport (like the 747-400), one should have at minimum an Air Transport Pilot certificate, a substantiated number of hours experience, and appropriate work history. Also perhaps- experience with medium weight transport aircraft. No qualifications, no entry-- period.

The fact that "cash on the barrelhead" opened the door for the likes of Moussaoui shows how flawed the system was, and maybe still is.

But there is a paradox here. Moussauoi's having been the "weird duck" (as Prevost describes him) is what got him apprehended and prevented God knows what else from happening.

The flight instructor involved deserves our thanks and respect.
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