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Crash Highlights Regional Pilots' Inexperience

Investigators looking at Flight 3407 crew's records
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2009 4:58 PM CST
Crash Highlights Regional Pilots' Inexperience
Workers remove debris at the scene of a plane crash site of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence Center, N.Y., Monday, Feb. 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/David Duprey, pool)

The captain and first officer on the Buffalo plane that crashed were typical of regional airline pilots, the Buffalo News reports: They had far less experience than their counterparts on major airlines. No one interviewed blames either pilot for the accident, but Capt. Marvin Renslow, 47, and Rebecca Lynne Shaw, 24, had 5,623 hours between them. Contrast that with the 20,000 hours by Hudson hero Chesley Sullenberger.

"That first officer who was 24 years old was probably making $20,000 to $25,000 a year,” said one major-airline pilot. Renslow had completed his training on the Dash 8 turboprop just two months before the crash and had logged 110 hours on it. Shaw had 770 hours in the Dash 8, roughly the equivalent of what a commercial pilot flies in one year. “There’s a huge experience disparity," said the pilot. "It should raise the eyebrows of a lot of people.” (More pilot stories.)

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