ILM travelers support the FAA's new rules on rest for pilots
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The crash of Colgan Air flight 3407 killed 50 people nearly three years ago. The crash caused the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its regulations on pilots and sleep.

"We could not sit back and say oh well, we needed to do something,” said Susan Bourque whose sister died in the 3407 crash. “We felt motivated by the memory of those people who died in that crash."

It seems that neither pilot of Flight 3407 slept in a bed the night before the 2009 crash. Now the FAA says changes are necessary.

“This took too long. It took too long beyond the Colgan air crash,” said Ray LaHood with the Department of Transportation. “These things take a long time. We wanted to make sure we got it right."

Under the new rules: Pilots can only work a 9 to 14 hour shift. Their flight time is limited to 8 or 9 hours. And they must get a minimum of 10 hours of rest time between shifts, including 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Travelers at ILM say they think the new regulations are a good idea.

“They should have more rest time and down time because they're in charge of a lot of people in the air,” said Emily Mosser of Hampstead.

"Well, they're under a lot of stress,” said Joesph Turano who is visiting Wilmington. “Pilots are under a lot of stress. They have a lot of responsibility and I think a few extra hours for them to rest is important."

Although the new rules do not go into effect for another two years, travelers say they are always thinking about flight safety especially during the holidays. Most people we spoke with agree though that safety is important all year round.

“I think it's important whether it's regular or holidays,” said Turano. “They have a big responsibility of how many different passengers lives are in their hands. So I think the more rest they get, it's better for everyone."

These new rules are expected to cost the airline industry nearly $300 million dollars over the next decade.

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The statements of eyewitnesses on the ground strongly support the conclusion that mechanical problems brought down flt 3407, not pilot error. It is probable that a malfunctioning propellor control unit(PCU) caused the prop to 'disc,' resulting in an uncommanded roll which led to the crash. Pieces of the engine were never found, and numerous people in the neighborhood said the plane was on fire as it came down.

The plane was two hours late taking off from Newark because they were doing mechanical repairs on it, though that part is strangely absent from the NTSB report.