The tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 last March is known to almost everyone in New York and elsewhere by now. Months later, experts are no closer to learning the exact details surrounding the tragedy that claimed 157 lives. Nobody is sure whether the pilots could have made different decisions that may have prevented the plane from going down outside Addis Ababa. The only factor that is known for certain is that an automated flight system that has been blamed in other Boeing 737 mishaps contributed to the flight crew's inability to override automatic systems and make manual adjustments to the plane's trajectory.
According to USA TODAY, a United Nations committee, the International Civil Aviation Organization, is scheduled to meet soon and discuss numerous concerns, including requirements involving the minimum flight hours before pilots and copilots are permitted to fly commercial airplanes internationally.
In the United States, both pilots and copilots must have at least 1,500 flight hours before they can operate commercial flights. However, international copilots may obtain flight licenses after having only 240 hours of flight time, which can include time in flight simulators. It was reported that Flight 302's first officer only had his license for three months and had just 361 hours of flight time before the crash.
It is unknown if more experience could have helped the pilot and copilot avoid the crash. However, the concerns to be brought up during the committee meeting may reflect the concerns of nearly everyone who books a commercial flight - should international flight crews have more flight hours before they are entrusted with hundreds of lives?