Lummis Cosponsors Legislation to Address National Pilot Shortages Impacting Rural Air Service in Wyoming

July 26, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the aim of improving and expanding rural air service, U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) joined Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in introducing the Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act to address airline flight cancellations by raising the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.

“People and businesses in Wyoming rely on small rural airports, and I constantly hear from constituents about cancellations and delays plaguing rural air service, in large part due to a lack of pilots,” said Senator Lummis. “Raising the mandatory retirement age to allow pilots to fly for an additional two years would mitigate some of these shortages and help restore rural air service, while ensuring we still have qualified and capable pilots manning our aircraft.”In addition to raising the retirement age of commercial pilots, the Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act requires pilots over the age of 65 to maintain a first-class medical certification, which must be renewed every six months, and requires that air carriers continue using pilot training and qualification programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In 2007, the retirement age for pilots in the United States was raised from 60 to 65 after medical reports concluded age had an ‘insignificant impact’ on performance in the cockpit and there were safety precautions already in place to prevent accidents in case of incapacitation. Nothing in this legislation changes current safety and proficiency procedures for commercial pilots. Pilots will continue to be held to an incredibly high standard to ensure passenger safety.