Good question, but rather than jumping to uninformed conclusions, I would leave speculation about the hiring practices out of the mix till the NTSB issues their final report. The news media HAS been known to make a mistake then fan the flames, yes? Remember the Duke University LaCrosse team?
The training required for airline pilots is specified in FAR 121, Supbart N. It makes no difference whether it is a commuter, a regional or a major. If it has more than 10 passenger seats, it's the same.
How the company completes the required training is monitored by the FAA office responsible for the airline's operating certificate.
The entire industry is interested to see what the NTSB determines to be the probable cause, at which time we can discuss their findings.
Hiring practices are affected by money issues, and supply and demand. You're unlikely to find expert pilots with perfect records and 15,000 hours of experience if you're only willing to pay $16,000 a year.
Additionally, your pilots aren't going to be very well prepared for unusual emergencies unless they've been trained to handle unusual emergencies, which costs money, just like salaries.
And your pilots might not perform very well if they've gotten very little sleep before a flight, thanks to suboptimal working conditions.
The only reason that aircraft aren't falling out of the sky is that heavy safety regulations force aircraft operators to exercise at least a modicum of caution in their operations. This is especially true for regional and commuter airlines, which do not police themselves with nearly the rigor of the major airlines.
Yes, safety standards are mostly the same, but there's still a difference between the bare legal minimum for safety and really top-notch safety. An airline can spend the absolute minimum it can get away with while still respecting regulations, or it can spend more to provide an extra margin of safety. Most major airlines spend more than the absolute minimum. Some smaller airlines do not.
There's also a difference between respecting the letter of the regulations and respecting the spirit. Some airlines, for example, respect the exact requirements for rest periods written into the law, but still manage to keep their pilots tired through overwork. They are operating legally, but not necessarily safely.
It's a bit premature to call these pilots "sub-prime." They probably were not the cream of the crop (they made some serious mistakes that would not be corrected by experience or training, such as having the poor judgment to not observe the sterile cockpit rule), but they also lacked experience and training. With more experience and better training, they might not have made the serious mistakes that they made, and the crash might not have occurred.
And WHO determined that they hire "sub-prime" pilots? You? Some uninformed sensation-hunting clown on the news? Some other "expert"? How much time have you (or the news clown OR the other assorted "expert") spent operating aircraft? None? Well, imagine that . . . . .
How come uninformed people are allowed to make baseless statements on Yahoo Answers?
Commuters are held to the same standards and, in most cases, ARE part of "a major airline".
I'm with techwing, it's the nature of the business.....you have to pay your dues by flying low paying jobs while you build time and experience that will make you a candidate for a step up to the majors....sort of like baseball. There are some talented and dedicated pilots flying regional, however most are trying to gain real world experience flying in conditions that they have little or no firsthand experience with. The transcripts of the cockpit voice recorder from this crash displayed that in the pilots on words. Would the outcome be different if they were higher paid? Could training rivaling the major airlines changed the outcome? The Captain is always a more experienced pilot that mentors the Co-Pilot , at least in the equipment they are flying. The problem here was, as I see it, that neither pilot had very much experience in icing conditions and voiced their discomfort about flying in those conditions.
squiggy_squigtones and a few others are commenting on if they are sub-prime pilots
"Colgan officials also said that if they had known that Renslow failed to acknowledge on his job application that he had failed three federal "check flights," he would not have been hired."
hmmm.... that seems pretty sub-prime to me
As someone else noted, they were only making about 16 grand per year.... you get what you pay for apparently. The article I read in the Buffalo news earlier mentioned the rules and regulations about it being difficult "....Colgan, hamstrung in part by a federal privacy law, never double-checked that part of his application with the Federal Aviation Administration" (thats the second part of the 1st quote above)
here's the article btw http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/670165.html
Come on now. There is no such thing as a 'PERFECT" pilot. And every pilots weak points catch up with them at some point. These people aren't machines and on occasion they do make a mistake. The fatal ones we hear about and the minor ones we don't. And it is not a pilot's fault if he has never encountered icing conditions. Very few pilot's will knowingly fly into ice.
I don't think you can say they were sub-prime pilots. I suspect that they were rushed or distracted.
They made a mistake, the same way you did when you mis-spelled "pilots". Unfortunately, they were flying an airplane at the time...
They didn't hire "sub-prime" pilots...yes they have the same safety standards.
A tragic accident happened...period.