Airline rules different in Europe than in U.S. - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Airline rules different in Europe than in U.S.

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The investigation of the crash of a German airliner is centering around the co-pilot, who flight recordings indicate was alone in the cockpit at the time of the crash.

Aviation experts say 2 people are required to be in the cockpit of all U.S. airliners.

The University of Dubuque has about 20 planes it uses for its aviation program - based at the Dubuque Regional Airport.

Students can get a 4-year degree after passing through the program, which also requires about 200 hours of flight training.

Becoming a professional pilot still takes a lot more time and work.

Flight instructors all of the university's planes in the hangars on a The school has about 230 students at any particular time training on propeller planes. With more and more planes being automated, they're reinforcing skills.

"I just got out of a stage check where I was going over system failures where I couldn't allow the student to shoot the approach with a GPS so I took that away from him and made sure he could still fly that approach without that system. Automation gets taken away so they can still fly the plane with their hands and they don't depend on the auto-pilot to fly the plane for them," said flight program safety manager Tony Foster.

This week's crash in the French Alps centers around the co-pilot - who locked out the pilot.

That wouldn't happen in the U.S.

No-one can be left alone in the cockpit.

"If a pilot does need to leave the flight deck, there's always a flight attendant to be brought into the flight deck to stay there so there's always 2 people on there. If a pilot is gone, there's someone else to help you," said UD Aviation Department Assistant Chair Chaminda Prelis.

Lufthansa - the airline which owns Germanwings - says it is now implementing that "rule of two" - but that's not a requirement outside the U.S.

Also, some countries around the world don't require as many flight hours as in the U.S.

Here, it may take a pilot 5-9 years to pilot a commercial plane, if they pass every test and requirement on time.

In some parts of the world, it takes half that amount of time to be a commercial pilot in some cases.

A movie called "Pilot Error", which made its Iowa premiere Friday night in Dubuque, takes a dramatized look at some of the dangers of airline automation.

It's based on the crash of an Air France jetliner which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.

The movie runs through Thursday at Mindframe Theaters.

You can see the movie's trailer here.

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