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How Low Can They Go? Pilots Fly Without Enough Fuel


The gas crisis has dangerous consequences, according to pilots who claim that airlines restrict airplane fuel to uncomfortably low amounts. Aggressive policies enacted by the financially struggling airline companies, attempt to reduce consumption and cost.

Three years ago NASA set up a confidential Aviation Safety Reporting System, which allows workers to anonymously report concerns. Some have reported that the airlines rank captains according to who can land using the least amount of gas.

Despite warnings from aviation workers, the FAA does not want to order airlines to keep fuel loads above the minimum required: enough for the trip, plus 45 minutes extra. The agency's spokesman says that the FAA can't "dabble in the business policies or the personnel policies of an airline." Thankfully, there hasn't been a low-fuel-related accident since the early '90s; but, do you think airline companies should listen to the pilots' growing concerns that the bottom line might compromise safety?

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