FAA easing restrictions on older pilots

They believe they can fly.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is loosening the age restrictions for older pilots, the agency said Wednesday.

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Pilots over 60 will no longer be required to fly side-by-side with a younger pilot on international flights to compensate for various physical limitations and health problems they may face after that age.

Starting Thursday, those pilots will be allowed to fly internationally as long as they have a second pilot to back them up, regardless of the other pilot's age, the agency noted in the Federal Register.

This will ease what's known as the pilot pairing requirements for older pilots.

"Instead, all pilots serving on airplanes in international commercial air transport operations with more than one pilot may serve beyond 60 years of age without being paired with a (younger) pilot," the agency writes.

"Without the pairing requirement, all pilots on multi-pilot crews serving in international air transport commercial operations may continue to serve as long as they have not reached 65 years of age," it adds.

The international rules only apply to pilots flying overseas, not domestically.

The changes go into effect on Nov. 13.