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House says no record flights by child pilots

Prompted by the death of 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, the House has passed legislation forbidding a licensed pilot from turning over an airplane's controls to a child trying to set an aviation record.

Jessica was attempting to become the youngest person to fly across the country when her single-engine plane went down April 11 after takeoff in a rainstorm near Cheyenne, Wyo. Her father, Lloyd, and flight instructor, Joe Reid, died with her.

The bill, passed 395-5 Monday night and sent to the Senate, prohibits anyone who does not hold a valid pilot's license and medical certificate from attempting to set a record or engaging in an aeronautical competition or feat.

The minimum age for obtaining a pilot's certificate is 17.

Licensed pilots who turn over the controls to a non-pilot trying to set a record would have their licenses revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The bill, by aviation subcommittee chairman John Duncan and Rep. William Lipinski, D-Ill., would still permit children to take a plane's controls _ under the supervision of the pilot in charge and under circumstances other than a record attempt or competition.

The FAA is directed within six months to complete a study of the issue of children flying aircraft.

The House also passed a bill, 401-0, that would require an airline, before hiring a pilot, to check the applicant's records, including proficiency tests, physical exams and drug and alcohol tests.

It was a Dec. 13, 1994, American Eagle crash in North Carolina, killing 15 people, that brought attention to the problem of airlines not sharing data on pilots.

The crash was blamed on pilot error. Investigators later determined that the pilot had been forced out of another airline, but American Eagle did not know that when it hired him.