Better late to the party then to never have come at all, that's the way I feel about the FAA's announcement Tuesday that they will propose to raise the mandatory retirement age for U.S. commercial pilots from 60 to 65:
FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey – speaking before pilots and aviation experts at the National Press Club – said that the agency plans to propose adopting the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard that allows one pilot to be up to age 65 provided the other pilot is under age 60. “A pilot’s experience counts — it’s an added margin of safety,” said Blakey. “Foreign airlines have demonstrated that experienced pilots in good health can fly beyond age 60 without compromising safety.”Late last year, Blakey established a group of airline, labor and medical experts to determine whether the United States should adopt the new ICAO standard and sort out what actions would be necessary if the FAA were to change its rule. Since 1959, the FAA has required that all U.S. pilots stop flying commercial airplanes at age 60.
Nice work, FAA, welcome to the party. (FYI, the “Age 60” ARC report, appendices, and public comments are available online here, search for docket number 26139).