Pilot Experience

The comments from Times readers on the heroism of the crew of United Airlines Flight 232 (the Sioux City crash) all seem to me to overlook the most important observation. The surviving passengers owe their lives to the experience of the pilots--the experience gained by flying literally thousands of hours in the "heavies."

(Eastern owner) Frank Lorenzo has announced smugly that he has hired more than 1,000 "new pilots" who have just completed their "training" to replace the striking pilots of the Airline Pilot's Assn. for Eastern Airlines. What would have happened if Flight 232 had been piloted by one of Lorenzo's strike-breaking 90-day wonders?

If there is a lesson from the tragedy of Flight 232, it is that we shouldn't price-shop when choosing our airline pilots--any more than we should when choosing a heart surgeon.

CHARLES E. McCLUNG

South Laguna

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