Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take: President flew too long

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) special flight to diplomatic allies in Latin America violated regulations on the maximum number of flight hours allowed for pilots, a senior Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) official said yesterday. Billy Chang (張國政), director-general of the MOTC's Civil Aeronautics Administration, said the captain of the special flight had reported to him that the maximum number of flight hours had been exceeded. The presidential flight flew a total of 37 hours on its way to Paraguay, and after departing from Costa Rica, it flew a total of 31.5 hours before arriving in Taipei. International rules limit pilots to flying 10 hours per day. Even if two groups of crew members are switching duty, they can only work a maximum of 18 hours per day. Chang said that the pilot would face reduced punishment because he made the report voluntarily. A review committee composed of academics and experts will determine the exact punishment, he said.

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