Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Jessica Birnbaum

Second Advisor

John Dubreuil


Colgan Air Flight 3407 was a devastating aircraft accident that resulted in the loss of 50 lives (Beresnevicius, 2019). Multiple factors played into the accident, such as pilot credentials, pilot experience, weather, and fatigue. As a result of the accident, the regional airline pilot profession was changed entirely. Changes that spurred because of the accident were both regulatory and compensatory in nature. Regulatory changes include the introduction of the Pilot Records Database (online database that stores pilot training histories), increased flight experience requirements to become a First Officer at an air carrier, and the introduction of proactive rest rules with the goal of reducing pilot fatigue and its resulting errors. Compensatory and quality of life changes include increased pay and enhanced progression to major airlines. This research paper will examine the long-term changes that occurred to the regional airline pilot profession as a direct reflection of the accident. I utilized online published resources that highlight all the aforementioned areas of focus. Moreover, I made use of survey results from regional airline pilots (both before the accident and after the accident) to determine how their livelihoods were impacted. I chose to study this accident and its effects on the regional pilot industry because I will soon be a regional airline pilot myself, and I am interested in knowing how my profession was affected by a singular accident. Through my research, I discovered that Colgan 3407’s ramifications still affect the pilot profession to this day. Airline pilots are now required to meet Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) minimums (1,500 hours total time) and have experienced substantial increases in pay and career progression. Moreover, the level of safety within the airline industry has increased, given the introduction of proactive 14 CFR Part 117 rest rules which aim to both inhibit and reduce pilot fatigue occurrences. Airline pilots became empowered to call out of work when experiencing inhibiting levels of fatigue, and no longer face punitive action when doing so.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis Presentation.pdf (699 kB)
Defense Presentation

Included in

Aviation Commons