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To the editor: The history of this onerous rule banning pilots above age 60 from flying commercially is very clear [" Pilots Battle Mandatory-Retirement Law," Page 14, July 17, 2006]. It’s always been about economics and not safety. It’s amazing that we’ve put up with this for so long. As to the 58-year-old American Airlines pilot who supports the rule, it should be noted that American Airlines is one of the rare few that still have a defined-benefit plan and, even more rare, a lump-sum option. Therefore, his comments were economically driven, too. I’m almost 59, and my friends at American Airlines are bailing out with their lump sums. For those of us that are forced to retire yet still have that passion for aviation, there are foreign airlines that are growing, looking for our experience, and willing to pay well. But what pilot wants to leave this wonderful country and spend so much time away from his family? I’m sure our traveling public would rather see the experience stay in the cockpits of U.S. carriers. As the International Civil Aviation Organization standard comes into effect in November, allowing foreigners to fly into our country in command up to age 65, our own Federal Aviation Administration will continue to force our pilots to retire at 60. Think about it: Foreigners will be allowed to fly. Americans want to and can’t. What a shame! Frank H. Malone Captain, JetBlue Airways

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