With low pay and long hours, pilots for regional airlines see their job as a stepping stone to a career at a major carrier. Critics say the relative inexperience of these pilots, combined with lax oversight by the FAA, makes regionals more dangerous than the big airlines. But Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association, disagrees. "These are not your grandfather's, or even your father's, regional airlines," he says. "Today we have one commercial airline industry, and the flight crews all meet the exact same standards."

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