Numerous foreign airlines contract with American flight schools to train their pilots -- the Federal Aviation Administration awarded 4,820 commercial and air transport pilot's licenses last year to foreign pilots. Many of those pilots have a few years of ground school instruction, but their flight to the U.S. is often their first time in an airplane. Instructors at several U.S. flights schools feel they are being pressured to pass students who are not ready. "We need to give them more training," said longtime flight instructor David Baker. "There seems to be, I think, an almost indecent hurry to get young, cadet co-pilots, into the cockpit."

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