House passes training bill that may affect GA

A bill passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives Oct. 14 aimed at enhancing flight standards for airline pilots may have repercussions affecting all of aviation.

The legislation, passed 409 to 11, calls for increasing the number of flight hours to work as an airline pilot to 1,500 for an Air Transport Pilot certificate. Current regulations only require 250 hours to work as a first officer.

The bill also orders the FAA to set up a databank with information about every pilot. It would have all pertinent facts, which can be passed on to airlines seeking to hire a person. Information would include pilot’s licenses, aircraft ratings, check rides, notices of disapproval, and other flight proficiency tests.

Students attending accredited schools may count some classroom time toward the 1,500 flight hours required. The bill sets out specific subjects to be covered. Beyond these, the FAA may allow credit based on specific academic training courses that are determined “to enhance safety more than requiring the pilot to fully comply with flight hours requirement.”

Jason Blair, executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors, says this section is something the association will have to look at closely as it sets different levels for flight students going to accredited schools and those taking lessons from an instructor at their airport. He adds that flight hours alone are not the answer to safety, pointing out that the type of training, conditions of flight, aircraft flown, and other factors affect a pilot’s ability to handle different situations.

Another section of the legislation requires a study to be conducted “of flight schools, flight education, and academic training requirements” and to compare training in the United States with that in other nations.

The bill was introduced following the accident of a commuter flight at Buffalo, New York.

The Senate must also act on the issue and the two bills be merged before becoming law.


  1. Bart says

    So, 409 Congresspeople are telling the FAA what the requirements for a co-pilot to be paid $20k a year will be. I bet there won’t be a downside to this!

  2. Chuck Miller says

    Another typical knee jerk reaction to an event, just to show that “they are doing something” . Flight hours do not correlate to safety. I know low time pilots that I would rather fly with than some high time folks. It attitude and training that makes safe pilots. I have been a pilot and flight instructor for over 35 years. Every time the legistrators dip their political noses in the regulation pool, the law of un-intended consequences rears it head. They/we have and entire federal department charged with regulating aviation. Let then do their job.

    Chuck Miller CFI/AGI/IGI

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