FAA proposes to raise pilot qualification standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA has proposed to substantially raise the qualification requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines. The proposed rule would require first officers to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, requiring 1,500 hours of flight time.

Currently, first officers are required to have only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time. The proposal also would require first officers to have an aircraft type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly.

“Safety in all modes of transportation is our number-one priority,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposed rule reflects our commitment to the safety of the traveling public by making sure our pilots are the most qualified and best trained in the world.”

“Our pilots need to have the right training and the right qualifications so they can be prepared to handle any situation they encounter in the cockpit,” said FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta. “I believe this proposed rule will ensure our nation’s pilots have the necessary skills and experience.”

Other highlights of the proposed rule include:

  • A requirement for a pilot to have a minimum of 1,000 flight hours as a pilot in air carrier operations that require an ATP prior to serving as a captain for a U.S. airline.
  • Enhanced training requirements for an ATP certificate, including 50 hours of multi-engine flight experience and completion of a new FAA-approved training program.
  • An allowance for pilots with fewer than 1,500 hours of flight time, but who have an aviation degree or military pilot experience, to obtain a “restricted privileges” ATP certificate. These pilots could serve only as a first officer, not as a captain. Former military pilots with 750 hours of flight time would be able to apply for an ATP certificate with restricted privileges. Graduates of a four-year baccalaureate aviation degree program would be able to obtain an ATP with 1,000 hours of flight time, only if they also obtained a commercial pilot certificate and instrument rating from a pilot school affiliated with the university or college.

The proposed rule can be viewed here. The public may comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication on Feb. 29.

For more information: FAA.gov

 

 

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