After an almost three year process, the Jacksonville University (JU) School of Aviation has received authorization from the FAA for graduates to be eligible for the Restricted Air Transport Pilot Certificate (R-ATP) with 1,000 hours of flight time versus the traditional requirement of 1,500 hours.
The certificate allows a pilot to serve as a co-pilot until he or she obtains the necessary 1,500 hours for the Air Transport Pilot certificate.
With the ruling, the aviation program joins approximately 80 programs at colleges and universities throughout the nation authorized to offer the R-ATP.
The legislation establishing the requirement that both pilots hold an ATP came as a result of a fatal air crash in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009.
“Out of that accident came legislation that said to fly for an airline owned by a company in the United States both seats have to have an ATP,’’ Capt. Matt Tuohy, director of the School of Aviation, said. “The concession they made is the person in the right seat (co-pilot) could have a Restricted ATP which you can get earlier than 1,500 hours. If you’re a graduate of an approved four-year program that incorporates 60 hours of approved curriculum, you can get that at 1,000 hours.’’
Nearly three years ago, the school applied for the authorization, but was turned down due to a technicality in the rules.
Consequently, assistant professor Chad Kendall wrote a petition for an exemption from that rule and he and assistant professor Alix Melchionna began the effort required to get an air agency certificate for ground school, which would enable receipt of a restricted ATP authorization. Their efforts resulted in a successful FAA visit and issuance of the certificate for the school.
JU then withdrew its long-standing exemption petition and within a week and a half was authorized to award a Restricted ATP for all the students moving forward.
The authorization affects all students who began this semester and the school now is petitioning to grandfather in students who began study three to four years ago and remain here, as well as recent graduates.