FAA Proposes To
Raise Airline Pilot Qualification Standards
By Mike Mitchell
February 28, 2012 - The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) on Tuesday proposed to substantially raise the
qualification requirements for first officers who fly
for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines.
Consistent with a mandate in the Airline Safety and
Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010,
the proposed rule would require first officers also
known as co-pilots to hold an Airline Transport Pilot
(ATP) certificate, requiring 1,500 hours of pilot flight
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 Secretary 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.”
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.”
highlights of the proposed rule include:
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.
training requirements for an ATP certificate, including 50 hours
of multi-engine flight experience and completion of a new
FAA-approved training program.
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.
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.
addresses recommendations from an Aviation Rulemaking Committee, the
National Transportation Safety Board, and the FAA’s Call to Action to
improve airline safety.
Airline Pilots Association (CAPA) applauds the FAA final rule on the
first officer qualification arc as a result of the airline safety act.
“The FAA issued
the long awaited final rule on the First Officer Qualification ARC
convened nearly 2 years ago as a result of the Airline Safety Act of
2010 and in the wake of the Continental Express Flight 3407 tragedy in
Buffalo NY just over three years ago.
The five member
associations of CAPA are: Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines),
Independent Pilots Association (UPS), Southwest Airlines Pilots
Association (Southwest Airlines), Teamsters Local 1224, and US Airline
Pilots Association (US Airways).
CAPA is pleased
that the FAA has issued now new, and stronger qualifications for
individuals serving as First Officers in our nations Regional Airline
Fleet. These new rules dramatically increase the minimum flight time and
academic qualifications required to possess the new First Officer
Airline Transport Rating for commercial airline pilots in America.
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