The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has recommend that first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo carriers attain Airline Transport Pilot certification, instead of only commercial pilot certification. Such a designation would require co-pilots to increase their required flight time from 250 hours to 1,500 hours.
In addition to recommending additional flight time for first officers, the FAA has proposed that these individuals receive an aircraft type rating. This would require co-pilots to undergo additional testing and training specific to the aircraft they operate, according to a press release.
Other changes proposed by the FAA include new training mandates for ATP certification, such as 50 hours of multi-engine flight experience, and requiring pilots to fly for at least 1,000 hours in air carrier operations that require ATP certification before captaining a U.S. airline. The FAA has also recommended that pilots achieve “restricted privileges” ATP certification if they hold an aviation degree or served as a military pilot but have fewer than 1,500 hours of flight time.
“Safety in all modes of transportation is our No.1 priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “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.”
FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta echoed LaHood’s statements. “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,” Huerta said. “I believe this proposed rule will ensure our nation’s pilots have the necessary skills and experience.”
Input from the National Transportation Safety Board and an aviation regulation committee contributed to the FAA’s recommendations, according to the press release.