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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FAA Expands Commercial Airline Pilot Certification Requirements

By Woodrow Bellamy III

FAA on Wednesday announced plans to increase the number of flight hours required for co-pilots on U.S. passenger and cargo airlines to obtain an Airline Transport (ATP) certificate. 
Under the new rule, co-pilots, known as first officers, will have to obtain 1,500 hours of flight time to complete their certification to fly passenger and cargo planes. Co-pilots were previously only required to have 250 hours of flight time, and the new rule will require them to have the same number of hours that pilots are required to have for ATP certification. 
The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 mandated the new training requirement. According to FAA, the act was the result of the February 2009 Colgan Air 3407 crash that left all 49 passengers onboard dead. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the new pilot requirements include "initiatives championed by the families of Colgan flight 3407."
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) wrote a letter to newly appointed U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx last week requesting a finalization of the new rules "as swiftly as possible." 
“Flying in America has never been safer, but the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214 is an urgent reminder that we must still constantly look for ways to make it even safer,” Larsen said. “I have been pushing these rules because the American flying public needs to know the government is doing everything we can to make sure the skies are safe.”

The new rule will also require at least 1,000 flight hours as a co-pilot to serve as a captain for a U.S. airline, and pilots must also obtain 50 hours of multi-engine flight experience. 

Related: Aviation Today's Checklist 

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