Quantity v Quality: Number Of Hours Still About Half What
Congress Had Sought
The FAA is reportedly on the verge of proposing that the minimum
number of hours required to be an airline First
officer be boosted to 700 hours, which is substantially higher
than the 250 hours under current requirements but less than half
the 1,500 hours proposed by Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the NPRM could be
published in the Federal Register as early as next month, and would
represent the largest shift in training requirements for commercial
airline pilots in decades. It comes against a backdrop of an
already-declining pool of qualified pilots due to retirements and a
reduction in the hiring of former military pilots.
The call for increase co-pilot training came in the wake of the
2009 Colgan Air accident in which 50 people were fatally
The paper indicates that the new requirements were alluded to in
a speech by FAA administrator Randy Babbitt on Wednesday, but he
did not offer details or a timeline. Part of the proposal is to
offer extra flight-time credits to civilians who graduate from
four-year academic institutions or other advance training programs.
Credits and special exemptions could be made available to military
pilots wishing to pursue an airline career.
The proposal for increased flight time for co-pilots is one of
four safety initiatives which could be presented by the FAA yet
this year, all stemming from the 2009 Colgan Air accident.