US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced (10-Jul-2013) the increase in qualification requirements for first officers employed by US passenger and cargo airlines. The rule will take effect on 01-Aug-2013. First officers will now be required to hold and airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, which requires 1500 flight hours as a pilot, instead of the current requirement of a commercial pilot certificate requiring 250 flight hours. First officers will also be required to have an aircraft type rating.
Other highlights of the rule include:
- A requirement for a pilot to have a minimum of 1000 flight hours as a co-pilot in air carrier operations prior to serving as a captain for a US airline;
- Enhanced training requirements for an ATP certificate, including 50 hours of multi-engine flight experience and completion of a new FAA-approved training program;
- An allowance for pilots with fewer than 1500 hours of flight time or who have not reached the minimum age of 23 to obtain a 'restricted privileges' ATP certificate. A 'restricted privileges' ATP certificate allows a pilot to serve as a co-pilot until he or she obtains the necessary 1500 hours.
US Transporation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "Safety will be my overriding priority as secretary, so I am especially pleased to mark my first week by announcing a rule that will help us maintain our unparalleled safety record. We owe it to the traveling public to have only the most qualified and best trained pilots." FAA administrator Michael Huerta said: "The rule gives first officers a stronger foundation of aeronautical knowledge and experience before they fly for an air carrier." [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]