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FAA Proposes to Raise Airline Pilot Qualification Standards

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2012

Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette

Phone: 202-267-3883

WASHINGTON The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today 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 time. 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.” 

“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,” said FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta. “I believe this proposed rule will ensure our nation’s pilots have the necessary skills and experience.”

Other highlights of the proposed rule include:

The proposal addresses recommendations from an Aviation Rulemaking Committee, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the FAA’s Call to Action to improve airline safety.  

The proposed rule can be viewed at: http://archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/ The public may comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication on February 29.

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