Thursday, February 04, 2010

FAA asks for input on pilot qualification and training requirements

by B. N. Sullivan

FAA logoThe United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking recommendations to improve pilot qualification and training requirements. The request for input from the public (including pilots) is a part of the FAA’s 'Call to Action', which "aims to strengthen pilot hiring, training and performance, as well as combat fatigue and improve professional standards and discipline at all airlines." The FAA is pursuing both rule changes and voluntary safety enhancements

In the current round, the FAA is seeking comments on basic pilot certification in four key areas:
  • Should all pilots who transport passengers be required to hold an Air Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with the appropriate aircraft category, class and type ratings, which would raise the required flight hours for these pilots to 1,500 hours?
  • Should the FAA permit academic credit in lieu of required flight hours or experience?
  • Should the FAA establish a new commercial pilot certificate endorsement that would address concerns about the operational experience of newly hired commercial pilots, require additional flight hours and possibly credit academic training?
  • Would an air carrier-specific authorization on an existing pilot certificate improve safety?
The FAA announced today that an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) will be published next week in the Federal Register and will have a 60-day comment period. It is on display today at

The FAA will then incorporate the comments into a new proposal that will also be published for public comment.

“Our nation’s airlines should have the best-trained and best-prepared pilots in the cockpit,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We must build on the current pilot certification system and make it even stronger.”

“Experience is not measured by flight time alone,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “Pilots need to have quality training and experience appropriate to the mission to be ready to handle any situation they encounter.”