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New Bill Calls For Changes to Airline Pilot RequirementsIf enacted, how will the new law affect your professional plans?
By Matthew Everett
In a last minute effort, Congress passed the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010. While the bill seeks to extend FAA funding for another two months, the meat of the bill regards pilot certification. While this affects all pilots, those who are most affected are pilots training for airline careers with air carriers operating under part 121.
Airine Pilots Will Need 1500 Hours
According to this new bill, all pilots, including first officers, flying for part 121 airlines must have an ATP certificate. This new requirement takes effect under the bill 3 years from now, but will likely begin to influence airline hiring decisions well before then. Previously, any commercially rated pilot could act as first officer. The concern has been that this move will create a barrier to entry for new pilots as this increases required flight hours for first officers from 250 to 1500.
Stall Recognition and Upset Training
Additionally, the FAA is being required to implement safety recommendations issued by the NTSB. These recommendations stemming from the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in 2009. Topics included in the recommendations are stall recognition and upset recovery. Additionally, the FAA must issue flight and duty time regulations after reviewing scientific research on fatigue.
New Pilot Training Database
Finally, under the bill, the FAA is to create database of every pilot's training record. This database is to include records on any person issued any level of airman certificate. The database will contain information on certificates, ratings, type ratings and medical certificates held by every pilot. Additionally, the database is to include records of any failures, administrative actions, or restrictions placed on the pilot. The intention of the centralized database is to allow airlines a certain level of transparency when it comes to individual pilots and their training so they can better offer remedial training.
For more information, see FAA Funding Bill Changes Pilot Requirements or Changes to airline training hours in short-term FAA bill on AOPA.org.
Download the full text (pdf) of the bill courtesy of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Matthew Everett is a frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com, a private pilot, and aviation blogger. You can find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.