New Airline Hiring Standards Likely To Worsen Pilot Shortage

AIN Air Transport Perspective » March 5, 2012
First officers to require ATPs.
Under a proposed new rule issued by the FAA last week, airline first officers would need an ATP pilot certificate. (Photo: Fotolia)
February 28, 2012, 4:43 PM

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a long-overdue Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last week that would require first officers to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, which requires 1,500 hours of pilot flight time except under limited circumstances. The proposed rule contains provisions included in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama in August of that year.

Neither the Regional Airline Association (RAA) nor Airlines for America (A4A) would venture to comment on their respective positions beyond brief written statements emphasizing the need for further study of the proposed rule. Meanwhile, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations—representing the Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines), Independent Pilots Association (UPS), Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, Teamsters Local 1224, and US Airline Pilots Association (US Airways)—applauded the NPRM.

Scheduled to take effect next year, the new rule could exacerbate an already alarming trend toward a shortage of pilots, particularly for regional airlines, most of whose minimum hiring requirements now fall well below the 1,500 hours needed for an ATP.

Under the present FAA rules, first officers can carry only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time. The proposal also would require first officers to earn an aircraft type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly.

However, the rule would allow pilots who hold an aviation degree or with military flying experience to obtain a “restricted privileges” ATP certificate, under which a first officer could serve with fewer than 1,500 hours. Under the proposal, former military pilots with 750 hours of flight time could apply for an ATP certificate with restricted privileges, while graduates of a four-year baccalaureate aviation degree program could earn an ATP with 1,000 hours of flight time, but only if they also obtained a commercial pilot certificate and instrument rating from a pilot school affiliated with the university or college.

The new rule would also require “enhanced” training requirements for an ATP certificate, including 50 hours of multi-engine flight experience and completion of a new FAA-approved training program. Finally, under the proposal, all U.S. airline captains must have accumulated at least 1,000 flight hours as a pilot in air carrier operations that require an ATP.

 

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don yarbro
on March 6, 2012 - 10:51am

There is no pilot shortage. There is a shortage of competent airline management . Like in the movie "Field of Dreams" : if you build it they will come. If you build a pay and benefits system at the airlines then there will be pilots galore, just like there was prior to the current situation. When there was an attractive job in aviation, with decent pay, a stable retirement, and some idea that the company you worked for was going to be required to honor the contracts they agreed to, there was not a shortage. Now that management has destroyed the industry, they decry the fact they have trouble getting people to join!
FedEx and UPS have no shortage of pilots. Don't blame the public for what Airline Management has done to the industry. Management has gotten exactly what they wanted: a deregulated industry, now lie in the bed you have made.

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kyle
on March 6, 2012 - 11:42am

What does a college degree have anything to with experience in a jet aircraft. It does not make them less dangerous. Only time and experience can over come that. Just part of it.

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Larry Walters
on March 6, 2012 - 11:57am

Money runs the world, money gets 1500 hours lowered to 1000. If every pilot decided not to fly just for pride, and ego stroking, since the Manager of Maint Training at a feeder makes 35K more than an FO, and refused to keep management employed, then there might be some changes.

Stop working for nothing, idiots.....

Pilots who work for crap are the problem and they are the solution.

Wake up Fools!!!!!!!

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Ken Hoskins
on September 13, 2012 - 12:31pm

Actually there is a noticable and undeniable difference in someone who has flight training from mom and pops flight school and someone who has a four year aviation degree and flight training from a highly standardized and scheduled flight program within that University; where excuses like "today I dont feel like it" are TOTALLY unacceptable. I have seen training at several FBO's and yes you do learn the gist of it. But what they dont teach you for instance is weather and actual aviation accidents. In depth knowledge about either subject is mostly barely mentioned! Reading the AC-0045 Aviation Weather Services book and understanding a variety of weather details are two completely different things. Furthermore when someone asks you how TWA Flight 800 crashed and you as a mom and pop student say "oh wasn't it shot down? LMAO NO!! There are several key factors aviation universities cover which highly contribute to the student safety and caution as a pilot. There are many FBO pilots who retain similar skills but not because the FBO taught them,but from their own initiative. Yes their are good pilots on both sides, yes their are bad and unsafe pilots on both sides. Yes there are pilots with a million hours of actual flight time and have one bad day and make one bad decision and kill everyone on board and everything including the cockpit voice recorder show it was pilot error from the guy with a million hours LOL (None of these sides are perfect, but some do carry a greater margin of success and safety). However if you reasearch the statistics to support your claims you will find the safer pilots come from the Aviation Universities side more than from a relaxed and less attention to detail minded FBO who rushes you through training in about a year to let people pay for your commercial pilot services after such a short period... Really? I wouldn't fly with you if you said you have a year of pilot experience to me. The only reason I would fly with someone like myself is because of the National reputation earned by my respective university, my discipline in the service prior to this and my grueling flght schedule on top of full time aviation academic curriculum. Without that I would be like "buddy your cool and all but I dont feel comfortable call me in another year, and maybe I'll fly with you." There is a difference!

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Geo
on September 13, 2012 - 6:12pm

You are delusional. You are paying about three times the tuition of your state university where you could be majoring in a degree like mechanical engineering that is useful in many, many different industries. Indeed, such a degree is much more valued than your "aviation management" degree which is essentially useless - even in aviation.

As far as your flight training being superior don't make me laugh.

Get yourself a real degree from a real school and go to flight training in the USAF or USN after graduation. As it is you are just drinking the "aviation university" Kool-Aid.

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matt
on September 13, 2012 - 7:10pm

There has never been, is not now, nor never will be a pilot shortage in the US. Any one who believes otherwise is only fooling themselves. As far as university pilots being better than pt. 61 pilots, what a bunch of baloney. As an instructor pilot and pic on a 2 pilot crew, I have seen it either way. I would much rather work with a pt. 61 trained pilot who has some work experience as a flight instructor or flying jumpers or a single pilot freight hauler, than deal with some 250hr wonder who just graduated from some aviation university. That university graduate will never have the experience that the pt. 61 pilot gets after one year of single pilot freight flying.

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WEG
on September 7, 2013 - 4:45pm

And shame of the DOT and FAA and the spineless, political hack Administrators for allowing people (the Colgan families and Congress) that have no qualification or background in aviation matters and who know nothing about the industry to force changes in the rules that do not make the slightest bit of sense and that will do absolutely nothing to prevent accidents. An absolutely mind boggling exercise in futility!

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Mike Hamner
on September 8, 2013 - 1:12am

Experience, REAL experience, can only be attained through doing the job. Forcing prospective 121 pilots to plod around the sky in C172's is NOT experience and no amount of college will make you any better. I have 16,550 hours and I was hired at a regional with 1340 total and 140 multi with NO real instrument time. I learned flying the northeast corridor in the dead of winters with icing, snow, low visibility, no autopilots and no lavatory to relieve yourself. I learned flying IN and in close proximity to thunderstorms with so-so radars and without the ability to climb over weather. By the time I hit 3000 hours I had seen all that including engine shutdowns (one at night in mountainous terrain), loss of all electrical power, split flaps, medical emergencies and many small irregularities. My father was hired at Eastern Airlines with 194 hours Total and NO multi-engine time into the 707. He did just fine and nobody died. Even the pilots that caused the Colgan crash that started this whole mess were actually very well experienced. Certainly more so than when I started flying.

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