Back to Squawk list
  • 40

FAA unveils recommendations to change 1,500-hour requirement

This plan would reduce the flight time hour requirement for military pilots from 750 hours to 500; for pilots with a bachelor's degree from 1,000 hours to 750; and for pilots with an associate's degree from 1,250 hours to 1,000. The Air Line Pilots Association, which has resisted efforts to create alternative pathways to help pilots meet the 1,500-hour requirement, endorsed the recommendation. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Just to clarify I am assuming the bachelors degree must be in Aviation such as Aviation Management or Professional Flight or something similar?

In my opinion I think they should just have a fixed number of required hours for the R-ATPL. Why make it confusing with bachelor and associate degrees? If the 1500 seems excessive, why not just make it 1000 hours for everyone and the on job training can teach you Part 121 operations and multi crew operations etc? I do not think classroom experience counts as flying experience as already mentioned.

Personally, I find people who went through the aviation programs are not better pilots than Part 61 pilots who did their commercial and CFI outside of school. I also think it does a disservice by not advising students to pursue degrees in other areas as an additional source of expertise such as engineering or business related fields.

Lastly I hope this does not give the airlines an excuse to lower wages as how it was 5-10 years ago. I am also in the position of working toward an ATP, it is a lot of work, I think it should be earned however I do think it can be redundant as GA flying is quite different from airline flying and can be discouraging to a lot of people, so I can see both sides.
CloudSurfer89 2
Well said. I'm also working towards my ATP, but I have a bachelor degree in Finance so I'm required to get to 1,500 hours. I don't believe another 500 hours flying a piston will prepare me significantly more than 1,000 hours.

My question is, would this 250 hour credit apply to me or only to those with a degree in aviation already pursuing the R-ATP?

I think this is heading in the right direction. If the airlines want pilots so bad, let them get approval to provide us additional training for the ATP. I'm ready and waiting.
Highflyer1950 5
Sorry, but "yes" another 500 hours will prepare you significantly more and to think otherwise suggests how little about aviation you know!
mike leagan 2
So, you dont think an extra 500 hours would prepare you better? You seem like a nice kid and sound new to aviation, so as the Chief Pilot of a mid major flight dept, with 20 plus years in the game, I will give you some advice that may help you moving forward. NEVER say that you dont need more practice at something, especially flying. I still learn something every time that I get in an airplane. Having a degree in anything, including aviation, doesn't mean a hill of beans. Some of the worst pilots that I know, who would never get near one of our aircraft, have Masters degrees and PhD's. This doesn't qualify you to fly to ATP standards. This doesn't mean that you are "safer" in the cockpit than the guy with a HS degree. Trust me, if you want to move forward in this business, NEVER say that you dont need more training or flight time. It says a lot about you.
Ren Babcock 5
In my 40 yrs of flying I can say there are great pilots, good pilots, pilots and people who shouldn't be pilots.

I've flown with kids that have 500 hrs and are exceptional in situational awareness, keeping way ahead of the curve and just know what is going on. And I've flow with older pilots with 2000 hrs that still are trying to figure it out. We are all different.

I will never say more experience doesn't count. But I will say what is so frigg'n magical about 1500 hrs? It ends in 00 and since we have 10 digits its the right number?. I will take a person with 500 hrs flying cargo solo in winter conditions in the North East over a 1500 hr pilot flying in the desert southwest. A lot of time for a lot of young pilots is just sitting in the seat watching the Garmin these days anyway.

I suppose the FAA has to have a number for a regulation, so someone came up with 1500, but I will say an hour in some situations isn't an hour in another and they all add up differently.
bentwing60 2
Someone came up with 1500 hrs. a long long time ago as the standard for the ATP. To separate the wheat from the chafe. So it's not some mystical number. Colgan Air 3407 pilots muddied the waters somewhat by missing all the stall warning cues a mile outside the Marker. And then not recovering from it. Then the pundits that regulate this stuff, but never did it came up with a "new" plan. An ATP for every seat. So now that there is a "real" pilot shortage that never seemed to exist during my career the industry and regulators are tryin to pull the rabbit out of the proverbial hat, an ATP rating that doesn't meet the original requirement. For the folks that reach the magic # and get an ATP,I'll bet most will find a flying job, But they won't be flying anything like what the old timers commenting on this thread Flew early on. It wasn't about TV screens and buttons, or moving maps and XM weather in the cockpit. Cheers
sparkie624 1
Always the more the better... I see low time crews always writing up stuff that is operating normally simply because they did not understand it as well as they should... So yes... there is no substitute for experience... School of Hard Knocks is one of the best. Having 2 Green Pilots is not a good situation, and one that is TOO GREEN is a very bad thing...
Taylor Jones 1
I have been led to believe the writers of these articles are using the often misunderstood idea of how RATP works, i.e. many people think that if you attend any flight school that is part 141 and/or you have a degree, you're eligible for the 1000 hr RATP. The list of universities with FAA-approved part 141 training programs and letters of authorization in place is limited, such as Utah Valley University, University of North Dakota, Embry-Riddle, et al. It gets even more specific than that, such as the flight training has to be done by the university's flight department (not a local part 61 school, or doing flight training elsewhere while pursuing the school's online degree), as well as specific courses toward a minimum of 60 selected credit hours within the degree's syllabus. And even then, only certain degrees are eligible. My university has a B.S., A.S, A.A.S. in aviation science (pilot ratings required) as well as a B.S. in Aviation Management. Out of these four degree options, only the B.S. and A.A.S in Aviation Science are listed in the LOA.

Therefore I am assuming this "250 hour credit for a degree" is actually referring to getting a bachelor's degree from a university with an LOA part 141 program. In other words, I will be RATP eligible at 1000 but if this proposal ever went through then my eligibility would be reduced to 750 hours.
Paul Curs 9
FWIW, after 20+ years (now retired) as a military, corporate, and airline IP (that and $3 gets me a large coffee), I recall that we could brief with a new hire, then watch them fly for 30 minutes or so, and get a very good idea whether or not they had the right stuff. 1,500 hours is just an arbitrary figure set by a bureaucrat behind a desk. Airlines should be able to waive any numbers based on evaluation (not a candidate's family tree.) Lots of retired military, corporate, and airline instructor pilots would enjoy helping man the CFI breastworks, but for the obstacles the FAA throws in our way -- by treating us like we have no experience at all -- and being somewhat rude about it, to boot. The new multi-layer requirements just muddy the evaluation waters, IMHO. Degrees are nice, but they don't replace skill.
Well said
bentwing60 1
I'd buy that cup of joe and talk about it. If I read the reg. right you can't even fly as a "safety pilot" with a basic med. and an ATP. Back in the day, one could have a pretty good idea before you got off the ramp in a Lear 25, let alone V1, Vr. Cause to the uninitiated, that was all a blur. We were all there once.
canuck44 7
If and when the Air Force calls up 1000 pilots, a shortage from retirement will become a crisis at both ends of the age scale.
Before approval, attention should be turned to who will train the Private Pilots once all CFI's leave to go to the airlines. Existing airline pilots who worked hard to achieve at least 1000hrs, especially in the Regional's, won't let this happen. Keep in mind, hair-dressers need around 1000hrs before they can rank up. I personally do think this should be approved.
See a big goat rope on the horizon.....having the "right stuff" which we know when we see it counts for more than just grinding out hours or sitting in a classroom...
Chuck Pergiel 3
Effing airlines, racing to the bottom, as usual. Nobody cares about nuthin' anymore. Whoever can sell the most tickets for the lowest price wins, until they go bankrupt.
I'm an ATP with 14,000 accident free hours. 10,000 as PIC. I had 2 years of college and 200 hours when I achieved my commercial license and was hired by a foreign carrier (heavy jets). I honestly believe that hours do not guarantee a safe pilot, training and skill do. I have seen many pilots with many hours that scared the heck out of me and I have flown with some with little experience that had a lot of skill and good judgment. A college degree proves nothing in aviation. 200 hour pilots can be trained to become good SIC's.
Of all the bureaucratic baloney we have courtesy of the FAA, the 1500 hour rule to sit for the ATP exam isn't one that needs to be fixed. It works. The US ATP population is safe - because they've seen a lot of sky and they are well trained.

A degree doesn't prove anything. And a BS is just that - BS.

Take the case of my primary instrument instructor - a guy with a BS who now flies for a major airline. He was good instructor, but he was scared to death to fly in IMC. I did my entire instrument training course without ever seeing the inside of a cloud. Were those hours he spent looking out the window into CAVU conditions while I flew the airplane of value to his instrument proficiency? I think not.

For the record, he did go to Flight Safety in Florida one summer to get over his fear of actual before he took the ATP checkride. The FAA should go fix something that needs fixing.
More of a comment than a reply. As far as the Instructor that is. I personally know several pilots with different carriers both (majors and regionals) with just an Associates degree. I never finished my education at ERAU was hired without a degree. Ultimately made Captain flying for a major but, one difference I was a flight attendant for 10 year with AA before moving to the front of the airplane. At the time I had 1800 hours and no ATP things have changed. In the recent years I've seen new hires with just 300 hours few made it through initial training the ones that did, it showed in the cockpit always behind the airplane. Glad those days are gone.
canuck44 2
There are goods and bads to this approach and which camp a regulation falls will depend upon how well programs are certified. Bill Babis has a good point but on the other hand an Emory Riddle graduate in aeronautical science probably should be given credit. This will all break down to monitoring and certifying the credits.

This applies across the board...does and Air Force pilot flying drones 3000 miles from it qualify for credit or a chap who has flown a desk for most of his career barely barely staying current on a single aircraft which may or may not be multi-engine.

If this is to be instituted a lot of fine tuning will be necessary,but overall it is a needed program.
The recommendation lays out the rational for providing this credit for collegiate programs and military flying:

It also summarizes the criticism and support of both proposed EQP (enhanced qualification program) methods from the different industry groups that weighed in on the recommendation.
harm buning 2
KEEP the 1500 hour requirement, would be my opinion....
Elliot Cannon 2
Back in the mid sixties, you could at least get an interview with a major airline with a high school diploma and a few hundred hours. Then the military started cranking out thousands of pilots. Then it became 2500 hours, a 4 year degree and 20/20 uncorrected. The military trained pilots won't be around to bail out the industry this time. What will happen IMHO is, the FAA and the airlines will get together and either the requirements will be lowered (just like they are proposing) or the government will give certain qualified flight schools a "special certification" and after graduating from said certified flight schools, a pilot could be considered qualified for hiring by a major or regional airline. They could also adopt the procedures of some foreign airlines and hire 0 time pilots and train them till qualified.
bbabis 3
I don't understand how an associates or bachelors degree in underwater basket weaving or whatever equates to flight experience, which is the point of concern. Also, when I went through my ratings in the 70s you could not deduct 1 cent of training as an educational expense even though it qualified you for better jobs. Now you could get hundreds of hours for bookwork. As the shortage gets worse, and it will, we will see being able to spell pilot as the main qualifier with hours handed out as necessary.
Billy Koskie 2
Louisiana Tech's Professional Aviation program should benefit from this. A graduate in professional aviation will have their commercial pilot rating, CFI and multi-engine rating upon graduation.
sparkie624 2
I do not see this as a good move....
ADXbear 2
I think this is bs....what about the folks with technical training and experience? This rule says thst means nothing.. how about psdtcwork experience in management or other career fields of significance?.. I had 20 years working as a technician on the Space shuttle program... this says that means nothing.. I for one am tired of a piece of paper with a person of zero experience is better qualified than my hands on experience.. ya cant teach what we learned in a class room or book..
Scott Wiggins 0
Agreed...sitting through lectures and writing papers does not make one a better pilot. The entire Federal government has a bias toward traditional degrees. Much of government is run by those with advanced degrees who can't write a complete sentence or solve a simple algebraic problem but that's another story.
edgeair 1
As someone who is just hit 750 hours and is on the 1000 hour restricted ATP track, the problem I see is CFI retention. At my school we are unable to retain our CFIs one hour past 1000 and we are losing CFI-instructors right and left. All this as we just hit record enrolment. I wonder how much longer schools can afford to offer R-ATP programs because of how quickly they are losing instructors. If passed, this further 250 hour reduction will further hurt schools that get pilots to the airline qualification mark.
picturetaker an effort to enhance safety and address the pilot shortage, which is adversely impacting commercial air service to small- and medium-sized communities.

So it's all about the money and finding pilots to meet a need.
thats why the AF is recalling retirees
Chris B 1
If the Air Force does steal many Pilots back, easing the requirements is inevitable. Lets hope for the system's sake, that enough Pilots exist.
Tom Martin 1
Complete hogwash...for many reasons. Sorry, school and college degrees do not improve motor skills or good judgement when the $hit hits the substitute for experience. Another example of trying to quick fix a problem created by poor management. Paying a decent wage for the skill required will enhance retention of quality individuals, and attract enough people to consider being a career pilot. Need some people in the pipeline. Let’s not take a bad situation and make it much worse...and by the way, civilian training route is not inferior to the military. The military has ab initio civilian training programs...
Scott Wiggins 0
The military has ab initio training programs...yes. Unless things have changed the Navy soloes a student in a high performance turbine airplane after twelve training flights. Prior flight experience is not required/expected. More, the Navy student pilot is trained/evaluated over 200 flights in day, night, IFR, formation, navigation, gun pattern, air combat maneuvering, and carrier qualification. I'm probably leaving out some stuff as my information is dated. Not trying to pick a nit here but I don't think the civilian training route compares at all.
bentwing60 1
That might be because you didn't "do" it. If you had Paid for your early instruction, got paid zip for being A CFI, thought you had died and gone to Heaven when you got on part time to fly Lear 20 somethings in freight, with an AVQ46 radar, your condescension might be a tad more muted. The guys that did it "my way" paid taxes all along the way, and your training costs. The part 135 freight accident rate wasn't that bad in the day considering we all flew old equipment, often enough with at least one guy with minimal experience, sometimes two, and the Mantra, why bother callin about the weather, cause you are goin anyway. I'd rather saddle up with an old freight pilot any day than Chuck Yeager. Cheers.
Tom Martin 1
Thats because you are uninformed...
Eric Marenyi 1
Where can one get this report? I would like to read the actual documents.
Eric Marenyi 1
nevermind, I didn't realize it was the one linked below
blayba hamza 1
In my opinion I think they should just have a fixed number of required hours for the R-ATPL. Why make it confusing with bachelor and associate degrees? If the 1500 seems excessive, why not just make it 1000 hours for everyone and the on job training can teach you Part 121 operations and multi crew operations etc? I do not think classroom experience counts as flying experience as already mentioned.
airbusflyboy 1
It's nothing but knee jerk reactions , the FAA is like a tail wagging the dog , the idea that you get credit for certain accreditations is ludicrous at best .......... nothing replaces experience and the quality of that experience is paramount to attaining your goals .......... seniority has nothing to do with how good or how mediocre of a pilot you are , rather it is your ability and tenacious desire to meet a standard that will allow you to become a part of that standard , don't take the easy way out when you can do better by the harder choices ...........
kyle estep 1
the airlines should pay more to attract qualified pilots rather than reduce qualifications to be cheaper.... They got into this problem by setting up cheap arse paying regionals as a "starter" and eventually the model imploded... pay what the job requires from the start or go out of business.
Robert Huff 1
So a college degree will substitute for experience?
Experience is experience and a degree is a learning opportunity which may (or may not) afford increased knowledge, bit this is NOT a substitute for experience....
Will the FAA begin to credit sim time as "experience".
john Gargiulo 1
It is not how many hours, it is the quality of hours and time in type, i.e in jet or turboprop planes. You can have a pilot with lots of hours in a 172 flying in good conditions who has no challenging hours in ice and weather. Not good training hours. I personally like the pilots who start flying single pilot milk runs missions on a daily basis regardless of weather in turboprops, then they move to right seat of a small CJ or King Air with a higher time pilot. then they get on the job training. If s a decent corporate flight department or fractional ownership they usually are required simulator and class time. Of course there are pilots who completes all training and they still never learn how to feel and fly the airplane. They same holds true in the Military, some pilots learn real flying and some do not. We can not tolerate right seat pilots that crashed planes and killed humans like Lexington where they were taking off on the taxiway (controls were to the right seat), or the Colgan crash in New York where the right seat pilot made serious errors
ko25701 1
Sounds like they are trying to find a way to trade actual flying experience with sitting in a lecture hall, listening to a professor???? Is that was it really said? I would agree that military pilots typically have many more complex AC hours that might count for extra credit...but how about the young pilot cargo jockey with a crap ton of IFR?
Roy Hunte 1
More incidents coming?
This "education requirement" is pure HS
RoadRunner20 1
Sooo, with my business degree, I get a 250 hour requirement deduction?
Great job FAA.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.