Airlines Look To Abolish 1,500-Hour Rule For Pilots

Airlines Look To Abolish 1,500-Hour Rule For Pilots

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We’re currently dealing with a major pilot shortage in the United States, which has been particularly bad for regional airlines. During the pandemic many senior pilots at the major airlines accepted early retirement packages. With demand roaring back, lots of pilots from regional airlines have been able to land jobs at the major network airlines, leaving regional carriers without qualified pilots.

One of the biggest regional airline in the United States is now asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to lower the minimum number of hours required to become an airline pilot… is this a reasonable request?

Republic asks for exemption to 1,500-hour rule

Republic is an Indianapolis-based regional airline that operates nearly 220 Embraer E170/175 jets on behalf of American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express. You may have flown with Republic without even realizing it, given how the marketing of regional airlines works.

As it stands, the FAA requires pilots to have at least 1,500 flight hours before they can work at an airline. There are a couple of exceptions in place, including that former military pilots can get that requirement cut in half, to only 750 hours.

Republic has sound logic for this request — the airline runs its own pilot training academy, called LIFT (which stands for “Leadership In Flight Training”). The airline argues that:

  • The training pilots receive at LIFT is just as good as they’d get in the military, and arguably even better for the purposes of flying a commercial jet
  • This would help airlines deal with the pilot shortage, which is a problem right now
  • This would make becoming a pilot more economical, as it would make the cockpit more diverse, including for people who historically couldn’t afford to become pilots
Airline pilots currently need 1,500 flight hours

Should the 1,500-hour rule be eliminated?

The 1,500-rule is one of the highest requirements you’ll find anywhere in the world, as other countries will let pilots fly airliners with just a couple of hundred hours experience. However, arguably the US takes this requirement to the extreme.

First it’s worth considering the origin of this rule. In 2013 the requirement for new airline pilots was increased from 250 hours to 1,500 hours, which is a massive increase. This was done following the 2009 crash of Colgan Air flight 3407, which crashed primarily due to pilot error.

The catch is that both the captain and first officer on that flight had over 1,500 hours, so that wouldn’t have even been a factor there. While I can appreciate the logic of wanting to make requirements to become a pilot more stringent (250 hours was arguably too low), I’m not sure what exactly this was intended to address.

Republic’s request seems reasonable to me:

  • Lots of hours as such doesn’t make someone a good pilot, but rather it comes down to the training that they’ve received
  • If these flight academies have good programs and a rigorous process for certifying people to get into the cockpit of a jet with passengers, then I’m all for it, regardless of whether a pilot has 750 hours or 1,500 hours
  • If the FAA believes it’s safe for pilots from the military to fly with 750 hours, then there should be a similar pathway for civilians to do this, in my opinion
  • Becoming a pilot is expensive, and that excludes a lot of people who may potentially be interested in this as a career path; if becoming a pilot can be made more affordable without compromising safety, I’d consider that to be a great thing
Hopefully Republic can have a 750-hour exception granted

Bottom line

With a significant pilot shortage, Republic is asking the FAA to waive the 1,500-hour rule for hiring pilots. Republic has its own aviation academy, and it’s argued that after 750 hours, pilots would be more than qualified to get behind the controls of a regional jet.

To me this seems like a perfectly reasonable request, pilot shortage or not.

Do you think the FAA should lower the number of hours required for pilots under some circumstances?

Conversations (73)
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  1. Greg Moormann CE500, ATP Guest

    The problem facing the regionals is not the 1500 hr requirement it’s the poverty level wages and the horrible scheduling and poor quality of life. If the regionals would pay professional wages and start respecting the pilots quality of life they would have no trouble staffing the cockpit.

  2. Matt Guest

    It’s an ATP rule not a 1500 hour rule. Also those hours are further delineated into types of flying one must accomplish. These airlines are suffering now because of terrible pay rates for the past 30 years that have enjoyed at the expense of pilots livelihood. At some point there had to be a reckoning. You reap what you sow. Suck it up buttercup.

    1. Gregory Moormann ATP Guest

      Exactly!!!!!

  3. Mickie Guest

    Are you even serious? You’re going to let a pilot with 250 hours potentially be in charge of a complex airplane with over 100 souls on board. Please

  4. Samuel Muriuki Guest

    For safety keeping 1500 is the best option. Even ICAO has ATPL for command and SIC.on jet and weight on certain categories....

  5. PrivatePilotTraveler Guest

    I’m a private pilot, not commercial or ATP.

    Speaking as a pilot: Having watched several flight instructors through the years go to airlines, only to be treated as poorly as I’ve ever seen employees treated, airlines can deal with what they created. They beat down pilots for DECADES folks. Pilot used to be a well paid occupation, something you could get married and raise a family after getting your wings. Airlines have crushed pilot unions,...

    I’m a private pilot, not commercial or ATP.

    Speaking as a pilot: Having watched several flight instructors through the years go to airlines, only to be treated as poorly as I’ve ever seen employees treated, airlines can deal with what they created. They beat down pilots for DECADES folks. Pilot used to be a well paid occupation, something you could get married and raise a family after getting your wings. Airlines have crushed pilot unions, and beaten pilot pay, especially at the regionals, into the dirt. I had regional pilots teaching me how to fly for a reason: they couldn’t afford to live in their pilot salaries. Keep in mind, THEY WERE SINGLE.

    Today airlines are paying the piper for their behavior. Pilot shortage? I can’t imagine why there’s a pilot shortage at all. Mediocre (at best, poor at worst) pay, terrible hours, miserable conditions, and so on. They should get ZERO help with getting new people to treat like dirt. Maybe, just MAYBE, they’ll figure out they have to start treating employees as human beings.

    There should be ZERO changes to the system. Let the airlines learn Capitalism the hard way. They knew the rules, abused people enough they destroyed the pipeline of replacement staff. Time for them to learn the hard lesson: To get new pilots they’ll have to up pay and benefits.

    Remember: The airlines don’t have a labor shortage, they have a 20+ year shortage of pay and benefits reducing the number of pilots available to hire. They deserve no pity, and no more bailouts.

    1. Gregory Moormann. ATP Guest

      Well stated and all true… no shortages… poverty wages and treated as slaves. Great comment!!!

  6. Ron Chevront Guest

    1,000 hours minimum

  7. Frank Faludi Guest

    The reason 750 hours is sufficient for the military is because they turf mediocre pilots at a way early stage and keep the those that are eager to and in fact do well. Maintaining the 1500 requirement/ standard will likely or at least possibly save lives.

  8. SAM345 Guest

    The fact that airlines are now in this predicament should be terrifying to the flying public. It should not be east to become a pilot. There have been no major USA accidents in many, many years and that is a testament to only allowing the best of the best, who have gone through extensive training to get behind the yoke or stick. These folks navigate complex issues on a regular basis whether it be one...

    The fact that airlines are now in this predicament should be terrifying to the flying public. It should not be east to become a pilot. There have been no major USA accidents in many, many years and that is a testament to only allowing the best of the best, who have gone through extensive training to get behind the yoke or stick. These folks navigate complex issues on a regular basis whether it be one engine shutting down or an issue with any one of the millions sensors these complex machines have. We the public do not hear about these problems because these current pilots are so well trained they know exactly how to deal with the issues. Can you imagine if they begin compromise on the training or the qualifications? Airliners will be falling out of the sky left and right. Airlines should have made sure they tool care of each and every pilot during the pandemic. They fact that some were laid off or had to accept lesser retirement packages was extremely short-sighted at a bare minimum.

  9. James D Bishop Guest

    In one easy step, the FAA could alleviate the pilot shortage. Get rid of the age limit. There is no justification for eliminating a well-trained, highly experienced, routinely and carefully medically examined, and crew-supported aviator automatically because they have become a set senior age. Let them work as long as they want to do so and meet standards.

    1. Carlos Víquez López Guest

      Totalmente de acuerdo en que deberían bajar la cantidad de horas para las regiones. Como puede ser que los pilotos empiezan en las aerolíneas grandes con 1000 horas y eso nunca ha traído problemas, porque en USA tantas para una regional?

    2. PrivatePilotTraveler Guest

      Puh-lease. The problem is one created by the airlines. They have spent DECADES beating down pilot pay and benefits. Someone else noted “it costs too much to become a pilot!” But that’s only because the return is too low. On top of that, especially at hue regionals, you have terrible working conditions. Many regional pilots still have to work as flight instructors, and it isn’t like flight instructors make a ton of money.

      I’ll be...

      Puh-lease. The problem is one created by the airlines. They have spent DECADES beating down pilot pay and benefits. Someone else noted “it costs too much to become a pilot!” But that’s only because the return is too low. On top of that, especially at hue regionals, you have terrible working conditions. Many regional pilots still have to work as flight instructors, and it isn’t like flight instructors make a ton of money.

      I’ll be brutally honest for you: Out of the last 10 flight instructors I knew, most (7) became corporate or small cargo pilots. Small sample, yes, but 7 flight instructors flat out refused to become airline pilots. Had you said that 30 or 40 years ago, people would’ve thought they were insane. Today it’s a common choice.

  10. Ruby Slippers Racing Guest

    No.....there is nothing that can be chocked up to actual 1500 hours of experience....I will take experience every time ......you can't beat it...think about it who would you like making a critical flight decision, 750 hrs or 1500 hrs...I will take the 1500 hour person they have dealt with more situations.

  11. Frank Guest

    ALPA says no pilot shortage at all. https://www.alpa.org/advocacy/pilot-supply

  12. John Macmillan Guest

    I’m sure some of the retirees during covid would come back for a short two sector day on the EMB

  13. pj hassett Guest

    you can certainly give releif to the shortage with a stroke of the pen....lift the age 65 retirement to 68 or 70. ICAO has had that on the table for years! the faa walks around that elephant in the room. biden seems to like signing a ton of executive orders. just sign another one that actually fixes a real problem. part 121 flying ends at 65 but the newest retirees cannot collect full social security until age 66 and 7 months! this situation makes no sense.

    1. Sam Guest

      I think you confused Biden with Trump... Biden has not been signing many executive orders unlike Trump. I actually wish he would get busy.

  14. pj hassett Guest

    a reason for the 1500 and hold ATP law was by hard earned NTSB " blood legislation". it took fatal accidents to invoke the regulation under good reason. look up the colgon crash in new york that made this happen. the old saying these airlines seem to want to follow...." those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."
    the airlines failed last time so we let them do it again??

  15. Brad Guest

    As a captain for a major airline with 20 years of experience i find this thinking flawed. We also havent had a major passenger accident since the rule was put in place and its easy to write this piece when you will not perish because your first officer has 0 experience

  16. Friendlyskies Guest

    What the airlines need to do is lobbying to extend retirement age to 70 instead of mandatory 65 years today

  17. Hwc Guest

    Let's state what this really is. A few CEOs want to be able to cash in on consumer demand ASAP. It's about M O N E Y... and has ZILCH to do with opening up cockpits to diversity, military pilots or not, blah blah. The exact same people who rushed the highest earning people on their payroll out the door, and now want to bring in the lowest paid pilots on their payroll while simultaneously...

    Let's state what this really is. A few CEOs want to be able to cash in on consumer demand ASAP. It's about M O N E Y... and has ZILCH to do with opening up cockpits to diversity, military pilots or not, blah blah. The exact same people who rushed the highest earning people on their payroll out the door, and now want to bring in the lowest paid pilots on their payroll while simultaneously elevating prices under the guise of increased fuel costs. It's rubbish. Ask the people who have already been forced to take concessions to continue to work for the airlines. Pilots are currently striking because they've lost their work support staff. The airlines can't and don't take care of their current staff so why, in the name of God, does anyone think they'll do a better job with more? Wake up. It's about MONEY and ceo's getting more of it. Period.

  18. Joseph Quincy Guest

    Great article, great point! Hours should definitely be lowered!!

  19. Michael Whalen Guest

    Hire that dude that just landed after his pilot blacked out i will fly with that guy now with 0 experience

    1. Diane Miller Guest

      That guy had experience Just not in that plane he said. He git a lot of attention.

  20. Col. Jim Worrall Guest

    Airlines created the pilot shortage with anemic compensation for the first decade of a pilot's career. The majors created a system where the regionals exploit new pilots with poverty level pay. Extending the mandatory retirement age by three years would eliminate the shortage as would increasing starting pay.
    We will know airlines are serious about hiring new pilots when airline owned flight schools stop charging six figure tuition and subsidize the cost of attendance.

    Airlines created the pilot shortage with anemic compensation for the first decade of a pilot's career. The majors created a system where the regionals exploit new pilots with poverty level pay. Extending the mandatory retirement age by three years would eliminate the shortage as would increasing starting pay.
    We will know airlines are serious about hiring new pilots when airline owned flight schools stop charging six figure tuition and subsidize the cost of attendance.

  21. Rick Womack Guest

    There was an excellent video report about this in December 2021 in the WSJ - see it here: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/shelby-holliday/the-2013-faa-rule-thats-being-blamed-for-todays-pilot-shortage/8C47008B-3CE5-4971-9FAC-9590C795BB88?page=1
    The 2013 rule was an over-reaction and the CARES (COVID response) made it worse.

  22. Brian Clemetson Guest

    I have been a pilot for 45 years, I have been an airline pilot for 35 years, I have found that it's not the hours that a pilot Flys but the drive to be proficient in our profession is what matters

  23. Joe Guest

    Or we could let the regionals shrink back to a reasonable level. There’s no sense in letting companies who argue for lower standards do so much flying.

    Mainline carriers have much better training, operations, and support departments. People are there because they take better care of their employees and pay them enough to retire some day. Regionals have skated by for too long on the promise that if pilots worked there for a few years,...

    Or we could let the regionals shrink back to a reasonable level. There’s no sense in letting companies who argue for lower standards do so much flying.

    Mainline carriers have much better training, operations, and support departments. People are there because they take better care of their employees and pay them enough to retire some day. Regionals have skated by for too long on the promise that if pilots worked there for a few years, they’d get a real job with real pay and benefits once they’d earned it. They run barebones staffing at all levels, with a “just good enough” standard that mostly works because of the dedication of good employees, until it doesn’t, like at Colgan. Or ComAir. Remember Lexington?
    Then that regional goes out of business and all the employees have to find jobs at the other regionals, who grow to take over the abandoned routes, while nothing in the system changes. Why again are we doing this?

    Even without an exemption to drop to 750 hours, Republic gets away with hiring FOs
    with 1000 hours if they have a 4 year degree. They’re upgraded to Captains as soon as they have the seniority. Imagine that pilot flying with the 750 hour new hire into a place they’ve never been with weather they’ve never seen, a mechanical issue they kind of understand and close to zero support from the company who spent all its money lowering the standards.

    I’m with Sully on this one. Make the airlines safer, not less safe.

  24. Av8reb Guest

    As a former Naval Aviator, Airline pilot; Check Airman, FAA Designee, in the 60’s/70’s/80’s the vast majority of airline hires were former military. In my airline New Hire class was a 300 hour civilian, a military helicopter pilot with little fixed wing time, Army fixed wing nothing bigger than an Bird Dog O-1G Cessna. All who had 30+ year airline career’s. It is not about time but more about attitude and natural ability. We only...

    As a former Naval Aviator, Airline pilot; Check Airman, FAA Designee, in the 60’s/70’s/80’s the vast majority of airline hires were former military. In my airline New Hire class was a 300 hour civilian, a military helicopter pilot with little fixed wing time, Army fixed wing nothing bigger than an Bird Dog O-1G Cessna. All who had 30+ year airline career’s. It is not about time but more about attitude and natural ability. We only fired a very few due to piloting skills after they he’d undergone the rigorous airline training, interestingly a couple were former military with an attitude problem and a couple of low time civilians that weren’t willing to put out the effort to upgrade to airline standards.
    The biggest problem I can foresee in today’s societal environment is the push to hire based on mitigating factors rather than on one’s mindset and love of flying. Should be interesting to watch.

    1. R Fuchs Guest

      The BOVINE SCAT in the China shop that NO one (unions included) won't talk about is; 1) Duty time. 2) on duty all 3 shifts in a schedule. & 3) fatigued commuter pilots sleeping in chairs. No matter an airwo-mans experience, you can't win messing with nature.
      These issues haven't changed in ALPA's lifetime, nor will they ever, till the NTSB is listened to and the FAA grows up.
      RRF 38 years with 3 airlines and it never changed a hoot.

  25. Don Guest

    If your waiting for the FAA to make a " good decision" good luck.

  26. Kathryn Creedy Guest

    Yes, I think FAA should grant this.

    Republic Airways proposals to equate airline academy training with military training makes sense to me and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines should support this proposal for their own #pilota cademies. The rulemaking requiring 1500-hours allows for alternative programs such as the airline training academies developed over the last few years by American, United and others

    First, there is nothing new or controversial in this...

    Yes, I think FAA should grant this.

    Republic Airways proposals to equate airline academy training with military training makes sense to me and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines should support this proposal for their own #pilota cademies. The rulemaking requiring 1500-hours allows for alternative programs such as the airline training academies developed over the last few years by American, United and others

    First, there is nothing new or controversial in this proposal since current regs already allow for alternative training, including college credits and military whose pilots come over at 750 hrs. before earning a Restricted ATP (R-ATP). This is no different.

    Second, it gives us what airline training experts have wanted for years -- a data-based approach to ensure pilot qualifications based on competency and evidence #CBT #EBT. The program uses data to ensure candidates demonstrate competency and proficiency throughout training, a move recommended by training professionals across the industry who want to see a more evidenced-based or data-driven training method to ensure the quality of the pilot.

    Third, it responds to @flightsafetyfoundation findings that once a pilot graduates from structured flight training, they lose professionalism and discipline while building hours. This proposal puts them in an airline-related training program equivalent to any of the great programs Europe whose pilots graduate and fly to the US without so much as a question on whether they are safe or not. 750 hours, that's a lot of continued discipline.

    The proposal also reduces the need for a loan in many cases, allowing students to focus more on training and less on an outside job or other financial commitments. The program would offer subsidies, scholarships, and stipends during the early training, as well as a salary in the later phases of the program which would go a long way toward including underserved populations in pilot requirement.

  27. Ron Guest

    Extend pilot retirement in the US two years. Problem solved with experience included

    1. Don Guest

      Why keep experienced pilots in the cockpit when you can just lower the standards??

  28. John Guest

    To try and say that a regional airline training academy is superior to a military training cycle, which only allows candidates in after getting a 4-year degree and then puts them through 2+ years of intense full time training is absurd.

    There is also already a path in the regulations to lower the minimums required to 1,000 hours. They have to offer the academy with an associated degree. There's tons of ways to do that.

    ...

    To try and say that a regional airline training academy is superior to a military training cycle, which only allows candidates in after getting a 4-year degree and then puts them through 2+ years of intense full time training is absurd.

    There is also already a path in the regulations to lower the minimums required to 1,000 hours. They have to offer the academy with an associated degree. There's tons of ways to do that.

    The "current pilot shortage" is self inflicted by the same people who are asking for the exemption. Within the last 2 years, the airlines in this country laid off and early retired thousands of pilots. Before that, they destroyed the pilot supply by offering a career that included the first 10-15 years with a salary well south of 40,000 and a horrible quality of life. It resulted in empty, failing, and bankrupt flight schools and FBOs.

    The current situation, with good starting pay and career progression paths has begun to attract new pilots. Every flight school in the country is bursting at the seams and training aircraft are being utilized at maximum capacity. The pilots are coming, but they don't get trained overnight (unless you exempt them from training as the proposal is attempting to do).

    Lowering the minimums will have two predictable results; it will help the airlines get through a short term, self induced staffing problem by allowing them to hire less qualified pilots. Long term, it will allow the airlines to force back down the compensation packages of the pilot population. Now ask yourself....who will be the biggest winners and losers?

  29. Rita ledda Guest

    No ! Fo not lower hours requirement. Experience is crucial.

    1. john Guest

      As a CFI-CFII-MEI instructor, I speak from experience. You do not know what you speak of. You do not get to be experienced as a flight instructor by flying Steep Turns over and over to get to 1500. I'm pretty sure that flying for the majors we are not going to do Steep turns. a lower time CFI flying with an experienced captain and training in the sim will make you a more prepared and...

      As a CFI-CFII-MEI instructor, I speak from experience. You do not know what you speak of. You do not get to be experienced as a flight instructor by flying Steep Turns over and over to get to 1500. I'm pretty sure that flying for the majors we are not going to do Steep turns. a lower time CFI flying with an experienced captain and training in the sim will make you a more prepared and safe pilot. That is where true experience comes from. Not flying a Cessna in the traffic pattern for 1500 hours only makes experience in putting up with students' bad habits, not becoming a better candidate for flying in the airlines.

    2. Nathan W. Guest

      Respectfully, you are SO wrong. As someone who's "been there, done that" many years ago, I can confidently say the experience you gain while CFI'ing is invaluable.
      It's not about doing Steep Turns for 1500 hours. It's about the decision making, when you're the PIC and the student with you has little to no idea what's going on. It's the dealing with the inevitable emergencies/abnormalities. It's REALLY knowing your trade/craft in depth.
      I...

      Respectfully, you are SO wrong. As someone who's "been there, done that" many years ago, I can confidently say the experience you gain while CFI'ing is invaluable.
      It's not about doing Steep Turns for 1500 hours. It's about the decision making, when you're the PIC and the student with you has little to no idea what's going on. It's the dealing with the inevitable emergencies/abnormalities. It's REALLY knowing your trade/craft in depth.
      I get it.... I wanted nothing more than to get out of a hot, bumpy 172 where I worked 10 hrs a day, and then had to go deliver pizzas after that, to pay the rent and into a jet. But I'm telling you..... I can usually tell in the first 30 mins when I fly with someone that never spent an hour as a CFI.
      You know what happens when we have pilots trained Ab Initio by the airlines? They crash a perfectly functioning airplane short of the runway, because the autopilot malfunctioned or confused them and they can't hand-fly a VFR approach.

  30. Windborn Guest

    It’s not the flying around the traffic pattern that makes you a better pilot but rather what situations occur during that time that that do. The return on investment so to speak with repetitive skills lessens over time however our judgement and reactions to non normal situations makes for more competent and more confident pilots.

  31. Johnny White Guest

    At one time you had to have several thousand hours to land a job with s major airline. 1500 hours is not much experience but depending on what it consisted of might make a difference but highly unlikely. Flight schools are big business mow and they are pumping them out as fast as they can with all the basic ratings yet they can’t even talk on the radio using proper phraseology. Stick and Rudder skills are non existent.

  32. Massie Simpkins Guest

    FAA....in all your wisdom, DO NOT LOWER THE 1500 hr. requirement. In itself, it is a way too low requirement...should be much higher and require mostly jet engine time....not Turbo jet time. If lower this requirement, the NTSB will be busy and you will be scrambling to cover your lack of wisdom.
    As for qualifications for my commts: 50+ years of flying
    Navy, corporate, bush in Africa, airline retirement, contract flying in the...

    FAA....in all your wisdom, DO NOT LOWER THE 1500 hr. requirement. In itself, it is a way too low requirement...should be much higher and require mostly jet engine time....not Turbo jet time. If lower this requirement, the NTSB will be busy and you will be scrambling to cover your lack of wisdom.
    As for qualifications for my commts: 50+ years of flying
    Navy, corporate, bush in Africa, airline retirement, contract flying in the middle east....I feel well qualified to make my comments.

    1. Skip Wood Guest

      Massie, with your experience, your comments surprised me. New hires with B-52 hours were not near as good pilots as single seat fighter pilots due to lack of takeoff and landings & multiple missions. The criteria is not hours but experience & proficiency. Part 121 training of a 750 hour pilot today in full motion sims is so much better than being a 1500 C-172 or PA-28 CFI who has to break old habits to...

      Massie, with your experience, your comments surprised me. New hires with B-52 hours were not near as good pilots as single seat fighter pilots due to lack of takeoff and landings & multiple missions. The criteria is not hours but experience & proficiency. Part 121 training of a 750 hour pilot today in full motion sims is so much better than being a 1500 C-172 or PA-28 CFI who has to break old habits to learn CRM. Get them young & train them right is the answer. Some of my first co-pilots only had 250 hours but were sponges for learning & did well. Part 121 training in full motion sims is aircraft specific & flying the IOE with the check pilot provides a good pilot who is then assigned an experienced captain for the first few trips. That makes for a safe crew in airline flying.

  33. Pat Guest

    The FAA is responsible in large part for the pilot shortage, the high cost of anything aviation in general, Seems they, like some in the industry, are always trying to make it more and more of an exclusive, elitist hobby or career when that was the problem to begin with. They need to implement results-oriented ways to make aviation more accessible, and not spend all of their time trying to do everything imaginable to keep people from flying airplanes.

    1. Linda Guest

      I believe that a person that has a thousand to 1200 hours could be a pilot especially with the extended training given by the airline. I thought that these airlines only flew prop not jets. So I guess I'm basing my answer while thinking of prop aircraft. If they're flying jets as well then yes I think they should have more hours. I would be interested in the instructors. Are they up to date, do...

      I believe that a person that has a thousand to 1200 hours could be a pilot especially with the extended training given by the airline. I thought that these airlines only flew prop not jets. So I guess I'm basing my answer while thinking of prop aircraft. If they're flying jets as well then yes I think they should have more hours. I would be interested in the instructors. Are they up to date, do they know what they really need to teach and are they looking at each person
      to see who might need a little more help. I'm basing this on how a teacher can make a difference if they see a child that is not engaged or just need some extra help.
      I have been around aircraft for many years. I was married to a Learjet pilot and I was fortunate to rack up many miles as a passenger. I even got to go to Sweden.
      I also remember some pilots that I did not think we're up to par however the majority were excellent and I don't know that they had 1,500 hours of training. My husband was an instructor pilot so he would be responsible for demonstrating the Learjet to people who might be interested in purchasing a Learjet. Then of course they would have to teach them how to fly the Learjet. Although it was a small jet it's range was exceptional.
      So overall my opinion is lower the hours if it's a prop plane and if you're going to lower the required hours then that should be based on whether they're flying a prop or a jet.
      Thank you for reading my comment.

  34. D3kingg Guest

    A civilian landed a beechnut plane today. The pilot passed out so the passenger put on headphones and was talked down.

    Planes are quite automated these days with reduced training and FAA clearance why not hire more pilots ?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Planes are quite automated these days with reduced training and FAA clearance why have 2 pilots?

      You can double the supply of pilots overnight without doing anything.

    2. Robert Guest

      If uve flown jump-seats a few times & know enough about the cockpit workload, monitoring & R/T (not to mention emergencies), u'd know plans for single pilot airlines is ludicrous & suicidal!

  35. Ken Guest

    Most of those 1500 hours are obtained as an instructor pilot (this allows for the student to pay for most of those hours). Not sure that instructing someone else adds a great deal to the experience level ( mostly redundancy).

  36. globetrotter Guest

    @ Bill: If you read thorough investigative news, such as vox.com and propublica.org, you know doctor shortage crisis is the AMA's own making. They adamantly refuse to increase the admission of medical students into the programs in order to maintain their specialists' high salaries.
    We now live in a society where meritocracy is rarely relevant anymore. Department secretaries and federal/ state court justices are political appointees whose short term self interests override long term...

    @ Bill: If you read thorough investigative news, such as vox.com and propublica.org, you know doctor shortage crisis is the AMA's own making. They adamantly refuse to increase the admission of medical students into the programs in order to maintain their specialists' high salaries.
    We now live in a society where meritocracy is rarely relevant anymore. Department secretaries and federal/ state court justices are political appointees whose short term self interests override long term societal/ national interests. They make policies and rulings in areas they lack or have no education, training and experiences in. The majority of Fed Reserve Board members are lawyers instead of academic scholars and economists. Airlines, rental car companies and franchise hotels raked in tens of billions of dollars in profits in the five consecutive years prior to Covid struck and faced no liquidity within one month after Covid struck. We live on borrowed time from the wealthy to the working class. Scary world. Is it not a conflict of interest when airlines graduate and hire their own trained pilots? Ivy League colleges rarely hire their graduates for their teaching positions.

  37. Jimmy Guest

    I'm in flight standards for a major. We can't down a marginal student, especially females or minorities. They are carried by the more capable

    1. Pete Guest

      Really, well I just retired with a major , 37yrs . Check Airman/APD.
      If they didn't meet the standard, they get more training.. You never pass them along. I don't care if there white, black or pink.
      Maybe you should go back to the line.
      Pete

  38. John Yackus Guest

    Pilots attending a four year university with a flight college program have the hour requirement reduced to 1000hrs. A two year flight associates degree program has the hours reduced to 1250. As stated, hours accumulated is an arbitrary line in the sand but judging flight talent, while there are tools in place to rate pilot skills, are so arbitrary and would never stand up in a courtroom. 1500 hours or less for a MPL pilot...

    Pilots attending a four year university with a flight college program have the hour requirement reduced to 1000hrs. A two year flight associates degree program has the hours reduced to 1250. As stated, hours accumulated is an arbitrary line in the sand but judging flight talent, while there are tools in place to rate pilot skills, are so arbitrary and would never stand up in a courtroom. 1500 hours or less for a MPL pilot does not guarantee quality training for a move to the right seat. After a career in standards for a major airline, I have seen pilots with thousands of hours, not be able to pass proficiency checks due to those hours accumulated while never occupying a control seat during a critical phase of flight. Hours of flight time is not a good ruler. Quality of training could be a moderator on hours required, but having an end recipient of that training deciding on the hours required is a slippery slope. 1500 hour rule was written in blood by innocent people riding in a doomed flight.
    A fresh new look, free from the economic pressures of airlines and not shackled by past criteria is the answer. Question is how far will the FAA move off of the current requirements in light of public outcry over reducing the current standard. Bottom line…….does it make us safer or does just satisfy a economic crunch?

  39. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

    Swapping one arbitrary number for another arbitrary number shouldn’t make that much difference, particularly as they’re both high numbers…

  40. Flyer Guest

    The 1500 hour requirement was implemented due to political pressure from families of the Colgan crash victims, although as noted it didn’t really have a lot to do with the accident. It makes a lot more sense to have fewer hours of training focused on real airline type flying.

  41. Dan Guest

    On the one hand I don't like the idea of just giving airlines a blank check to mint seat fillers. I've been flying for 17 years and never seen the industry so riddled with substandard pilots, I think instruction has taken a dive in many ways sadly.
    On the other hand being a good or bad pilot starts with mental attitude and mental preparation, 1500 will be the same as 1000 to a pilot...

    On the one hand I don't like the idea of just giving airlines a blank check to mint seat fillers. I've been flying for 17 years and never seen the industry so riddled with substandard pilots, I think instruction has taken a dive in many ways sadly.
    On the other hand being a good or bad pilot starts with mental attitude and mental preparation, 1500 will be the same as 1000 to a pilot with that attitude. So in a sense the 1500 is only punishing good pilots by forcing them to stay in there less well paying pre airline jobs longer.
    I think what the FAA needs to really look at is better testing and tracking of pilot competency. If you can buy the answers (as most do) to the written test, what good is the test.
    If you can show poor decision making for 75 hours but on the one flight someone is watching you, you make some good decisions, are you really a good pilot, how does the FAA expect to manage this threat? That's the problem going forward.
    That and just income inequality.

  42. Jeff Guest

    If there is a shortage of something, a consumer would pay more until there is no longer a shortage. Why is this so hard to understand?

    It sounds like the deal is not sweet enough for most people. I quite like aviation and would consider becoming a commercial pilot. Do I want to significantly reduce my standard of living / wealth, quality of life, and essentially put my life on hold for a decade or...

    If there is a shortage of something, a consumer would pay more until there is no longer a shortage. Why is this so hard to understand?

    It sounds like the deal is not sweet enough for most people. I quite like aviation and would consider becoming a commercial pilot. Do I want to significantly reduce my standard of living / wealth, quality of life, and essentially put my life on hold for a decade or so? No.

    While being a pilot and its peak earnings (not during an industry downturn) are desirable, only the most passionate would choose the career path the airline industry has offered. Most skilled professionals in other industries would not accept a deal with these terms. The only industry where I would say this is comparable is maybe becoming a physician with its extensive education, training, cost / debt, rough quality of life, and significantly delayed earnings.

  43. Sean M. Diamond

    The US flight training system is largely built upon a linear curriculum that first trains you for general aviation, followed by instructing, commercial flying and finally airline flying. This pipeline is no longer fit for purpose as the shortage of pilots is demonstrating. 1500 hrs built by towing banners or cropdusting in a single engine prop has limited value towards operating in a multi-crew jet airliner environment.

    The future globally is likely to be something...

    The US flight training system is largely built upon a linear curriculum that first trains you for general aviation, followed by instructing, commercial flying and finally airline flying. This pipeline is no longer fit for purpose as the shortage of pilots is demonstrating. 1500 hrs built by towing banners or cropdusting in a single engine prop has limited value towards operating in a multi-crew jet airliner environment.

    The future globally is likely to be something along the lines of EASA's MPL curriculum, which basically trains you from scratch with the primary focus of operating airliners. There is an entire generation of pilots in Europe who are now in the left seat of airlines there who have gone through the MPL route and achieved comparable if not superior standards to those going the traditional PPL/CPL/fATPL route.

    Having interviewed and hired dozens if not hundreds of both fresh and experienced pilots for airline jobs, I find that products of the US system tend to be less prepared (exceptions of course apply) for airline flying at 250 hours, while those with EASA MPL backgrounds are legitimately ready to step in at once with 250 hours. Simply reducing hours without changing how those hours are built and what is taught to the pilots won't solve anything.

    1. Stuart Guest

      Sean, I always respect and appreciate your comments and insight on the varying blogs. My only question to your comment is that at the same time those pilots overseas going through the training you cite seem to now be rather suspect when it comes to over reliance on automation and poor hand flying skills. There is no doubt that U.S. pilots, given their backgrounds in building hours hand flying, have much less reliance on automation....

      Sean, I always respect and appreciate your comments and insight on the varying blogs. My only question to your comment is that at the same time those pilots overseas going through the training you cite seem to now be rather suspect when it comes to over reliance on automation and poor hand flying skills. There is no doubt that U.S. pilots, given their backgrounds in building hours hand flying, have much less reliance on automation. A perfect example being the recent Air France incident in Paris. Or the EK flight from DXB-IAD.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Stuart

      Your comment lacks merit.
      A perfect example being the recent Air France incident in Paris.
      Or the EK flight from DXB-IAD.

      Unless both incidents occur with pilots that have fewer than 1500 hours.

      Reliance on automation shouldn't have anything to do with flight hours but more to do with the actual training program.
      If you're trained to over rely on automation, then a pilot's 10000 flight hours are flown relying too...

      @Stuart

      Your comment lacks merit.
      A perfect example being the recent Air France incident in Paris.
      Or the EK flight from DXB-IAD.

      Unless both incidents occur with pilots that have fewer than 1500 hours.

      Reliance on automation shouldn't have anything to do with flight hours but more to do with the actual training program.
      If you're trained to over rely on automation, then a pilot's 10000 flight hours are flown relying too much on automation.

      But I guess @Sean M.'s opinion about US based training is true. Like any other education (or health care) in USA, it's a broken system design to lure people into huge debt by charging crazy amount of money. And the best way to do it, extend the education program. Imagine how much more debt will be (and wealthier banks are) if college degree takes 6 years instead of 4. If you rig the system and people still wants a degree, they will pay up.

  44. SMR Guest

    Abolishing the 1500 hour rule would make the long term shortage MUCH worse. Between 750 and 1500 hours what to over 50% of pilots do ? They teach. Without instructors and there is a massive shortage of those … how will we have pilots ? Each company just wants to solve their immediate needs now … no one care about the future.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ SMR -- I don't disagree, but in many ways the pathways by which people can become airline pilots is changing as well. Airlines are increasingly setting up their own flight schools, which makes the whole pilot training process more efficient, and means there isn't quite as much need for your typical flight instructor.

  45. Bill Guest

    There’s also a doctor shortage. By this logic, we should cut medical school in half to 2 years and abolish residencies & fellowships. I’m sure you’ll be ok staring up at your 22 year old cardiac surgeon before he begins performing a 6 vessel coronary artery bypass on you. But that’s the direction this country is headed…lowering the bar is always easier than raising it. And ultimately, it’s cheaper for any company just to absorb...

    There’s also a doctor shortage. By this logic, we should cut medical school in half to 2 years and abolish residencies & fellowships. I’m sure you’ll be ok staring up at your 22 year old cardiac surgeon before he begins performing a 6 vessel coronary artery bypass on you. But that’s the direction this country is headed…lowering the bar is always easier than raising it. And ultimately, it’s cheaper for any company just to absorb the malpractice costs for a single case gone bad, or the lawsuits from one plane crash, than to watch profits disappear out the window every day from cases they are not performing or planes they are not flying.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bill -- I don't think that's necessarily a fair comparison. It would be like saying that you can become a doctor if you were in the military for two years, and then there's no need for residencies or fellowships.

      The point is that currently people can become pilots after 750 hours, but only through the military, when there are other equally good pathways to being trained. The 750 hour requirement is still triple...

      @ Bill -- I don't think that's necessarily a fair comparison. It would be like saying that you can become a doctor if you were in the military for two years, and then there's no need for residencies or fellowships.

      The point is that currently people can become pilots after 750 hours, but only through the military, when there are other equally good pathways to being trained. The 750 hour requirement is still triple what the requirement was before 2013.

      Personally my biggest concern with pilots is mental health. Look at the number of accidents we've had over the years globally due to intentional acts by pilots. Yet little has been done to address that.

    2. DSKtown Guest

      Ben, you seem to equate military selection and flight training as equivalent to civilian training paths. That is far from accurate.

      The military-trained pilot has completed a rigorous program from which graduation is never guaranteed. Removal for failure to meet standards can happen anytime during training.

      That is one reason the airlines strive to hire military pilots. The airline knows what training that pilot has completed, and exactly what that training entailed.

      Airline ab initio...

      Ben, you seem to equate military selection and flight training as equivalent to civilian training paths. That is far from accurate.

      The military-trained pilot has completed a rigorous program from which graduation is never guaranteed. Removal for failure to meet standards can happen anytime during training.

      That is one reason the airlines strive to hire military pilots. The airline knows what training that pilot has completed, and exactly what that training entailed.

      Airline ab initio programs are designed to feed the regional airlines, while hopefully developing a sense of brand loyalty to the up and coming pilot.

      As to foreign MPL programs, yes they teach new pilots how to run the gear and flaps and checklists. What does the Ethiopian Air 737 crash say about the usefulness of a 350-hour co-pilot during a major malfunction? The mishap captain ended up basically alone on the flight deck.

    3. John Grootegast- P A K S Guest

      Dear DSKtown,

      Although I agree with you that the military path has proven it self to produce the heroes of otherwise highly likely fatal accidents (Chesley Sullenberger, Tammy Jo Shults), there are plenty of unsung heroes as well without this background.

      Personally I don’t even think we need the applause upon touchdown (under gusty or smooth air conditions) in certain parts of the world as that’s what we are paid to do (handsomely before...

      Dear DSKtown,

      Although I agree with you that the military path has proven it self to produce the heroes of otherwise highly likely fatal accidents (Chesley Sullenberger, Tammy Jo Shults), there are plenty of unsung heroes as well without this background.

      Personally I don’t even think we need the applause upon touchdown (under gusty or smooth air conditions) in certain parts of the world as that’s what we are paid to do (handsomely before I have to admit though) anyway, besides not being fair to a bus driver who is paid to do pretty much the same, but then on the ground.

      Being an airline pilot my self who has worked with airlines in Europe, Asia, Africa, The Middle East and even the Pacific the only things I kept running into when pilots didn’t perform well, are the lack of passion for the job, lack of exposure to different kind of operations (CAVOK vs adverse, cold, hot, sandy/dusty weather ops), the tools or paddles rather that were handed to them by their employers (some were not even allowed to accept visual or even do circling approaches), failure to prepare properly (=prepare to fail) for a sim session and thus also hardly ever hit the books to improve themselves.

      Anyway, I am digressing, but please have a read of that final accident report as it was actually that “low timer” F/O whom recalled the memory items of Boeing’s Flight Crew Operations Manual Bulletin to cut out the STAB TRIM CUT OUT SWITCHES, although too late. And then what about the revelations of the questionable backgrounds of the flight crew in that Atlas air B767 crash in Houston back in February 2019?!

      Unfortunately as witnessed with a few airlines (yes even at some flag carriers) meeting the requirements for a command upgrade or the RHS of any jetliner is no guarantee for safe flights if we collectively fail to stop the holes of the Swiss cheese slices from aligning..

      It all starts with the manufacturer, then the regulator, the airline and then lastly the pilot. So if the buck doesn’t stop with the pilot due lack of passion (P), attitude (A), knowledge (K) and skills (S) of which only the latter two can be developed, a lot of total time or type of training will mean absolutely nothing.

      At the end of the day it’s also up to the airlines which are supervised or even ruled by bean counters to make a difference as they should not risk anybody’s life by adhering to just the bare minimum requirements set by the regulator.

      Nice and safe flights to all.

    4. StarAdmiral Guest

      We already have that. They are called nurse practitioners. And it is terrible...

  46. Evan Guest

    Again, the regionals are only addressing one part of the problem. The problem is not necessarily the number of training hours. The problem is the training hours PLUS the low pay at regional airlines. I am not a fan of lowering standards to attract people, especially when a mistake can result in the death of several people. Maybe the regionals should actually fix the real problem...pay.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Evan -- In fairness, pay at regional airlines has gotten MUCH better in the past decade, and it's not really terrible anymore. Yes, I agree they should be paid more, but most regionals aren't paying under $20K a year, as they were a decade ago. Furthermore, nowadays pilots have a pretty fast track to transitioning to the majors.

    2. Sean Guest

      I'd say the regional pay is still absurdly low. I'm a recreational pilot and professional aircraft mechanic. The pay cut I'd have to take to switch careers to a professional pilot is tremendous. I'd have to live well below poverty level while time-building to get to the 1,500 hours, and then it would take another decade to climb up the pay scale to get close to the income I have now. Why would I do...

      I'd say the regional pay is still absurdly low. I'm a recreational pilot and professional aircraft mechanic. The pay cut I'd have to take to switch careers to a professional pilot is tremendous. I'd have to live well below poverty level while time-building to get to the 1,500 hours, and then it would take another decade to climb up the pay scale to get close to the income I have now. Why would I do that? For the love of flying? I can buy a plane right now that scratches that itch. The low pay is definitely a contributing factor to the "shortage".

    3. Fireboat Guest

      I am a retired professional firefighter. On my department there were a surprising number of former/reserve military pilots in addition to CFIs and GA pilots.
      None were willing to take the decade long pay cut even though they thoroughly enjoyed flying.

  47. D3kingg Guest

    Yes as long as pilots still meet training and performance requirements.
    I met an Emirates 777 Captain a few weeks ago who wasn’t a day over 40. They have cut required training hours. He seemed highly knowledgeable.
    It’s too little too late anyways we anticipate operational meltdowns this summer and there is unprecedented demand some people still haven’t flown since the pandemic.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Sean M. Diamond

The US flight training system is largely built upon a linear curriculum that first trains you for general aviation, followed by instructing, commercial flying and finally airline flying. This pipeline is no longer fit for purpose as the shortage of pilots is demonstrating. 1500 hrs built by towing banners or cropdusting in a single engine prop has limited value towards operating in a multi-crew jet airliner environment. The future globally is likely to be something along the lines of EASA's MPL curriculum, which basically trains you from scratch with the primary focus of operating airliners. There is an entire generation of pilots in Europe who are now in the left seat of airlines there who have gone through the MPL route and achieved comparable if not superior standards to those going the traditional PPL/CPL/fATPL route. Having interviewed and hired dozens if not hundreds of both fresh and experienced pilots for airline jobs, I find that products of the US system tend to be less prepared (exceptions of course apply) for airline flying at 250 hours, while those with EASA MPL backgrounds are legitimately ready to step in at once with 250 hours. Simply reducing hours without changing how those hours are built and what is taught to the pilots won't solve anything.

4
Dan Guest

On the one hand I don't like the idea of just giving airlines a blank check to mint seat fillers. I've been flying for 17 years and never seen the industry so riddled with substandard pilots, I think instruction has taken a dive in many ways sadly. On the other hand being a good or bad pilot starts with mental attitude and mental preparation, 1500 will be the same as 1000 to a pilot with that attitude. So in a sense the 1500 is only punishing good pilots by forcing them to stay in there less well paying pre airline jobs longer. I think what the FAA needs to really look at is better testing and tracking of pilot competency. If you can buy the answers (as most do) to the written test, what good is the test. If you can show poor decision making for 75 hours but on the one flight someone is watching you, you make some good decisions, are you really a good pilot, how does the FAA expect to manage this threat? That's the problem going forward. That and just income inequality.

2
globetrotter Guest

@ Bill: If you read thorough investigative news, such as vox.com and propublica.org, you know doctor shortage crisis is the AMA's own making. They adamantly refuse to increase the admission of medical students into the programs in order to maintain their specialists' high salaries. We now live in a society where meritocracy is rarely relevant anymore. Department secretaries and federal/ state court justices are political appointees whose short term self interests override long term societal/ national interests. They make policies and rulings in areas they lack or have no education, training and experiences in. The majority of Fed Reserve Board members are lawyers instead of academic scholars and economists. Airlines, rental car companies and franchise hotels raked in tens of billions of dollars in profits in the five consecutive years prior to Covid struck and faced no liquidity within one month after Covid struck. We live on borrowed time from the wealthy to the working class. Scary world. Is it not a conflict of interest when airlines graduate and hire their own trained pilots? Ivy League colleges rarely hire their graduates for their teaching positions.

1
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