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New FAA Pilot Certification & Qualification Requirements

EKU Aviation Fleet

The following abridged summary of the FAA’s (Federal Aviation Administration) revised requirements to fly as an airline copilot highlights how EKU aviation students are better prepared to meet both the forecasted industry demand for high quality and safe pilots and to meet the more restrictive FAA requirements for a prospective pilot’s first airline job.

Specifically, because EKU graduates leave the university with a bachelor’s degree that includes 68 aviation course credits, and because they flew their flight instruction with our FAA-approved Part 141 flight program, they qualify for the new 1000-hour FAA ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate. This saves them the cost of the additional 500 hours required by the traditional 1500-hour ATP.

In my opinion, it is FAA recognition of the value of the structured flight instruction offered by part 141 aviation university programs. Additionally, because the BS Aviation Proflight MEL concentration provides graduates with over 100 MEL hours, they exceed the new ATP requirements for a minimum of 50 MEL (multi-engine) hours.

At EKU, we like to say, “You can get there, from here!” In EKU Aviation, we also say, “We prepare you to be job-ready, two ways, on day one after graduation!”

Ralph Gibbs
EKU Director of Aviation


Pilot Certification and Qualification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations

Congress has mandated changes to the requirement to fly as a co-pilot (first officer/second-in-command) in Part 121 airline operations. Currently, a commercially certificated pilot with 250 total hours could serve as a co-pilot. However, in response to the congressional mandate, the FAA has created new certification and qualification requirements for pilots in air carrier operations, expected to take effect in August 2013. As a result of this action, a second in command (first officer) in domestic, flag, and supplemental operations must now hold an airline transport pilot certificate (ATP) and an airplane type rating for the aircraft to be flown.

An ATP certificate requires that a pilot be 23 years of age and have 1,500 hours total time as a pilot. Pilots with fewer than 1,500 flight hours may qualify for a restricted privileges airline transport pilot certificate (R-ATP) beginning at 21 years of age, if they are 1) a military-trained pilot, 2) have a bachelor’s degree with an aviation major, or 3) have an associate’s degree with an aviation major. The alternative total flight hour requirements for an R (restricted) -ATP certificate with airplane category multiengine class rating are:

  • 750 hours for a military pilot who has graduated from a flight training program in the Armed Forces;
  • 1,000 hours for a graduate who holds a bachelor’s degree with an aviation major (60+ aviation semester credits) from an institution of higher education, such as Eastern Kentucky University, who also receives a commercial certificate and instrument rating from an associated part 141 pilot school;
  • 1,250 hours for a graduate who holds a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree with an aviation major (30+ aviation semester credits) from an institution of higher education who also receives a commercial certificate and instrument rating from an associated part 141 pilot school;

Additionally, to receive an airline transport pilot certificate with a multiengine class rating a pilot must have 50 hours of multiengine flight experience and must have completed a new FAA-approved Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program. This new training program will include academic coursework and training in a flight simulation training device. These requirements will ensure that a pilot has the proper qualifications, training, and experience before entering an air carrier environment as a pilot flight crew member.

Published on July 12, 2013

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