Restricted Airline Transport Pilot Information (R-ATP)
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BSU Aviation is an FAA authorized R-ATP certifying institution. Students must complete the required credit hours within the 8 approved academic areas:
- Ground and Flight Training for Certificates and Ratings
- Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance
- Aircraft Systems
- Aviation Human Factors
- Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Airspace
- Aviation Law and Regulations
- Aviation Weather
- Aviation Safety
Directed by Congress, the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 called for increased minimum requirements for airline first officers. The new rule mandates that airline first officers hold an air transport pilot (ATP) certificate or the new “restricted ATP.”
An ATP certificate requires, among many other qualifications, that the pilot be at least 23 years old and have logged at least 1,500 hours of flight time.
The “restricted ATP” requires pilots to be at least 21 years old with
- 750 flight hours if they are military-trained and qualified,
- 1,000 flight hours if trained in a four-year college or university-accredited aviation training program leading to a bachelor’s degree, or
- 1,250 flight hours if trained in a two-year college aviation program leading to an associate’s degree.
Pilots who obtain their certificates and ratings via non-structured general aviation flight training can qualify for the restricted ATP at age 21 with 1,500 hours of flight time.
The new rule also requires that first officers be “type rated” in the aircraft they fly in airline service—i.e., receive special training and testing on operation of that specific aircraft type.
To upgrade to captain, an airline copilot must log at least 1,000 hours of flight time as an airline copilot, as pilot in command (PIC) in certain small and charter airline or commercial general aviation operations, or any combination of these situations. The flight experience does not have to be obtained at the pilot’s current airline.
Military PIC time (as much as 500 hours) in a multi-engine, turbine-powered, fixed-wing airplane in an operation requiring more than one pilot may also be credited towards the 1,000 hours.
The FAA has not changed the type of medical certification required for airline first officers—they will still be required to hold at least a second class FAA airman medical certificate.
A series of four fatal accidents involving U.S. airlines during a period of a few years stimulated the U.S. Congress to address the issue of minimum qualifications for airline pilots. Of the eight pilots in the cockpits of these airplanes, five had relatively low experience and/or documented training deficiencies.
Congress noted that the minimum qualifications for airline captains serving as pilot in command of an FAR Part 121 flight included
- An air transport pilot (ATP) airman certificate, which requires at least 1,500 hours of total flight time, among other requirements,
- A multi-engine rating, and
- A first class airman medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of an ATP certificate.
The minimum requirements for an FAR Part 121 first officer were considerably less rigorous:
- A commercial pilot certificate, which normally can be obtained with only 250 hours of total flight time, reduced to 190 hours for pilots attending an FAA-approved FAR Part 142 flight school,
- Instrument and multi-engine ratings, and
- A second class medical certificate.
The result of Congress’ focus on these accidents and related issues was Public Law 111-216, the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama on August 1, 2010. The legislation mandates, among other things, that
- Effective Aug. 1, 2013, a pilot must possess an air transport pilot (ATP) airman certificate to serve as a flight crewmember in FAR Part 121 airline flight operations, and
- The FAA must review and update the requirements for obtaining an ATP certificate.
PL 111-216 gave the FAA some flexibility, however; the agency can give flight hour credit for “specific academic training” that improves the safety of the pilot. As a result, the FAA created an aviation rulemaking committee (ARC)—a group of government and industry experts—to recommend a definition of “specific academic training” and the amount of flight time credit that would be given for such training.
Different paths to three stripes
One thing that was not changed by the new first officer rules are the four main paths to a career as an airline pilot:
- General aviation unstructured training,
- General aviation structured training (i.e., flight schools),
- College/university professional pilot degree programs (e.g., Bridgewater State University), and
- Military aviation.
Contact Greg Bongiorno for more information firstname.lastname@example.org 508.531.2654