In a final rule, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it is increasing the qualification requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines.
The rule requires first officers to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, requiring 1,500 hours total time as a pilot. Previously, first officers were required to have only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time.
The rule also requires first officers to have an aircraft type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly.
The new regulations stem in part from the tragic crash of Colgan Air 3407 in February 2009, and address a Congressional mandate in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 to ensure that both pilots and co-pilots receive the ATP certification.