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FAA releases new co-pilot qualification standards

Washington – Qualification requirements for passenger and cargo airline co-pilots are increasing under a Federal Aviation Administration final rule published July 15.

Under the new rule, co-pilots will need to be at least 23 years old and obtain an Airline Transport Pilot certificate that requires 1,500 hours of flight time. Previously, co-pilots only needed to obtain a commercial pilot certificate that required 250 hours of flight time, according to an FAA press release.

Some pilots younger than 23 or with fewer than 1,500 flight hours can receive a restricted certificate. These include:

  • Military pilots with 750 flight hours
  • Four-year college graduates with an aviation major with 1,000 flight hours
  • Two-year college graduates with an aviation major with 1,250 flight hours
  • Pilots who are at least 21 years old and have completed 1,500 flight hours

The final rule also requires co-pilots to receive additional training and testing specific to the type of aircraft they will be operating.

Compliance with all provisions is required by Aug. 1 unless otherwise noted in the rule.