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Report: FAA To Require 700 Hours For First Officers

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The FAA is expected to issue a proposed rule this month that will require pilots flying in the right seat for airlines to have at least 700 hours, up from the current minimum of 250 hours, according to The Wall Street Journal. Proposals in Congress have suggested raising the minimum as high as 1,500 hours. The changes stem from concerns that arose following the Colgan Air crash in Buffalo two years ago. Pilots who graduate from four-year college aeronautical programs or train in the military may earn credits that reduce their total time requirements, sources told the Journal.

One result of the proposal, if it's enacted, could be that students would abandon traditional flight training. The plan "would likely drive many of those people interested in an aviation career into the academic realm," Bob Rockmaker, president of the Flight School Association of North America, told the Journal. The rule proposal is still working its way through the regulatory process and could face further delays and modifications, the Journal said. Also in the works are new rules regarding pilot fatigue, pilot mentoring, and airline training practices, all prompted by the Colgan crash.

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