The FAA has denied a Republic Airways petition for an exemption from regulations requiring pilots applying for an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate to have logged 1,500 flight hours. In the petition, the airline asked that graduates from its Leadership in Flight Training Academy (LIFT) be allowed to apply for a restricted airline transport pilot (R-ATP) certificate—allowing them to serve as first officer in Part 121 operations—with the same reduced experience requirements as military or former military pilots, who may apply for an R-ATP with 750 hours total flight time. Republic argued that its proposed R-ATP Program would “exceed the safety standards of the military R-ATP” as well as making “airline pilot career opportunities more accessible for qualified individuals from underrepresented groups.”
“After full consideration of Republic’s petition for exemption and the public comments, the FAA has determined that the relief requested is not in the public interest and would adversely affect safety,” the agency stated in its decision. “The FAA finds that the supporting materials and LIFT historical data does not sufficiently support Republic’s claim that the Republic R-ATP Program is sufficiently comparable to the training program of a military branch to warrant a reduction in flight hours.”
Republic also argued in its petition, which was filed last April, that its proposed program would provide a service to the public by producing more pilots to satisfy “continuing commercial aviation demand,” including benefiting “small communities who rely on commercial aviation services.” The FAA disagreed that granting the exemption would address any pilot shortages, noting that “the exemption process is not the avenue to address the hiring difficulties of an operator that may result in service cuts to particular areas.” The “1,500-hour rule” was adopted by the FAA at the direction of Congress following the 2009 crash of a Colgan Air Flight 3407.
Im actually pleasantly surprised that the FAA refused this waiver. Of course no “airline academy” training program is anywhere near the rigor of a military training program speaking from actual experience having personal experience with the military UPT program and knowing graduates of the so called airline academies. My surprise is the failure of the diversity and “under-represented” language that usually is euphoric to the ears of today’s government bureaucrats. This had to be a mistake.
OMG, Republic tried hard to get that reduction in hours, talking about poor people (except nowadays it’s “disadvantaged” people), minorities, and bonus, climate change. Yup, they threw in carbon emissions. Thank heavens the FAA said nope, sorry, nice try.
I read the FAA’s refusal, which is very interesting. The “votes” came in 75% against Republic, 25% for.
Rebublic said their program will be just like the military. Oh really? Twelve-hour days with military instructors, academics, full-motion simulators, altitude chamber training, survival school, parachute training, required physical training almost daily, with testing. On and on.
“Republic states that training will be conducted on the Diamond DA40 NG and FA42-VI aircraft; however, the FAA does not find that the training set forth on these aircraft closely replicates the quality of military standard training on a military aircraft to such a degree that an equivalent level of training is provided.”
Aha, QUALITY, they said.
Turns out the FAA values the quality of training, too, not just number of hours.
Who would you rather be flown by:
– A pilot who graduated an Academy program with 750 hours of tailored training and continuous flight training.
– A pilot who spent 1250 hours towing a banner after getting their Commercial
Well seeing the quality of the instruction at many of these pilot mills and knowing a guy with 1250 hours towing gliders is a great intuitive stick and rudder pilot used to the hours I would take the banner tow pilot.
I want a pilot who had excellent training throughout, coupled with real world decision making, proving that he/she/it has knowledge, discipline and sound judgement. That isn’t learned in a puppy mill.
It’s not like the one guy is in training for his whole 750. The amount of time in training is going to be very similar and we all take the same checkride. I’ll take the guy with more experience and hours tyvm. There’s stuff you just don’t learn except through exposure.
As a 6,000 hr. banner tow pilot/CFI I’m wondering why you chose the BTP criteria? Just curious.
False construct. Pay, benefits and schedule QoL issues are the problem.
Ab initio milling is the timeshare scheme/scam model.
Mind you, I am not in favor of the run of the mill “academy” program as opposed to full on military training, which I benefited from back in the early 70’s. On the other hand, Lufthansa, at least, conducted their own ab initio training (some of which was and may still be held out in Arizona) for decades, and no one would find fault with their results. The only elements of military pilot training that could not be duplicated in a civilian setting would be the actual military enlistment (being subject to the UCMJ) and the training in supersonic trainers like the T-38 (which in the last 30 years of so not every military pilot has had).
So it is a matter of quality as many here say. UPT was a “mill” when I went through it – it just happened to be the finest mill in the world and still is. After a total of 250 hours, I was a copilot flying a 4 engine heavy jet all over the world. You need the quality of initial training coupled with the intense follow up and on the job training that exists in every military squadron. In the end, only Uncle Sam can afford that, more’s the pity….
Republic pulled all the levers trying to get around this including the race card. I am happy they failed. Safety has improved since the changes. The regional pilots are actually making a living wage now, no more slave labor. The system is good.
* While number of flight hours is important it’s likely not the best metric for capability or aptitude.
* Military flight training starts with focused assessment of student’s aptitude for the job. Training progresses unless student’s capabilities or aptitude are determined not suitable for the job.
* Civilian flight training continues as long as the money flows or unless unsuitable job aptitude ~very~ much apparent. That said: Likely some good civilian flight schools exist.
Full disclosure: All of my flight training, as instructor or trainee, has been civilian.
“Our hats go off to Congress
For Saving Life and Limb
Those Loony Wrights at Kittyhawk
Will Never Fly Again!”
1500 hours is too high a bar for most who might be willing to become airline pilots if the cost were not so exorbitant. Industry is feeling the ramifications of this legislation.
The entire argument is distracted by the reference to military pilots–rather than the quality of the training program.
Military trained pilots bring the advantage of flying with a very large ground support system (regulations, pilot and maintenance standards, control towers, and a huge support staff–just like the airlines. However, the military rarely gets the “tempo” of operations like the airlines–military pilots rarely achieve the flight hours of a civil airline crew. There is also the question of WHAT military time should count–a Cobra helicopter pilot has little in common with a multi-crew passenger aircraft.
There IS a place for pilots specifically trained for their intended operation–like a First Officer on an airline–and a properly designed program to achieve specific results SHOULD receive special credit–like the proposal. Personally, I’d rather have a trained First Officer that has been trained in procedures and crew coordination than someone that has the requisite years (but not hours) in an unrelated position.
If the FAA doesn’t like the Republic proposal–how about them telling what they WOULD accept instead of a fixed number of hours as a flight instructor or banner tow pilot.
Let’s get to “What IS acceptable” instead of “What ISN’T acceptable–substituting good experience for a random number of hours.
I think they just told us. 1500 hours. Why should they compromise wthe standard that they set?
Problem is the FAA has never been up front on what they would accept on anything. They only tell you what they won’t accept. The FAA expects you to figure out yourself what they want.
As an airline pilot and CFI retiring from a major carrier after 34 years I trained many pilots transitioning from the military to airline flying. I also trained civlian pilots ONLY after graduating from a major university and only after they obtained all of their ratings. My finding is the civilian pilots are trained by generations CFI’s that have 200 HRS. That combined with glass cockpit training leaves a huge gap in basic flying teqnique. The few pilots I trained coming from thousans of hrs. with reginal carriers and corporate
flying are second to none. WE don’t need any more dumbing down of aviation.
Funny how other countries’ airliners aren’t falling out of the sky with less than 1,500 hour right seaters. Flight time is not an accurate indicator of competence, decision-making or demeanor in pressure situations. These can be enhanced/taught with more robust training to include UPRT, expanded hard IFR exposure, social skills and broader emergency scenario drills.
But don’t worry, automation will make this discussion a moot point in the next few decades!
The closest experience an airline applicant can have to actual, is to have hundreds of filed IFR charter/air taxi flights where you do the weather – flight route, & everything else associated with a safe flight.
You are the captain – so, being a F/O is not unfamiliar.
I surely was pleased when dispatch did all MY work!! (Major Airline)
Except for that Air France Airbus that fell out of the sky and hit the Atlantic with 2 inexperienced pilots at the side stick controllers while the captain was taking a nap.
1500hrs for a first officer was a payoff to pilot unions and had nothing to do with the Colgan flight, whose captain had 3300hrs and first officer had 2200hrs. This rule broke airline pilot training in the US and did nothing to improve safety. Republic should not get an exception, the rule should be rescinded.
Ab Initio can work, but Republic did not make the case. Not every captain is initial operating experince (IOE) endorsed. 750 vs the 1500 hour or 1250 hour R-ATPs of today COULD work
FAA/Congressional Pilot Professional Development records added Mentoring training, reading between its lines- there is a case to be made, but Republic fell short, this time.
So we have Chuck You Schumer to thank for this problem. Both Colligan Air pilots were ATP certificated and we know that crash was the catalyst for this change. IMHO it’s the training program that makes the difference. 500 hours is not that much delta on flight experience. If I had to pick between a flight instructor in a 172 to build the magic 1500 hours, versus 1000 hour pilot that went through an airline full crew training program and had an R-ATP, I would take the 1000 hour guy. This whole thing is a ruse to make the capitol hill goons feel like they did something to improve safety. I will admit the crew rest time increases was a good thing that came out of it as that was one of the causes of the Colligan Air crash, fatigue, but the 1500 hour requirement, where is the data t prove it has been effective?
You make a reasonable and in many ways a solid point. My point is that since social and political progressive “wokeness ” has permeated every faucet of our lives including issues that are truly life and death safety issues we have very few safeguards left. At least the 1500 hr rule is forcing 121 operators to hire people who at least have some experience in aviation. You must know with out this rule and the political pressure and all that it bears pushing the “preferred groups”, we would be putting people in positions that are not necessarily the best or even adequately skilled at this point of their careers for the job – but certainly meet the social requirement. I think a very relevant example of losing sight of the big picture in order to satisfy the political/social experiments underway is to look no further than our own military from top to bottom and how the mission priorities have changed.
Pilots already had to have 1500hrs. The rule changed first officer requirement from 250 to 1500. Instead of getting applicants for captain with 250hr in a 172 and 1250hr in a commercial airliner, you get 1500hr in a 172. This was a huge step backwards.
Spot on! And show me the stats where safety has improved. It’s like taking a Tic-Tac for a headache. It might make your breath better, but you still have a headache.
A little clarification on this, there is no “1500hr” rule. The Colgan accident resulted in Congress requiring FO’s in pt121 to have an ATP, something not required for FO’s prior. This exemption request was to allow a reduced amount of hours to qualify for an ATP, similar to the military experience qualification of 750hr. The FAA rightfully denied this request. This rule also changed the requirements for training for the multi engine ATP, something that even pt135 operators are stuck dealing with. How having to get sim training in an airplane that is over 40k lb for a type rating in a 500 or 525 series Citation makes little sense to me, but yet pt135 operators have to pay for that. This rule also required FO’s to have 1000hrs of pt121 time before qualifying for upgrade to captain. I don’t hear many complaints about that hourly requirement.
The bottom line is simple. There is no real shortage of pilots just companies that don’t get they have to offer a competitive package.
The good companies are not having trouble finding pilots, only the ones with substandard wages and working conditions.
This airline appears to be trying to game the system. Good on the FAA for shutting them down.