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Lawmakers and Aviation Executives Urge Reevaluation of 1,500-Hour Rule for New Pilots Amid Pilot Shortage Concerns

WASHINGTON — Washington is witnessing a growing movement among lawmakers and regulators to reconsider the contentious rule mandating new commercial airline pilots to have 1,500 flight hours. ( More...

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Ron Slater 28
Before the 1500 hour rule went into affect, I was a captain at a regional with about 17,000 hours. We hired many pilots that went through the flight training programs and college courses at Perdue, UND, and ER. They came to us with about 300-400 total time, Commercial, ME and Instrument. I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of them were very good pilots and learned fast. Fast forward to the 1500 hr rule, and we were getting pilots with 1500 hours of Cessna 150 time with an ATP, and maybe 20 hours of ME. A lot of them owned their own tomahawks or 150's. Their times were unverifiable. There was a huge washout rate. The 1500 hour (Who really knows if they had that time or it was Parker 51 time) was a ridiculous law
Duane Mader 10
I imagine that good highly trained pilots could actually lose proficiency while droning around in their own 150 or doing pipeline patrol.
Brian De Jong 2
The problem here is that I was always in single pilot instructor mode. It doesn’t matter whether they were learning fast. The airline expected me to instruct for free. The 1,500 hour rule has meant that I’m at least getting paid more to be their permanent instructor. I don’t want to go back to the bad old days, thanks.
John Haller 2
The Federal Government knows how to fix logbook issues, ask truckers what they think about ELDs.
mike Renna 2
Non pilot but aviation fan here - I did get the gist that you were doubting the amount of flight time people had. But parker 51 time? I googled that expecting it to be the hourmeter on a plane / a reference to not actual in the air time.

But it's the parker 51 PEN?! So you are saying it's whatever they write down!? Even better!!! I guess that's an older reference / stood the test of time? Most people wouldn't know a fancy pen like that these days?

regardless, a GREAT reference!
steven iltz 18
In the day that I had 1500 hours I never considered I was qualify to fly for a major airline. It is not possible to have access to such training that would allow me to fly for a major airline. Experience matters more than hours. And the only way to gain experience is exposure to more demanding complex aircraft, and demanding responsibilities. There was never an opportunity to work for a major airline at the time without a college degree, under age 30,ATP rating, flight engineer rating and thousands of hours turbine time. Not everyone has a career path that includes being a pilot in the military. Today's pilot demands have lowered the standard to fill seats just like airlines try to fill passenger seats. At 1500 hours, that is a very low barrier to pilot a airliner. If airlines want to hire low time pilots, then they should run their own flight schools and provide all the training to bridge the time and experience gap.
What about allowing pilots who were forced to retire to continue to receive retirement pay plus work full or part time for say about 2 more years? Fed Gov't did this after they did too enthusiastic of a reduction in force
Daniel B. DeDona 11
The 1500 hour rule was one of those proposed in response to an accident, this time by Chuck Schumer, likely at the request of parties wanting to create barriers to pilot entry. The usual dialogue for these kinds of responses is "We need to do something to show we're responsive", or even worse "We need to take steps to insure this never happens again". The unwritten subtext is frequently "even if it's stupid". The response should have been tailored to the evidence from that or related accidents. Instead, it was hustled through while emotions were high and evidence scarce. If memory serves, Schumer made this 1500 hour proposal either the same day or the next day which is why I've always suspected it was pushed by parties who already had the press-ready proposal ready to roll as soon as a suitable accident came along. Comments below suggest training is the real answer, but that would have had to wait for the investigation. The consequences of the rule were well understood when it surfaced. All of which goes to the main point. We need to strenuously resist simple solutions to complex problems, especially when emotions are high and evidence scarce, for at least two reasons. First, simple solutions are incredibly appealing in their simplicity (which should be a tip off). Second, they are wrong. There should have been an adult discussion based on the investigation and changes should have actually addressed problems faced by professional pilots. 1500 hours was based on none of that, and had well known consequences we now see in action. I'd guess the only people happy with how it turned out are those who's objective was barriers to entry. If pilots of all kinds, professional and general aviation, don't push back hard on this kind of nonsense, the system, which is actually pretty good overall, is going to get cluttered with all manner of similar, emotionally driven, politically railroaded requirements and criteria. If that is not a concern to pilots everywhere, then let this also pass.
David Beattie 10
1500 hours of flying around in a Cessna 172 is pretty worthless when it comes to airline flying. I would much rather have a 500 hour guy whose been flying a Citation jet or multi turboprop.
Gary Bain 1
I actually agree with you on this Beatty!
John Underwood 13
If an airline wants a pilot they should be expected to “train” that pilot. Pilots don’t come pre-trained because many pilots like me don’t want to fly for an airline. I flew for 23 years as a corporate pilot. Different training, and when I hired a pilot I trained them to our corporate standards. I didn’t want a pilot that couldn’t judge his own weather, or file a flight plan, or was good with passengers. Airlines don’t care about such things. Airlines want a pre-trained applicant then they should put them through a school! 1500 hours of Sunday flying, or banner towing teaches lessons to the pilot. Anytime you hop in a bird and start the engine you are learning…
Larry Toler 5
Oops, I accidentally down voted you. I agree. I was a flight attendant for a regional. How else are the "new" pilots going to learn. Even after 9/11 and the mass furloughs by the legacies, we had a lot of, say 767 captains flying as FO's on our J41's. Even some of the most experienced pilots I've flown with make mistakes. No mistakes to be nearly an accident, thank goodness. You can have 20K hours of flight in one type of aircraft and still eff up. Even my regional airline rigously trained our new pilots to fly their aircraft.
Greg S 6
This rule was mainly a knee-jerk reaction to the Colgan disaster and seems to have almost no support in the aviation community anymore. It will be dumped sooner or later.
jrollf 3
Yep, and both pilots had over 1,500 hours, the 1,500 hour rule would have had no impact on Thor accident.

Fatigue and gundeChing currency training where cited by the NTSB as contributing factors.
wx1996 9
This was never about safety. The training standard needs the rigor and definition. The certification standards need the rigor requiring demonstration of airmanship. The minimum about of experience in the flightdeck need adjusted, as in Jr pilot can only fly with a senior rated captain. Going up and circling in a C172 does very little to make a better Jet pilot. The JR pilot must demonstrate the ability to land their rated aircraft single pilot mode from the right seat.

Just look at the military training standard then single seat pilot error and accident rates, all with less than 300 hours.
brent young 2
The Mimi’s has stringent training requirements and a high washout rate.
I’ve flown with retired airline pilots on 135 jets that are terrible at almost every task
1mooneymite -1

You said:"I’ve flown with retired airline pilots on 135 jets that are terrible at almost every task."

What such a post is trying to establish is that you are better than more experienced pilots and that you alone are qualified (though self appointed) to make that judgement.

Perhaps trying to learn from more experienced pilots may serve you better than pandering to your pride and making undocumented, unsubstantiated claims?

Of course there us a possibility that you are the reincarnated Bob Hoover, but he would never have posted what you did...he was both great and humble.

Learn from Bob Hoover...a more experienced pilot.
Ryan Allen 3
Or maybe, just maybe, he was referring to Part 135 operations, which is how I read it.

Perhaps it’s time to take your own advice, what was it again “try to learn”?
I had an ATP single engine, I had earned in 2010. Long story why I wen that route. Fast forward to 2015 I try to add ME privileges to my ATP - I had been flying kingairs 135 and we were getting a citation. To captain turbojet 135, you needed ATP. Nope, gotta retake the written and do CTP. I appealed to the FAA, it took a few years for them to say no, regardless of 20+ comments in favor. I even offered to retake the written I for the ATP I already held if they would waive the CTP. It’s a money grift plain and simple.

For anyone interested further:
brent young 5
Keep the 1500 jr rule
For ATP.
For FOs go back the way it used to be, commercial license then upgrade later
Alejandro green 4
that's what United AVIAT ACADEMY is doing training there own pilots from zero to main line and issuing them a sonority number,I spoke with the sr. manager of admissions and he said that there doing the same with A&P Technicians.and load planners.So United is thinking way out side the box .No other airline is doing this.United invested in over a 100 Ciruss SR22 aircraft to train the pilots.Good job UAL.
wingtipwalker 3
Nobody else is doing this…except for:

American Airlines Cadet Academy
Southwest Airlines Destination 225 Cadet Program
JetBlue Gateway Select Program
Delta Propel Academy

…so. Maybe everyone is doing it after all?
Alan Dahl 2
Alaska Airlines is doing this too...
Jason Findlay 2
During my flight training I remember hearing that the airlines are "the most regulated deregulated industry." If the government feels that they need to continually mess around with the airlines, then pilot rest requirements should be reevaluated. Saying that a pilot can only fly a certain number of hours per day is fine if you're only flying long-haul international flights. But if you're puddle jumping all over the country in 1–2 hour flights it makes no sense at all. I was in the middle of my flight training during the Colgan Air flight 3407 crash in New York. I remember the knee jerk legislation. I also remember that the NTSB determined the cause of the crash not be lack of seat time, but insufficient training by the air carrier, and fatigue. There's no simple solution to this 1,500 hour garbage, but in my opinion a step in the right direction would a type-certificate plus a reasonable amount of supervised seat time.
Roger Curtiss 2
The 1500 hour rule was a rather arbitrary, knee-jerk legislative response that is of little practical value. Quality not quantity is the key parameter to proficiency and that can be determined by a simulator session.
Having fully trained and certified pilots find a way to kill hundreds of hours to reach that "magic" number is a waste of skill at a time when pilots are needed.
Pair new type-rated pilots with experienced captains who will provide valuable insights while the new pilots are contributing to keeping the airline humming as crewmembers.
1mooneymite 2
I see no reason for any regulatory agency to specify a certain number of required hours. Competence for flight should only he determined by race, gender identification and voting record. 1500 hours? What about 1499? What about 1498? Well, how about zero?

All error tends to he self correcting, Incompetent pilots will kill themselves off and the necessary hour level will be established through pilot attrition.

(Please note sarcasm.)
Rick Hein 1
The reason to reevaluate the rule should only be for safety reasons, not because there is a shortage of pilots.
George Prudden 1
Is there any data that supports a specific number of hours at the front end or a specific age at the other end? Perhaps adding a little science might be helpful (but not political, so never mind).
Juan Jimenez 1
I used to work in American Eagle, in IT management. As a favor I spent my time reworking the AE flight academy software from a DOS application to Windows, and multiuser. All I asked was to be called anytime they needed a pilot when training a new instructor in the rear of the sim. I loved the CAE RJ sims. One day a senior instructor sat with me and let me fly the approach to Rota under less than optimal conditions. After we landed he said I should come fly with AE because I flew better than most captains he had trained. Too bad I only had about 150 hours, no instrument rating and no commercial ticket. My wife would have left me if I trade an IT management salary for a measly über-junior XO salary. LOL!
Leander Williams 1
I don't think I would want to be on an airliner with a flight crew just out of the academy. It's not like driving a bus. You make a mistake at the yoke of an airliner 300 - 400 people could lose their lives. New pilots should start out flying cargo until they get the hours that make them proficient, i.e. several check rides with the chief pilot certifying them as qualified.
BANNER FLYING+ TEACHING + SMALL CHARTER Does expose you too many events as a solo operator. Odd things not in a book do happen. You solve them as you fly or BAM you don't fly any more. A time rule should applied to co-pilot time before you get to be a captain. Airlines can be selective, but must program money to get experience/training for their new pilots. I had 135 hours of twin time, but lots of single when employed. Years as #2 on several a/c before I moved up to left seat. I agree with D.DeDona,, see below..
Times change. I hired in '64 No jet time, never over 10,000', yes, service time, but Army fixed wing. served as F/E & co-pilot on 3 types and got lots of experience . Captain in '80. Some people think PILOT some don't. See Slater comment below..
jhakunti 1
In essence 1500hr rule penalizes the better pilot. A pilot with a ME in 20hrs doesn't get the job to a fellow who took 80hrs to complete the rating only because insurance that were contrived around the basis of the 1500hr rule.
Joe Keifer 1
In the not-to-distant future we will have fully automated flight decks, powered by A.I., with the ability to take care of the entire flight from push back, engine startup, taxiing, takeoff, landing, rollout, taxiing to the gate, shutdown and doors opening.
Ron Slater 10
It will never happen.
EMK69 10
Although I really want to agree with you I'm afraid this newer generation will accept the full automation of their world, not only in the Air but with most of their "gadgets" that are forthcoming. The company I work with is working on numerous systems that sometimes scare the hell out of this old retried Marine pilot. With advancements in the A.I. community, I suspect someday (probably past my lifetime...30 yrs)....we will see fully automated AC and the public will accept a single "monitor" who will want to be defined as a pilot.

I learned to fly by old WWII, Korean, and Early NAM pilots....the advancement that we are working on will give the new generation of pilots a comfortable seat in the cockpit, and as many current pilots have told their passengers "sit back and enjoy the ride."

As a former Reserve cop, I saw it before pulling the retirement plug....I used to pull a car over and ask for DL, Insurance etc.......just before retirement, we scan reader would tell me if you were valid, who owned the vehicle, and any outstanding warrants before leaving the comfort of the patrol car. In the very near future, you will enter a store and be scanned not only for facial recognition but also for body temperature to ensure you don't have a covid like an issue. Microchips so small, now being worked on, will be placed in money bags where band robberies will become Folklore since the crook will be caught w/i minutes.

My vision of this world, from 2050 and beyond, is like the song the year 2525 if man is still alive..........
EMK69 4
And as I should have added: Some fool will convenience the's all in the name of Safety and the public will believe it.
bentwing60 3
Thank You for your service!
Larry Toler 2
You were the guy busted me in Stone Mountain, GA for driving my minivan a day after my insurance lapsed. My wife were talking about she just paid insurance on a our mommy mobile. Being labor day weekend, I was in DeKalb jail for five days. My insurance company didn't change the make and model of our new minivan. I felt pretty stupid because I'm paying insurance on a vehicle we no longer owned. DMV let me transfer the plate. To be honest, I was to blame because of my complacency and trust the power who be I got busted by the scanners on the back of patrol cars. We contacted our insurance and they said we didn't process the payment, sorry. We got busted again a month later while my wife was driving. No one went to jail, but our vehicle was impounded and the officer gave us a ride home because he noticed something was going on outside our control. AI can not evaluate every action.
Going back to aircraft, always keep up to date with AD'S and the specific maintenance log on the aircraft you are flying. Even though I wasn't a pilot I always went through our mx log after I preflighted my cabin so we don't have any surprises. In short my complacency in ground based vehicles was not as stringent.
Anyway, thanks for your service in both the Corps and police service.
Greg S 3
I believe you. At that time the phrase "Blue Screen of Death" will finally be literally true instead of figuratively. But seriously, there are substantial barriers to this but they all seem surmountable. The interim step will be, of course, a single pilot with a towel to polish and check up on the automation. After that, perhaps remotely piloted aircraft (oh no, 'all your 737-MEGAMAXs are belong to us'). Then finally fully autonomous aircraft.
Billy Koskie 1
I should think consideration for pilots from universities offering accredited aviation degrees should provide a lower hour threshhold.
John Taylor 0
I was just reading an article about a coming "tsunami" of pilots retiring in the next several years. They referenced the 1500 hour rule. The article was comparing the way American pilots get their time compared to How European airline pilots get their time. The article talked about how Euro airlines have their own school and over the years, most American airlines got ex-military pilots and not from non-existent in-house school. It said that more military pilots were electing to stay in rather to leave and go commercial. One thought that struck me was the fact that because America provides almost all military protection of Europe, they don't have nearly the number of military pilots that the US produces. So they would have to institute their own training programs to get the same number of pilots. Once the US airlines forced the covid vax and a fair amount of pilots elected to leave instead, the cardiac issues pilots are having causing the FAA reevaluate the med cert, plus the average age of pilots getting close to retirement age we have a real shortage. Some of our own making. The time has come for US airlines to start paying for their own pilots rather than count on "free" pilots from the military or some guy who takes fifteen years to pay out of pocket for all the ratings and accumulation of hours. And on a side note, I'm not correlating the heart conditions to the vax. I'm only saying that between the pilots who were fire and the apparent number of pilots having heart issues requiring a change to FAA rules have exacerbated an already ongoing shortage of pilots. Of course, your mileage may vary
John Taylor 1
I sure wish there was an edit button so I could correct my typos and sentence structures so as not to look like a moron who can't spell or write.
Roger Curtiss 1
It is called proofreading before you hit send.
Mike Schumann -3
The ATP hours requirement should be relaxed for pilots that have a glider license. That would improve the basic airmanship skills of ATP candidates, while also providing a low cost head start for kids interested in becoming airline pilots , who can solo in a glider when they are 14.
Mr Schumann. Are you effing kidding me right now? Jets are complex. Navigation errors kill. Zero to hero needs turbine equipment sir. Not steep turns following yarn strings.
Roger Curtiss 0
The 1500 hour rule was a rather arbitrary, knee-jerk legislative response that is of little practical value. Quality not quantity is the key parameter to proficiency and that can be determined by a simulator session.
Having fully trained and certified pilots find a way to kill hundreds of hours to reach that "magic" number is a waste of skill at a time when pilots are needed.
Pair new tye-rated pilots with experienced captains who will provide valuable insights while the new pilots are contributing to keeping the airline humming as crewmembers.
zuluzuluzulu -2
There is an old saying that fair weather does not make good sailors. I imagine that goes for pilots , as well.

For my fare, I would like the 1500 hr minimum to remain. Not 1500 hrs in your own 150 but from employment with any kind of transport company like a freight company or a small airline like Sandpiper in the TV show Wings.. Verifiable flight time with a reference call.
jhakunti 1
Only problem with that is these jobs also changed their mins to 1500. Most every job except CFI jobs have shut their doors to sub 1500hr pilots.


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